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Walking out of the Pedestrian gate at the general hospital with two of my classmates in a smug cloud of white coat, oblivious to the throng of family and friends on the other side of the gate waiting for the clock to reach 10 AM, the beginning of visiting hours, anticipation etched haphazardly across their concerned faces, I am very aware of them but I stare at a spot above their heads. I am not sure about how I should put my face, the strange familiarity of harsh antiseptic and the air-conditioned chill of hospital environment still settling on my young shoulders. I am here to learn but these people see my coat and they answer “Yes please” when I speak to them, these people that the Nigerian daughter in me feels compelled to address as “Aunty” and “Uncle”, do they know how often I have to remind myself that I don’t need to slightly bend my knees in greeting as I approach them? All eyes are on us, the Security lady waves us through, she does a great job of acknowledging us with a simple tilt of her head and effusive swinging of the small gate and we swell in gratitude.
“Heyy Doctor Ijeoma! Nwa’m, kedu?”
I freeze. My classmates, Indian and Ghanaian, also stop in solidarity, the questions crossing their eyes are who knows her name? Is that her language? What is happening? The dark skinned lady in the crowd has a familiar voice, her teeth form a sharp contrast against red lips, her smile reminds me of the lady on cabin biscuit, I am impressed by the whiteness of her teeth and taken aback by the happiness starting from her kohl-lined eyes and radiating through her small frame. Is she this excited from seeing me? She sounds like home. Of course I know she is Igbo, I don’t recognize her and I immediately feel a rush of panic, guilt and shame. This feeling is unfamiliar, I try to smile but she sees past my weak smile and focuses on the contours that have formed above my eyebrows, I am confused. We have walked past the gate and are stood at the edge of the small crowd, the moment was picture perfect for some W.H.O sensitization images if you will, “Young Doctors Speak on HIV/AIDS” would’ve worked fine as a caption.
I move closer to My Igbo Aunty and reach out to hold her, maybe holding her will jog my memory. I have never seen this face in my life. Ijeoma say something, all eyes are on you now, you cannot afford to embarrass your Aunty like this in another man’s land, I tell myself. “O di mma Aunty, how do you know my name?” I smile at the awkwardness, wishing for both our sakes that I knew how to ask her the question in Igbo, the ears around us are too much. She is very kind, I can tell from her eyes that she is disappointed but not surprised at my inability to use our language to cement our bond, to wow the crowd. She simply says “I saw it on your body, it is written on your coat.” The relief washing over me deflates my apprehension, alas my parents did not send someone to watch me move around this hospital as if I know what I am doing, lol. We part ways with her “Jisike, o” tapping my shoulder.
This post is a rant.
For a lot of people I know, personal success is measured by how much money they have in the bank. For a group of people (I believe I belong to this group), personal success looks like a woman that is doing what she loves, in a sustainable manner that not only leaves positive impact in the world around her but also pays her what she deserves for her labour. I know and follow a good number of successful women, I am inspired by their ambition and knowledge, by the way they navigate this male-dominated world.
Social media and its attendant influencers play a huge role in shaping the lives of those that use social media, most mainstream role models have a social media presence and speaking from a purely business perspective, it makes sense to be in the forefront of your target market by way of personal advertisement. We live in a post-anonymity world, most people have recorded their own identifying data on the internet for the world to see and you know what they say about the internet…what you put out never goes away (even after you delete it).
This post is a rant. I want to talk about this new trend whereby the archetypal successful woman on social media has taken to constantly displacing herself in favour of the man in her life on her channels (Instagram). This is counterproductive for the female cause. Young women are looking up to you and you are providing a service, we know about affiliate marketing and those cheques you occasionally receive for patronizing the brands you wear etc.
We really are not interested in knowing that your husband is looking after his own children, neither are we interested in seeing screenshots of the very personal messages you and your boyfriend exchange. We believed you the first time you told us about him, please don’t inundate us with this man-signaling thing you’ve got going on. WE gave you the spotlight because we love YOU, we also acknowledge that your man is a part of who you are but please tone it all the way down, or better still encourage him to open his own social media channels. Thank you.
