Sunday, 26 August 2018

If you are or know an introvert, read this

One day, I went for a program in school organised by students. It was a really nice one and I learnt a lot from it. But I remember feeling out of place at times. Some people seemed to be so outgoing, expressive, chatting openly and freely and hugging some people like they were family. It made me feel odd not being able to socialise 'the way' they did and almost made me feel alienated. It's not that I couldn't talk to the people around me or speak in front of a crowd. It's just that I couldn't act as extroverted as some of the people did and it seemed like the outgoing displaying extroverts had the spotlight on them and got showered with love. I remember thinking that if maybe I was as outgoing as the extroverts there, maybe I would feel part of the family more. The experience like others in the past only made me realise that I was just naturally introverted but is that a bad thing?

When I was younger, I used to think that it was because I was shy but I discovered I wasn't really shy after all when I talked with total strangers during evangelism, made announcements in buses, started a conversation with someone in a social gathering and talked in front of a people (both small and large). I later on came to realise instead that no matter how social and talkative I may be, I was just naturally introverted; I couldn't be an extrovert. In fact, if I socialised or talked too much, I would develop headache. So my break from socialising was having my quiet time all alone. I wonder how many people have felt like I did in the scenario depicted above?

In a world where we reward extroverts, introverts can feel out of place and disconnected. We often find ourselves wondering, "Why can't I be enthusiastic like others? Why do I feel so reserved when asked to go for a party? Why am I not like everyone else?" But you see, it's okay when someone invites you for something like a party and you say something like, "No thank you. I'm going to stay at home and read a book tonight." I'm not saying that we should become social recluses and totally disconnect from the world. I'm saying that we don't need to feel shame and guilt for not being outgoing in a society that more often than not, praises those who are. We were not born to just blend in and be like everyone else just to be accepted. We were born to be different and stand out. If we look deep within ourselves, we would discover that we have many qualities and gifts like deep thinking, ability to enjoy time alone, creativity, being able to truly listen, make powerful decisions, calm and deliberate speaking, thriving and working in business alone and more. And when we allow ourselves to be who we truly are and not pretend to be someone else just to blend in with everybody, life becomes easier as it removes the burden of trying to fit in so much from you and you perform better. In fact, some of the best past and present leaders were introverts: Ben Carson, Barrack Obama, Bill Gates, Hillary Clinton, Mark Zuckerberg among others.

This is my message to all introverts out there. Stand strong in your personality traits and view them as strengths. Just because you're not naturally assertive, outgoing or the life of a party does not mean you can't be a great wonderful strong person that people would love and want to have as a friend or role model. By being authentically you, you do yourself and others a favour. So stand out, be different, be you.

Adapted from the You Tube video by Amanda Bucci titled 'If you are or know an introvert, watch this.'  Video Link:

Friday, 29 June 2018

An exclusive interview with a medic, poet and fashion designer!

Mimie: Please introduce yourself. 

My name is Anyanwu Ogochukwu Chidiebere, a 400 level student of the department of Medicine and Surgery, University of Port Harcourt.

Mimie:  Please could you tell us more about yourself? 

I'm the third of five children from my parents. I'm a Christian,  the present Academic Coordinator for clinicals for the Federation of catholic medical and dental students (FECAMDS) UPTH chapter and also a member of St.  Jerome's Lay readers association,  St Mary's Catholic Church, Alakahia . I love writing,  blogging, sewing,  sleeping, listening to cool music , cooking and watching cartoons. 

Mimie:  You're a writer, poet, blogger and a fashion designer. How did you discover these talents? 

