June Doctors: Tales from the Battlefield

 “Part of the journey is the end” – Tony Stark

This quote sticks out to any self-acclaimed Marvel fan, an echo from the grave of Tony Stark, the beloved character from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, who was buried in the blockbuster Avengers: Endgame. However, the journey referenced right now is the journey of members of the 2k19 class through medical school.  These students have spent the last two weeks in the end-game, writing their final exams, and now, they lie at the crossroads they have been waiting for over the previous seven years: the end.

This end did not come as smoothly as sand pouring down an hourglass. It came with battles; victories sometimes, and losses often. People got lost; some found their way, and others were left behind. When you dig deep, you’ll find that the stories of most Ibadan Doctors are similar. But only if you dig really deep, and that, we shall. 

The Beginning

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” – Laozi.

There can be no conclusion without an introduction. For our first doctor-to-be, Oyinkansola  Awoniyi, the journey to be a doctor began just like everyone else’s here: picking up a JAMB form and ticking the University of Ibadan.  However, what you might not know is that it was her second attempt. This is not uncommon in UI. In Oyinkan’s case, Medicine and Surgery was the unchanging default. “I had wanted to become a doctor before I ever did biology,” she said.

Ireoluwa Adeleke’s path differs slightly. He was a medical student in Bowen for about two years before deciding to study here in the Premier at his mum’s advice. According to him, she emphasised that UI was a “more prestigious school with better career opportunities”. Some might argue that private institutions offer comforts that their public counterparts could never bring. Still, research shows that public universities make up most of Nigeria’s top ten best medical schools, with the University of Ibadan sitting comfortably up top.  That made him pick up the form and write the Post-UTME to study Medicine here instead.

Like some of these doctors-to-be and unlike his namesake above, Ireoluwa Adegoke, the immediate past President of the UIMSA Royal Quiz Club,  did not commence his med-school journey as a medical student per se. He was admitted to study Biochemistry rather than Medicine and spent his first year at UI as a biochemistry student. Eventually, he was able to successfully transfer to the Medicine program in his second year of university. 

Perhaps the most peculiar case in this article is Anjolaoluwa’s, who didn’t even have a first year. Anjola got into the university as a Direct Entry (DE) student. However, one could still say that her journey also started with picking up a JAMB form, although hers was a DE form. For those who might not know, getting in through Direct Entry requires a lot of extensive preparation and effort because it bypasses the usual UTME and grants you direct admission to the second year of your chosen course.

The 2k19 class during their Freshers’ Welcome in 2017. Source: @mbbsibadan2k19 on Instagram

To further understand the prerequisites for Direct Entry into Medicine and Surgery, it is essential to note that candidates must have one of the following qualifications: A’ Level passes in Physics, Chemistry, and Biology, graded with a point system where an A gives you 5 points and a U gives you zero points. Or a Bachelor’s Degree in applicable Biomedical Sciences, Medical, Paramedical, Biological, Chemical, or Physical Sciences with at least a Second-Class upper division. When asked, Anjola could not remember the precise cutoff points in her year, but she was sure no one in her set had lower than 15 points.

While the peculiarities of the beginnings of each of these doctors-to-be are different, there are a few standard experiences. They all endured the smell of the Dissection Lab at the Anatomy Department.  They had classes at ALT, and after MB I, transitioned to the Paul Hendrickse Lecture Theatre, sometimes Osuntokun. They all eventually moved from their respective halls in UI to the Alexander Brown Hall, or the Engelbert Beyer Center, commonly called Catholic Private Hostel, with a few of them choosing to live outside school. They laughed at jokes the lecturers would repeat to incoming students four years later, stabbed dissections, had TDB (till-daybreak) sessions at the Anatomy Reading Room, and partook in many other things preclinical students do. However, there are instances where these lines do not meet, highlighting the individuality of these June comrades


The Journey

Again, Part of the journey….”

Despite somewhat different beginnings, their journeys are about the paths connecting them, choices made influencing the experiences they had and the lessons learnt along the way. It has been about adapting to various situations, overcoming challenges, and growing as individuals until June Doctors.

Oyinkan is one of many UIMSAites with a side hustle. But hers is unique. If you’ve ever been to a UIMSA dinner, you’ll know that beautiful women in beautiful dresses are a regular occurrence. Pick any lady among them, especially in the older classes, and the odds are that Oyinkan made their dress. 