On behalf of all of us looking up to you,
Feel free to share this piece with your friends and peers, spread the word wherever you want & make Lecturio Med School Survival Guide your lifesaver in 2018!
This post is useful for students currently in medicine, preparing for medicine or finishing medicine in United States or Caribbean Medical Schools.
Hello! Merry Christmas and happy new year in advance.
You wonder how the guide was developed? They have gathered their best medical advisors, distilled their experience and put into one piece – just for you!
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From your fellow med student,
Hello – I’ve got a discount on Firecracker to share.
This post is useful for students in medicine, nursing, and other health sciences, preparing for their board licensing and or certificate examinations.
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This will give you access to all USMLE Step 1, Step 2, and COMLEX content as well as the Q-bank and library of 15 practice exams!
“In a 2007 report by the Institute for Education Sciences (IES) entitled “Organizing Instruction and Study to Improve Student Learning”, the IES isolated a collection of principles from hundreds of studies on student and instructor behavior to inform the education community of actionable techniques that improve learning outcomes. Firecracker embodies these principles through a combinatorial approach of curriculum alignment, daily concept review, and higher-order assessment.” – FIRECRACKER EFFICACY REPORT
Firecracker integrates content from Sketchy Micro, Pathoma and Wikipedia to provide Flash Cards that are tailored to meet your para-study needs as well as other fun stuff like group study, daily clinical vignette, timed study, inter-med school competition etc.
Other cool features:
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I started using Ebates because I was looking for ways to save money, as a student it is part of the life I live, asking for student discount at supermarkets, etc. I have never been happier with my online purchases, I have paid for flights, books, skin care products, sports equipment, hotel stays, clothing, etc. through Ebates and gotten Cash Back on every purchase made so far. Ebates is unique because they offer Daily Double Cash Back, I added the Ebates extension to my Chrome Web Browser and it alerts me of deals, coupons and Cash Back when I visit any website that is affiliated with Ebates. It is very convenient and quarterly, receiving a BIG FAT CHEQUE is something that takes me by surprise. It makes me happy to know that I save on everything I find on the internet. It is amazing!
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Hair takes a long time to get done, thankful for Podcasts!
Things I am discovering about myself and my hair:
1. I am determined to complete this transition to natural hair.
2. I look up to the hills, from whence doth my willpower come? (Number 1 above is due to the fact that I have announced it to the world through my blog, that I am transitioning to natchee.)
3. Finger-Detangling hair is so good for the muscles of the upper limb, talk about tone!
4. I am not a hair person: I’d rather have another person do my hair than do it by myself. (Hair takes a long time to get done, thankful for Podcasts!)
5. Why am I not a hair person?
6. Going natural is cost effective in the long run. Realistically, a clarifying shampoo, cheap conditioner, water and shea butter/coconut oil are all the ingredients I will need to maintain a healthy head of hair.
7. Don’t touch your hair when you are not in a good mood: this is a cardinal rule.
8. Sticks and stones may break my bones but twists will never hurt me.
9. I must continue to do everything in my power to keep my hair stretched out at all times.
10. Trim: what is dead needs to be cut off and discarded.
It was Nnanna’s birthday yesterday, you see, he is my favourite person in this world. We grew up together in the same houses. Nnanna and I are siblings: Brother and Sister. Over the years I have learnt so much from my brother, one day he tweeted “I am not your role model” and it got me thinking about the way we live our lives as model children, poster children for good upbringing, home training and manners especially in our social media world. That tweet made me recoil, at first it was “what is this boy saying?! Doesn’t he know that he is expected to be a good kid? That being a good kid must mean that he is a role model?” Later it was, “This role model banter is really stifling, ‘Big Brother’ is watching kind of stifling. One cannot simply drink water and drop cup because one KNOWS that the world is watching. Which kind of Orwellian wahala?” So I came to see where my brother was coming from when he made the tweet and my heart opened up to the option of a new alternative.