Well for writing, it started a long time  ago since primary school. I was an active member  of the debate  team and press club and won inter school competitions. Same as in secondary school,  I remember  press club and jet club "dragging" me as their member and I had to belong to both because  I loved both clubs. I also gave moral talks which was almost  a routine  for every student to do in morning  assembly  in my secondary school, Altitude College, Lagos.
        I've loved sewing since  I was a kid. I noticed  I'd make dresses for my dolls and I had to pressure my parents to let  me learn how to sew and that's  how I learnt how to and trust me, it's one of the best things that has ever happened to me.
        Poetry was a recent thing. Started  writing poems in my year 1 . I remember writing and sending  it to a senior  colleague  then, now a doctor and he told me it was good and encouraged me to write more . Till date I still write and I keep getting better at  it.
Blogging  was a suggestion  a friend  gave and it stuck. We opened the blog together and that was how I started blogging. That is still a work in progress as I intend to get better  at it.

Mimie: You're a writer, poet and blogger but what exactly do you want people to know you for? 

Know me as a PDF - poet, doctor in training and fashion designer. Know me as a poet because  I'd use my words to spread peace, unity and love. I'd also use words to be a voice of the voiceless. Know me as a doctor in training because I'll treat  you right when I'm done and know me as a fashion designer  because  I'd make your outfits stand out. 

Mimie:  You have a blog: What is your blog about?

My blog, for now is all about  creative writings and adverts,  but newer features are coming  soon. 

Mimie: What kind of fashion designer are you?

On fashion designing,  I make Ankara wears for both males and females, scrub suits for both male and females, ward coats and I also design English wears. 

Mimie: Which one are you more passionate about: writing or fashion designing?

That's a tough one. I'm passionate about both. I don't  think  anyone is given more preference. 

Mimie: Which would you be liked to be addressed as, a Dr, a poet or a blogger? 

I don't mind  being address by my name though but if need be,  address me based on the senerio. A doctor in the hospital, a poet on stage and a fashion designer  when I make your clothes.  Simply put, PDF - Poet, Doctor in training and Fashion designer.

Mimie: How are you able to combine writing and fashion designing with your academics?

I've learnt  how to manage myself in time and I've always  had in mind  that my primary aim is to be a doctor  so no matter  how versatile I can get,  I don't let anything come between me and my studies

Mimie: One day, you would get better and go places but what exactly do you want people to know you for? Doctor/ Writer/ Fashion designer?

Like I said earlier, the senerio would determine what I'd want to be known for.   But I'd prefer to be known as someone that has touched lives. Other titles can fall into place later. 

Mimie: What advice do you have for us, students? 

Do what you  love and be happy.  Dream big and work towards achieving it. Discover your talents and don't let medicine make you only a book worm,  just spread your wings and fly high because  the sky is just your starting point. And above all,  put God first  and every other  thing  will fall into place

Mimie: Thank you for your time Ogochukwu.
  Thank you for the interview

Mimie: So that's all folks! Until the next interview, stay tuned! Who knows? You might be next! If you think that a particular person should also be interviewed, please comment or reach out to me. Don't forget to drop your comments too. Stay blessed peeps!

Friday, 30 March 2018

An exclusive interview with Dr Chris

An exclusive Interview with Dr Chris

Please Sir, could you introduce yourself?

Dr. Chris: My name is Dr. Christian Chimaobi OBIJIAKU.
I am a Medical Doctor currently working with University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH).

Please tell us more about yourself.

Dr. Chris: Like I said earlier, I am Christian Chimaobi Obijiaku, a graduate of Unique UNIPORT, studied Medicine and Surgery between 2008 and 2016.  I am the third in a family of four ( two males and two females).
I am a Christian of the Catholic denomination.
My hobbies are travelling, playing table tennis, educational research.

It is advisable that as medical students, we should not just be confined to the book. We are encouraged to participate in other extracurricular (social and political) activities. Sir, what other things did you take part in besides studying as a medical student?

