A JJC’s First Impression of UCH

The MBBS & BDS 2K23 class on their white coat ceremony.

In medical school, you cross two times and write four professional exams. At each level, you always feel that it couldn’t possibly get harder, but life, through COMUI, continues to show you that it actually does get harder. However, this does not dim the moment that you have been eagerly anticipating since the start of your medical school journey—the period when you transition from a classroom student to a student doctor. After satisfying the examiners in your first professional exam, you cross to UCH as a clinical student, and it marks a significant turning point in your medical education.

It’s an interesting experience.. to be a JJC, Johnny Just Come all over again despite being ancient according to other criteria of the Nigerian university experience. Summarily, you are moving from being a GES graduate, a revered position on the UI campus to becoming a fresher all over again. The UCH environment (ubiquitously referred to as “Ogba” by predecessors), a mini city where medical students spend the last of their medical years, is a cocoon of new experiences.

1. ABH: The land of milk and honey

As you step into ABH, the popular medical student hostel situated at the entrance of the hospital complex, you’re in for an adventure like no other.

It is the land of milk meaning, it will milk you dry.  After hustling for space (a conundrum in itself), unexpected expenses start pouring in. Who would have thought you’d be buying a bunk bed? Yes, you, a whole GES graduate, would have to do that or sleep on the floor. And don’t forget the additional costs of water, a new cupboard, scrubs, wardcoats, a stethoscope, textbooks—the list goes on. Your pockets will empty like a pilfered coffer before you know it.

But fear not, for there is also “honey” on the flip side of ABH. From local delicacies to irresistible junk food, your eyes and taste buds will be in heaven—empty pockets be damned. It’s a bittersweet impression that sucks some people in for a long while.

Tip: To navigate the expenses, plan your budget wisely. Prioritize the essential items, like scrubs and a stethoscope, and consider buying second-hand textbooks or borrowing from seniors. Also, explore affordable food options within and outside ABH to balance your expenses

2. UCH: The gigantic, unending Maze of a hospital.

  This is a no-brainer. The University College Hospital is one of the largest and (checks notes) definitely the best hospital in sub-Saharan Africa. A hospital complex that houses an estimated 1000 beds is expected to be of considerable size. This makes the hospital complex no less humbling in size as it sprawls over several thousand hectares of land housing everything from labor wards to geriatric specialty centers.

Walking through its several wards and departments teeming with patients and health professionals alike is something to behold. The hospital complex takes on a life of its own as the people within it battle daily to preserve life and avoid death.

Tip: To navigate UCH effectively, familiarize yourself with the layout of the hospital. Take advantage of orientation programs and guidance from senior students. Create a schedule to ensure you attend lectures, clinical rotations, and tutorials on time.

3. “Where Una Dey See This Money?”

   In case it is not self-explanatory, these students look fresh. For people who whine and dine with daily shege, medical students in ABH specifically manage to look fine, social, and well-rested. In fact, this might be the biggest distinction between the JJCs and the inhabitants.

Have you been accosted yet by the ABH cafeteria ladies asking you with quizzical looks on their faces whether you’re an “occupant or outsider”? You’d have probably said “Of course occupant” and taken a little bit of offense. It is because the UI stress and hunger are probably showing on your face.

   They’re used to fresh faces adorned with neck jewelry and 24/7 perfume regardless of gender, they pick your novice self out pretty fast. One day you also will discover that ABH pot of wealth and then your scent will blend with the environment.

4. What is this Path and Pharm of a thing for God’s sake?!

NB: Where is the Ben Carson version of Medical School Dammit?! What is all this?!!

Is it the class hours with little to no breaks? The workload? The End Of Posting Tests (EOPT) after 4 weeks? This is still under review as I attempt to make sense of another week’s notes from several-hour classes moving at a speed that’s actually insane if you stop to think about it. But there’s no time. There will never be time. Thus you keep it moving.

Three years ago, you were the eager-eyed Jambito on the University of Ibadan Campus and you scaled through that. At some point, you are going to be an ancestor on this side of campus too. Bonus points, you are going to leave this hostel as a doctor. From the land of milk and honey that is ABH to the colossal maze that is UCH, you will learn to navigate the quirks and challenges in no time. So enjoy the ride, seek support from your seniors or peers, build lasting friendships, and make lasting and enjoyable memories as you prepare for the real world.

Sa’eedah Hussein

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6 thoughts on “A JJC’s First Impression of UCH”

  1. I have always wondered what makes clinical students in ABH very fresh.
    I have never been able to get an answer to that, but you made a little bit clearer.

    Do you mind telling us what the pot of wealth is?????

  2. Amazing read! A beautiful portrayal of UCH. I’ll be there soon hopefully ????. Need me a lot of food ????.

    1. I thought you were a clinical student????.
      Perhaps, your freshness deluded me into believing that.????

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