Let me talk a little bit about privilege: Due to the way my parents and role models brought me up, I think anybody who has any kind of privilege e.g. Good education, etc. has a responsibility to use their privilege-given access to help out in some way, even if it means simply showing a good example by living an honest life, you know, just to demonstrate to others that having privilege means that you must live an honest life. You follow? So this my perspective on how a privileged life must be led, albeit naive, is what I tried to practice and even standardized for others like Nnanna to live by, hence my initial reaction.
A bit of background: My family is Nigerian, Christian, and Educated. The Holy Book has codified the way we as Christians should live our lives and an important aspect of this is excellence. Bible says we are heirs of the father, we are a royal priesthood, a holy nation, we are wonderfully and fearfully made, we have been called by the father etc. For my Nigerian Christian family, this means that in the lives we live we must portray the word of God as a way of evangelism which can also be seen as being role models to others that are not yet saved. In practice, we must do well in school, always show respect to everyone, don’t fight, don’t fornicate, clubbing? What is a club? Smoking? If you must smoke do it secretly because it is not a good look as a child from a Christian background and the list goes on and on. It is what I will call Church Culture: this is a consciousness that is cultivated in the minds of Christian children from a very young age, to live by example. I don’t think these rules are bad, instead I think they help to breed adults that end up living in a bubble at best and at worst, being extremely judgmental of everybody else that strays from Church Culture.
My brother has taught me that being who you are by just living your life is the way to go. It is better to be your modest, humble, brilliant self than to be all these things just for the approval. It is best to live your life and know that you are attracting the people who really like you for who you are, than to live in the gaze of those watching out for when you make a mistake. Nnanna showed me that it shouldn’t be that difficult to occupy my space in this world, people will eventually be fine. More importantly, I am accepting that it is ill advised to change with the weather ever so often, for the sake of pleasing people. We are young, intelligent, beautiful and handsome individuals, we are also prone to making mistakes and we mustn’t always judge ourselves harshly. I hope this post makes you think about image and lifestyle and all that good stuff!
John 14:15 “If you love me you will keep my commandments”.
I am sharing this with you because I want to hear back from you. I hope that after reading this, you will be able to offer your thoughts and some advice if need be, in the comments section below. I am one of those women that want women to have equal opportunities with men, I detest oppression in every shape, manner or form and especially from the opposite sex. I am also generally amused whenever a woman proclaims that she is not a Feminist. Amused because I do not have the patience nor range with which to examine why any woman would want to remain disenfranchised in this life, compared to men folk. I take it that a lot of men in Nigeria are yet to accept that Feminism or Gender Equality is something of a phenomenon that does not care for their thoughts and feelings rather, it is centered around all women, their rights and freedoms, their education and health, their bodies, and all the spaces they should occupy in the world.
In Nigeria, heterosexual relationships are the norm, our culture as a country, is popular for upholding the celebration of marriage between man and woman in very high esteem. Marriage is the fulcrum of Nigerian Society, it is the singular most unifying force that cuts across religion, tribe or tongue. Our National football team used to be number one but then Weddings came along. The coming together of a man and woman to start a family is considered as a defining milestone and every self-respecting young Nigerian is in fact expected to aspire towards marriage. Considering the influence of the various religious practices inherent in the country, Nigerian ethnic groups have diverse views on the celebration of marriage or what a wedding ceremony should look like. Common elements of wedding ceremonies that exist across the country are payment of dowry, music and dance, a large gathering of family and well wishers, lots of food and drinks, the compulsory parental blessings and the beautiful attires worn by bride and groom on their special day.