Dr. Chris: I was a member of INVITTI Fund raising committee, October 2015 - October 2016. I was also a member of INVITTI Sports Committee, October 2015 - October 2016. Then, I became the Chairman of INVITTI Project Committee, October 2015 - October 2016. From June 2015 - JULY 2015, I was the Chairman, Logistics sub-committee,      PUMSA Health Week .
I became the President, Federation of Catholic Medical and Dental Students          (FECAMDS), UNIPORT Chapter May 2015 - August 2016.
I was also the President of St. Jerome Guild of Lay Readers, Chapel of Annunciation Catholic Chaplaincy, University of Port Harcourt from April 2015 - January 2016.
From August 2012 – January 2014, I was the Chairman of Claude Ake Hall B, Medical Hostel, University of Port Harcourt.

(NB: INVITTI is our final year medical student class activities 2016).

As most people know, the journey to becoming a medical doctor is not an easy one. Along the way, some fall out, others are delayed and there are those who go through medical school smoothly and graduate at the expected time. Our focus now is on those who were delayed. The students who have lost one, two or more years due to poor academic performance or failure to pay the previous session's school fees. We understand that some of such students may end up feeling depressed, despondent or feeling that they have failed.
Sir, some years back, you had a similar experience. Do you mind sharing your story with us? 

Dr Chris: Indeed the journey through medical school is a tough one. Failing to admit this will make one unaware of the prevailing storm. It typically begins with attempts to secure admission: sitting for UTME and POST UTME exams, and/or doing some remedial courses (which in UNIPORT is called Basic program), and then passing from 100 level to the next, then comes the first MB with some of your classmates been withdrawn from the medical training, to Part 2 MB where those who are repeating the class and fail to pass the exam are shown the exit door. Then one gets to year 5 (pseudo-immunity class) where we were told that 1 second in a child’s life is more valuable than a whole year spent in the class. Little wonder why some people spend over five years in year 5 (this is very real). In all these, getting to final year opens the door to this glimpse of palpable hope of finally becoming a medical doctor.
These events can be ‘crazy’, frightening, depressing and can leave one suicidal. However there is light at the end of the tunnel for many.

Back to my experience. I canvas for academic excellence always. I began teaching younger colleagues from my year two. I learned from a lot of sources: lectures, classmates, study groups and tutorials. I did pass all my exams at first sitting, until I had my first resit in paediatrics. I felt my goals has been shattered. "I am supposed to exude excellence." I thought to myself. "Will I still be the Surgeon I desire to be? Could this be a sign that I should have probably done an Engineering course?" (I did far better in Physics and Chemistry than in Biology). I withdrew to myself and then discovered I could have prepared for the exam better. Albeit, I still failed the resit and then had to repeat the class. There was no type of prayer I didn’t say.
Surprisingly, during the repeat I was vigorously serious and didn’t take a chance. I was shining academically and was among the best in my new class.
How was I able to cope? I prayed about it, talked to my senior colleagues who were already doctors (their story inspired me), talked to my spiritual director (a Rev. Father) who said to me “Do this class like you have never done it before”. I also had support from family and friends (FECAMDS) who were amazingly contributory to my “recovery”).

Sir, what advice do you have for us as medical students?

Dr. Chris: Medical school is all encompassing: medical education, socials, spiritual life, sports, politics, entrepreneurial skills and business education, human relationships, and a whole lot.
Please allow the university pass through you. Be the best in all of those. But always remember that academic excellence is next to nothing.
To the Year one students, study your basic sciences and get into year two in flying colours.
To the Year two and three students, it’s a new playground, learn the anatomy, physiology and biochemistry with all keenness and pass into year 4.
To the Year four, this class is the the only chance you have to correct the ills of preclinicals, know the ‘stuff’ it is a lifelong knowledge.
To the Year five and six, you want to be a responsible and skilled Doctor? Now is the time. There is no better teacher than your patients.

I do not need to remind us all to shun cultism, violence, and cut down on social media. Eat healthy, sleep well, exercise adequately, pray without ceasing, apply and secure for yourself at least two scholarships. Just be a complete human being.
I wish you all success as you climb the ladder of medical school.

Thank you very much for your time, your honest responses and especially for sharing your story. It's really inspiring and I must say I've learnt a lot. Hopefully, others can say the same. Once again, many thanks Sir!