A dress Oyinkan made for the Spring in Provence-themed UIMSA dinner earlier this year. Source: @ Beyond_oyinkan on X.

Oyinkan’s passion for fashion and medicine blend seamlessly, allowing her to express her creativity while pursuing her medical degree. This side hustle helped her develop her entrepreneurial skills and gave her a sense of fulfilment outside academics. Speaking on what inspired her to start making clothes, she said “I was idle during my gap year, and I knew it would be something I’d be good at.” But that’s not all. She’s also a beautiful writer and a member of the Quills Club, UCH, a creative writing club, for which she has written and presented several memorable pieces. 

When asked about the most memorable moments in her medical school journey, Oyinkan said, “One time, I performed Gobe in front of everyone at one of UIMSA’s variety nights.” She recalled that the performance was uncalled for but that she had a lot of fun doing it. 

On the other hand, Ire recalls winning the Ibadan Medicine Specialist Group (IMSG) Quiz as the most memorable point in his med-school journey. The IMSG quiz is a yearly quiz competition during the UIMSA Health Week. Each class presents a team of contestants and a coach, with a trophy to be won, bragging rights and a little cash prize for the contestants.  For Ire, winning the IMSG Quiz, was a testament to his efforts. He previously served as the General Secretary of the Royal Quiz Club before eventually becoming the President. He is also an excellent writer who served as the PRO, Board Secretary and Features Editor of the UIMSA Clinical Press. 

(4th from Left) Ire led the Royal Quiz Club to victory at the 10th Edition of the Late Emeritus Professor O. O. Akinkugbe National Inter-Medical School Quiz Competition. Source: @ibadanmedicine on Instagram

Tomi Abel, the outgoing Primus of Quills Club, UCH, had a journey filled with academic rigour and creative expression. Tomi’s passion for writing and storytelling found a perfect outlet in the Quills Club, where he honed his literary skills and inspired many with thought-provoking pieces. He also served as a campus journalist and ended his run as a CJ as the Deputy Editor-in-Chief of the Alexander Brown Hall  Press. Reflecting on his journey, he shared, “It was hard, I can’t lie.” He added that it was both exciting and droll, but was glad he had done it at the end of the day. When asked what his most challenging moment was, he said, “Studying pharmacology. I had to call my mother.”

Tomi (Middle) representing ABH Press at the 2024 Prof Francis Egbokhare Inter-Press Debate Competition Credit: BayoBeloved for UCJ UI

The End

Yet again, “Part of the journey is the end.”

As the journey of these June doctors ends, it is a time of reflection and celebration. They have navigated through the complexities of medical school, each with their unique stories and experiences. The end o marks the beginning of a new chapter in their lives as they step into the medical profession.

In  Oyinkan’s case, the end of medical school is bittersweet. She looks forward to starting her Housemanship and retaining her passion for dressmaking. “I’ll go through the motions and find out what fits as I go” she said. Her journey through medical school, marked by balancing academics with her fashion business, appears to have prepared her well for the multifaceted demands of a medical career. 

Most members of the 2k19 Class will share Anjola’s sentiments and feelings when she says she feels very relieved to be at the end of medical school. She plans to start her house job right after and make money. “The air feels fresher, and the world feels brighter,” she said, and understandably so. Her time as a medical student was wrought with numerous strikes, the most notable being the record-breaking eight-month-long ASUU strike in 2021, which came right after the COVID-19 Lockdown of 2020. Both events forced them into an unwanted and unnecessarily long break and extended the period for which they were to be known as ‘students’. She has also decided to go through the usual pathway, continuing with her housemanship and afterwards, Youth Service. 

Tomi is filled with a mix of emotions. On one hand, he’s glad to be done. On the other hand, he has been a medical student for over seven years, which has “become a large part of his identity”. It’s only natural that now, in the end, it feels odd for him to let it go.

As these June doctors step into the next phase of their lives, they carry the lessons learned, the friendships made, and the memories created during their time in medical school. Their journeys may have been different, but they shared a common goal: to heal, help, and make a difference in the world. As they move on, we can only hope that any more obstacles they face will fall like Hannibal did at the gates. 

Moboluwarin Ogunleye


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