There’s a blossoming Nigerian Weddings market in the country, from catering, MC, DJ, Comedian, events planning, decorating, make-up to photography an industry has emerged organically from our collective obsession with marriage and wedding ceremonies. Within a decade we have seen the exponential growth of these businesses that service the Nigerian Weddings industry, young entrepreneurs abound and our economy is benefiting from it, we are eating the fruits of our marriage obsession. The feedback is indeed very encouraging, every weekend there’s a big wedding ceremony taking place somewhere in towns and villages all over the country. Our wedding vendors are very creative, the Comedians never run out of jokes, Nigerian parents who have unmarried adult children are asking their heirs, “when will you introduce him/her to us?” Not minding whether or not there’s a him or her at all. Aunties and Uncles are not left out, they’re all in the business of matchmaking nowadays, on a very low key even neighbours, friends of the family and well-meaning mommies in church have taken up Ẹlẹgbẹ as their side-hustle. Nigerians love a good party and wedding ceremonies are our final form of partying. There’s no party like a Nigerian wedding party. A movie on Nigerian wedding parties is the highest grossing movie in the history of Nollywood at 500 million Naira.
I have no problems whatsoever with the institution of marriage. I expect that it is clear to any keen observer of Nigerian society that our marriage culture is heavily gendered, it is essentially a ‘woman issue’. Some argue that there’s a biological clock ticking off and therefore young women should be seen to be actively working hard to beat their innate clocks. A lot of people attribute marriage to be the zenith of every woman’s social growth and development, it is evident in the way we compliment our young girls, we are quick to drop “wife material” or “wifey of life”, and in the way we bless them when they do seemingly mundane tasks around the house, “you will marry a good husband”, all these are unsolicited approval of marriageability and if anything, a subtle assertion that a woman’s purpose in life is to end up with a man who will eventually complete her because she is incomplete. The resultant effect of this kind of incessant obsessive hinting and reasoning is we are feeding the idea into their subconsciousness, that the ultimate prize is marriage and it must be achieved by all means. Sometimes we even attach an age cap to our statement of expectations, “Your mates are getting married”, as though there is a specified time appointed for marriage, some uncouth individuals go further to insult women using the appropriate-age-for-marriage social construct, “You are forming shakara, see you in Shiloh when you’re 30” when these women don’t give in to their unwanted advances.
The crossroads that is the social commentary surrounding marriage culture in Nigeria leaves me feeling like the purpose of a Nigerian marriage is to tie a woman up and I will explain. Please ignore the stereotyped nature of what I’m about to tell you and take away the message instead. We hear a lot of stories, about our mothers’ generation and their conquests in cooking for their husbands, cherubic docility and expert child-rearing skills. We also hear a lot of stories about the current rise in the rate of divorce, and we have read those harsh comments on popular blogs, about Feminists like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie that want to sink the ship of culture and tradition by preaching to young women about their rights as human beings to be able to lead the kind of lives they want to, especially away from the smoke of the kerosene stove. These Feminists are seen as bad eggs, no kidding. Since the beginning of the Feminism movement in Nigeria, the proponents of marriage culture have waged a line of attack against young female feminists, claiming that it is their right to marry young maidens and bestow respect upon them by giving these maidens their last names, determine how these maidens work to earn a living or IF they even work at all, and most importantly ensure that these maidens cook for them. I have never seen where men are so adamant on being fed and nourished by women before. Nigerian men have very strong opinions about their nutrition coming from the labour of their wives’ hands.
This generation of young women are already on their way to heading big corporations, many of them have started their own businesses, those of them that are still in school are studying hard to become professionals and so many more are learning skills by the weekend to supplement their income. The Young Nigerian Woman ecosystem is fast changing and superstars emerge everyday from within. Nigerian girls are not smiling in Engineering, Arts, Business, Academia, Finance, Aviation, Theology, Media, Law, Health, Tourism, Environmental Sciences, Economics, etc. They are on a mission to take over. The gospel of feminism is not only talking the talk but walking the walk in our neck of the woods. All their lives, these young women have been taught and socialized to WANT to end up married (not that there’s anything wrong with wanting to get married). They are on Bellanaija in the middle of the night ooh-ing and aah-ing at pictures, choosing colours and dreaming of their Cinderella dresses. This same group of women are getting more informed in the daytime, they are the ones heavily involved in the feminist conversations going on in social media forums, arguing for women’s rights on Twitter, reading Woolf, writing about their lived experiences on Facebook, and basking in affirming poetry by Shire and Umebinyuo alike, the literary heroines of their time. They are inspired and as a result, making bolder choices, taking every opportunity available to them, the complete opposite of their mothers’ generation.
