You can achieve anything you set your mind to do —EKSU’s best medical student

The first set of medical students of Ekiti State University (EKSU) were inducted into the profession on Monday in Ado-Ekiti by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria. Iyanu Bankole who emerged the best among the set shared his experience with LAOLU HAROLDS.

Congratulations doc, but when and why did you decide to be a doctor

While growing up, the medical profession seemed attractive to me. I loved the idea that I could one day care for people. Thus, coupled with some mention and affirmations from my loved ones, it became my goal.


Can you give us a peek into your background, and what your dreams and aspirations were as a child?

I’m the third child in a family of four children. I was playful just like any other boy-child, but was also studious by the definition of the word. As a child, my desire was to be famous due to my academic prowess. It was the most attractive thing to me then, not money; and my dad, who is a lecturer and a voracious reader, influenced my attitude towards academic excellence. I also had brothers who showed enthusiasm for academic excellence.


In your elementary school days, especially secondary, who or what would you say helped you with your career choice?

As far back as Primary 1, I had teachers who were interested in my academic excellence. In my secondary school days, many teachers, especially Mr Opawale of Living Spring International Model College Ado-Ekiti, did things beyond just teaching us. They spoke words of affirmation which work for me a lot. Those words still linger in my subconscious, not as words now, but as feelings of ecstasy and confidence that I can achieve anything.


Securing admission these days, especially into ‘standard’ courses like medicine, has become tougher than ever. What was your experience?

It was long, but not too long. I wrote my first UTME (Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination) to the University of Portal Harcourt, but never went for the post-UTME. Then, I sat for the ‘university’ JAMB and ‘poly’ JAMB (these were days they were not unified). I got admitted in both, to study Agric Extension and Rural Development at the Obafemi Awolowo University and Science Technology at Federal Polytechnic, Ado-Ekiti. I chose OAU. Then, I wrote another UTME, where I finally got admitted to study medicine in UNAD (now EKSU). I thank God it was not longer than that, because I was starting to lose faith.


Were you under any pressure, either external or self-imposed, to score distinction in medicine? And how did you structure your life to achieve this?

Pressure? Yes, especially external. It came from friends. I am grateful that I have them in my life. Structure to achieve this was to work with the entire class in preparing for the exams. You see, medical exams have a huge curriculum. And though it can be covered singly, it would be less strenuous if it is done as a team. So, I keyed into what the class was set to do, and I got the distinction in surgery.


The fear of blood and morbid anatomy often scare people away from medicine, especially girls. How did you deal with these?

It was never a problem to me. Some of us were already eating in the cadaver room before our fifth session. The blood? I was not fazed. I guess I have my fears, but they are not cadavers or blood. Our ladies are amazons too if you must know.


Which aspect or part of the medical programme did you find most challenging?

Each one came with its own challenges, but top among them were community medicine and internal medicine. One needs you to memorise a lot of definitions, while the other is so broad you have to continue reading. I ensured that I gave each one of them exactly what they require, and I am grateful I passed them pretty well.

Tell us some of your experiences in the course of your study through the university as a medical student, and the lesson(s) you learnt through them.

Life lessons started for me with my UTME result. Then, I told my friends I was going to get 276, months before the exam – and I did. Also, in my first year, I wrote it down as my goal to have a 5.0 GP (Grade Point), and I did in my second semester. Then in my third year, I set my mind to have a distinction in neuroanatomy. I went through the process just like the others and I did. What all of them taught me was that a man can achieve anything he sets his mind to do, with God’s grace accompanying. If he works with the principles and situation-specific practices, then he will almost surely achieve it. There were many other lessons, but this stuck.


Does a medical student have time to socialize? How much time did you have for leasure or other things other than academics?

Oh! You can’t imagine. We do, in fact a lot! For me, I had good time to socialize. I wrote codes and volunteered in teaching computer programming to secondary school students. I played football up to NIMSA (Nigerian Medical Students’ Association) stage and I wrote and was editor-in-chief in some organisations. In all, medical students do have a lot of fun aside medicine, like start-ups, sports, writing, music and many other stuffs.


If you were to advise some candidates aspiring to study Medicine, what would you tell them to prepare for?

Prepare for the mental hustle. Medicine is a lot of things, but never impossible. So, set your mind on what you want while in medical school. Decide extra-curricular activities you want to engage in and do them too.