Saturday, 13 January 2018

The Empty Bottle

   For a long while, I kept seeing this bottle in my mind.
Initially, it was half-full. Then it kept reducing as the days went by till it eventually became empty. I was worried...that bottle  represented me, it represented my spirit.

Yes, I knew I was a born again Christian. Yet, I felt empty like something was missing. I was not feeling fulfilled, joyful or purposeful. My Christianity had become just a religion. Going to church, evangelism, serving, praying for lost souls had all become dragging activities. I was at my lowest point and I kept wondering how I would get back that revival fire that made me feel so alive, joyful and purposeful.
Even God seemed far away, like a Supreme Being far up in heaven. I couldn't feel Him; I wasn't close to Him anymore.

      I remembered that three years ago, the reverse had been the case. By the time I left secondary school, I was born again. I had a relationship with God and Jesus and prayed to them everyday. But I didn't immediately enter the Uni and was at home for a year. Because of the ample time I had then, I did a lot of exploring including discovering and learning more about God. That period, I came across books on the Holy Spirit written by men of God like Benny Hinn, Chris Oyakhilome and Chris Kwapovwe. For the first time, I learnt that the Holy Spirit was a person, just like God the Father and the Son. Before then, I used to think He was like a wind, dove or fire that gave people gifts and made people speak in tongues.
Like a person, we could have a relationship with Him. He's still God and not just something God the Father uses to touch the lives of people. One of those books asked, "Are you ready to have a relationship with Him? Do you want to let Him into your life?" The moment I said 'yes', I knew it was the start of a relationship with someone I knew so little about. 

During prayer time, I made sure  I had the 'Talking time' when I just talked to God without asking about anything. I began talking with the Holy Spirit as a person. I jut wanted to know Him, I was curious about the most 'spirited' of the Trinity. I found out that He was actually a person! He was like a friend that always seemed so happy, open and playful. He was that kind of person you could talk and laugh with. I talked to Him about everything including unnecessary trivial things. I asked Him many questions and He gave me answers. Prayer time became Conversation time. I began to feel happy and revived. There was that revival fire that kept burning in my soul. For the first time, I began to pray not just for myself and my family, but for others like wartorn countries, the sexually abused, the depressed, the poor. I did it even in the family prayers, my mum commented one day, "Ihuoma can pray for the world, eh." He gave me desire to read my Bible and to actually understand it. No longer did the Bible seem like  a book written by 'The Oga at the top' to dictate how we should live our lives. When I read it, it was like someone was talking to you through a letter. It opened my eyes to the meanings behind each verse. I could see God as a person not just 'The Big Guy Up stairs'. He had feelings too; He could be happy, hurt, jealous, angry, forgiving and loving. The Holy Spirit gave me ideas and inspiration. He showed me my purpose. I felt so happy, purposeful and completed. Because of that, I always looked forward to prayer/conversation time.

Then I entered the Uni. Of course I was still born again. The fire was still fresh. I went to church, joined fellowships, led people to Christ...but I made one mistake: I stopped having my quiet/talking time with the Holy Spirit. I was no longer Mary that just wanted to sit and talk with Him, I had become Martha instead. I was just so busy with school and religious activities, so I neglected my relationship with the Holy Spirit. I call this Martha's Syndrome. Gradually and unknowingly at fist, I stopped feeling revived. It started in my first year, progressed into my second year and was worse by my third year. I attended all the church programmes and fellowships I could but nothing could revive me back. I knew something was wrong somewhere. I was a Christian but I felt empty like an empty bottle. There was no fire, revival or passion. I sought for a cure. 