Now, my confession is that I am disillusioned by the marriage culture in my country and each time I see THE post on social media, you know the standard announcement post, a picture of her left hand with beautifully manicured fingers and a shiny rock sitting on that precious middle finger, and how can I forget the attendant “OMG! I’m so happy for you dear! Congratulations!!!” or the “You deserve it! Congratulations!!!” comments from her friends and well wishers (oozing of a mixture of surprise, jealousy/envy, sadness, forced cheeriness and hope), any previous interest I might have had dips a little more.
It is the blatant desperation in those comments that gets to me the most. I wish everyone would calm down and know that they are doing okay sweetie!
Ẹlẹgbẹ – (n) Yoruba : Matchmaker.
Nollywood – Nigeria’s movie industry
Shakara – (v) Pidgin Yoruba : Pretending
Shiloh – (n) A prayer meeting held in South Western Nigeria organized by a Big Church.
Featured Image: A beautiful wedding ceremony curated by Bellanaija
Christiana dream one kind dream last night. Since her mama born am, she don use her eye see different different things for this life wey she never ever talk about, but that was not until yesterday when she use her two legs waka go meet Aunty Counsellor, come open her mouth like pipe wey don burst out water full everywhere.
Inside the dream, person call Ranti, Christiana best friend for this world wey we dey so, tell Ranti say she see where them carry Christiana gist on top WhatsApp group chat, unto say as breeze blow fowl yansh don open and na Christiana be the fowl. Christiana no remember who call Ranti but she know say na Ranti tell am say her story don enter town brekete. Fear catch am.
Christiana jump up from sleep! She wipe her eyes make she dey see clearly. Her mind come dey follow her talk say, inside this Lagos? If people ever know the kind things wey Ranti say dem dey discuss about her for inside the dream? Her own don finish be that na. She dey suspect Aunty Counsellor even though she no tell am the things Ranti talk say those people for the WhatsApp don know about. Even Ranti sef no know those details about her life, upon how dem be like five and six.
Her secrets plenty no be small. She dey fear say na Bobo, her pikin wey never reach six years old, go suffer pass if people ever know about the kind life wey she don live. Christiana no dey fear before because she know say if na in those days when na only she dey, wahala no for dey because, she for don brush anybody wey wan use her eye see dutty but now wey she don born Bobo she no fit do some kind things again. How e go take affect Bobo life for outside? Na the question she come dey always ask herself before she do anything.
Wetin sef? E no get anybody for this life wey holy pass! Na the quarrel wey enter Christiana chest be that. Make anybody come meet me if him know say e no get secret for this world, if all of them talk say they never do anything bad before, make them come face me, water dey comot from Christiana eye as she dey for bed. She dey think am, say if people gather somewhere dey judge am, even if say na for inside dream e take happen, say e must to mean something. Christiana dey confused as to whether or not she go carry this dream go meet Aunty Counsellor, she fit help her understand wetin dey happen to her.
Ah, Bobo don wake.
Bobo enter Christiana bedroom, sidon for corner of the mattress dey look him mama like person wey miss road, sleep full him eye. Bobo how now? You no fit greet your mama? Christiana ask her pikin. Bobo turn him head face the mirror she hang for the other side of the room, he dey still like wooden image, Bobo no be you I dey talk to? Christiana ask am again. Bobo turn around look him mama for eye, he open mouth and the thing wey follow send electric shock straight to Christiana spinal cord. Bobo ask him mama, wetin dem talk?