Lately I have been caught up in my reflections, sometimes I get out of the shower in the morning and I spend about thirty minutes standing naked in my room thinking about my life so far. It’s usually not until I check my phone and find out that I am running late for work that I get a grip of myself and decide to put something on. As you come with me on this journey, you would soon find out that I basically live in my imaginations.
Anyway back to my reflections, so I have been really basking in the glory of living my dreams but then, I wasn’t always living the life I dreamt off. I graduated med school in 2011 and I didn’t start doing what I have always wanted to do until 2017. It took me six years to get to this place, six years of chasing other people’s dreams, not thinking my dreams were valid enough, thinking I could never be successful in Nigeria and just listening to everyone except myself. And so I couldn’t help but wonder if I would have made better choices, had someone told me the things that I do know now about life outside medical school.
The wanna-be genius in me decided to pen down a letter anyway, this letter is not just for students in med school, it’s for all students who are almost graduating, just graduated or fresh in college. So here goes my letter;
Dear young Sophia,
As I write this letter, I can still see and feel the excitement that rushed through you when you made it to final year of med school. Your final year was definitely your best year, you had such a positive outlook on life, your best subject was Infectious disease, and I’d like to think that’s where your passion for Public Health came from. As the final days of medical school approached, you had your after school plans laid out; Graduate, pass the Medical and Dental council of Nigeria’s exam, internship, followed by National Youth Service (NYSC) and land a fantastic job with an NGO. You always knew clinical medicine was not your thing so also was practising abroad.
You are probably wondering, did everything work out as planned?
Well, No my dear, it didn’t. In fact, things went a little out of control darling but not to worry, with these little life nuggets, you will be fine the next time you attempt this again (laughs…well maybe her daughter will find this useful)
Firstly, Get ready for the reality of life after school. The school confines is like a bubble, a bubble that bursts in your face immediately you step out of the comfort of your school or college. See, they teach us what we need to know to be good doctors or engineers or lawyers but they forget to teach us how to compete in the labour market. We don’t get mentored on career paths that we have chosen, they just send us out as sheep among wolves and then we are rudely awakened by the turn of events.
As you read this, I want you to know that Google should be your best friend, google your career choice, do a research on the kind of places you want to work, find out what their requirements are and start working on building your resume.
Yes, I said resume, that’s another thing, nobody told me it was not too early to build a resume while in school. So attend relevant summer classes, enrol for online courses, and learn how to write a resume or a cover letter, please do not leave out volunteering for organizations.
You are probably thinking, but this is a whole lot! Well, it takes a whole lot to succeed out here!
Secondly, Focus on your Focus! The greatest battle you will fight once you get out here is the battle to stick to your dreams. So many dream snatchers and distractions out here, so you better toughen up and get ready to never quit on those dreams of yours. A lot of people, sometimes well-meaning people will try to tell you what you should be doing with your life, that’s why you must know WHY you want to do what you want to do. It’s your WHY that keeps you focused, if not you will be tossed from side to side until it’s so late and you wake up one day wondering where all the time has gone.
Finally, get you a mentor! Social media is so good for connecting with likeminded people. So find a mentor who is probably doing something similar to what you want to do and connect with them. And when they do mentor you, listen! Don’t be the stuck up youngling who thinks she knows everything, learn, unlearn and relearn.
I really do hope that you find this letter useful, I know I would have found it useful if I had the opportunity. I bet it would have saved me years of going round in circles.
Thank you for reading
Sophia Zoe (adult)
Note: This letter was written based on my own experience, but I believe there are many of you reading that have one or two things to add for the young ones coming behind us and even to learn from one another, Please do not hesitate to share in the comment section below. Remember, we are all still growing, still learning, no one has quite arrived at their destination, so let’s feel free to help one another with our stories…
Till next time….on the Small Town Girl Blog
Peace and Love