Then one Yule Tide season, I came across Benny Hinn's book: 'Good Morning, Holy Spirit'. Reluctantly I picked it up to read because I had already read it before...but I was desperate. While reading, He said something that struck me:
"What  happens  to  a  marriage  when  one  partner  ignores the  other?  After  a  short  period  of  time  bitterness  begins  to enter  the  heart.  Words  begin  to  cut  like  a  sharp  knife.  Soon the  animosity  turns  to  anger,  jealousy,  and  even  worse.  For many  it  results  in  separation,  divorce,  and  hatred.  But  the rift  can  so  easily  be  mended.  All  it  takes  is  a  fresh  surrender that  comes  from  your  very  soul.  And  a  renewing  of  the  vow to "love,  honor, and cherish." The  same  thing  will  happen  if  you  neglect  the  Lord. You  will  develop  bitterness  and  anger.  Suddenly  you  will be  out  of  fellowship  with  the  Lord.  That's  what  happened  to the  children  of  Israel  in  the  wilderness.  They  began  to complain,  "If  only  we  had  died  in  the  land  of  Egypt!  Or  if only  we  had  died  in  this  wilderness!  Why  has  the  LORD brought  us  to  this  land  to  fall  by  the  sword?"  (Num. 14:2-3).  And  the  Lord  said  to  Moses  and  Aaron,  "How  long shall  I  bear  with  this  evil  congregation  who  murmur  against Me?" (v. 27). The  children  of  Israel  went  from  saying,  "The  Lord  is God,"  to  complaining,  "Wouldn't  it  be  better  to  return  to Egypt?"  What  caused  the  change?  They  stopped  seeking Him,  and  their  hearts  became  hardened.  And  before  they understood what  was  happening,  they had  forsaken  Him. Don't  let  a  day  go  by  without  a  fresh  surrender  to  the Lord.   Paul  wrote,  "Even  though  our  outward  man  is perishing,  yet  the  inward  man  is  being  renewed  day by  day" (2  Cor.  4:16).  Surrender  must  be  continual,  a  never-ending emptying  of  self  to  the  Lord.  And  once  you  make  it  a  habit, you'll   begin  to  experience  God's  perfect  union,  perfect fellowship, perfect  understanding,  and  perfect  love. I  believe  it  is  God's  will  for  you  to  be  continually  filled with  the  Holy  Spirit.."

Then it dawned on me. All these while I had been feeling empty, it was because I had neglected my relationship with the Holy Spirit. For me to be always filled, I had to constantly be in His presence. From that moment on, I decided that I had to start my relationship with the Holy Spirit, all over again. It was like I had become born again, again. Talking to Him seemed new. It was like talking with some one you meet for the fist time. You would talk cautiously until you're free enough around the person to be yourself and talk about anything. Gradually, I began to feel revived once again. I began to ask Him questions about different things and He answered me. When I felt down, He comforted me. He reminded me about my purpose and began guiding me. 
Gradually, the revival fire flickered and began burning again; I began to pray for souls as before. I began to feel happy, purposeful and complete once again...slowly but surely. Like a child, I was growing....again.

     So if I may ask, do you sometimes have symptoms like: sadness/depression, feelings of emptiness like something is missing in your life, feelings of purposelessness, having lots of questions about the circumstances surrounding you, feeling that serving God is a chore, spiritual laziness/emptiness/shallowness, Martha's Syndrome. If you have most or all of these symptoms, the most likely diagnosis is that: your bottle (spirit) is empty of oil (the Holy Spirit/revival). Don't worry, the prognosis is good. The treatment I would recommend is that you start developing a relationship with the Holy Spirit. Dosage: At least once daily, preferably during your prayer/quiet time. Prayer time shouldn't just be a time we go and pour out our requests to God and run off in faith. It should also be a time we talk to God, especially the Holy Spirit. Discuss with Him, ask Him questions, worship Him, spend time with Him as long as you like and also importantly, listen to Him. He would answer your questions, help, teach,guide and comfort you when you're broken; that's why He's called the Comforter. 

Hopefully, as you begin this treatment regimen and never stop, your bottle would always be filled.

Leviticus 6:12a: "The fire on that altar shall be kept burning...It shall not go out...."