I’ve been living in Europe in the last 7 years, I’ve seen folks in Medical Schools in London, Dublin, Sofia, Nicosia, Paris, Budapest and other parts of Europe complain bitterly about what they’re going through.
I’ve seen people lose their social life completely because of their studies, I’ve seen people dropout of medical schools. But there are success stories emanating from Med Schools.
Today, I present “Titi” pronounced as TeeTee, she is a 3rd year student in a Medical School in Szeged Hungary. In the following Q&As she will share tips about her Med School journey, how she became passionate about the field and how she has managed to stay positive in the stressful academic environment.
CA: Please tell us about yourself and why you chose the medical field.
Titi: I am Titilayomi, the third of four children. My big dream of becoming a medical doctor started during my teenage years. I was always interested in the human body. For me it is fun to explore how the anatomy is structured, how processes take place and the opportunities physicians have to cure diseases.
Providing people in need with something tangible and keeping myself busy with challenging situations fascinates me. The connection between scientific work and being in close contact with humans to treat whatever sickness they are burdened with is the perfect field of work for me.
CA: Can you remember the earliest experience that triggered your passion for medicine?
Titi: During some of my visits to the public hospital with my aunt, who is a nurse, I saw the medical staff tirelessly attending to numerous patients. The enthusiasm and devotion to their duties was very inspiring.
The feeling that the precious life of an individual is in your hands and that these people have placed their full trust in you to do your best with their lives is a most rewarding thought and feeling.
Being responsible for my patients, treating them and taking care of them has always been my biggest wish, thus my desire to be a physician.
CA: Were there any triggers for this passion during your younger academic growth?
Titi: I was appointed the health supervisor of my high school during my final year. This taught me how to show empathy, to have a listening ear to whatever complaint patients come up with and to care for people irrespective of their age, background or status. Everyone was to be offered our best service. All these experiences confirmed my decision and strengthened my passion and will to becoming a medical doctor.
CA: What made you chose to acquire your medical knowledge in Hungary?
Titi: I did my research and read about all the consequential researches done by Hungarian Universities, I also discovered that Hungarian Universities had a reputation for excellence globally.
Apart from this, the opportunity of learning new languages and immersing myself into new cultures influenced my decision to come to Hungary for my studies.
CA: Are there any differences in procedures you’ve seen in Hungarian Universities compared to the Nigerian system?
Titi: Yes, I’ve seen many procedural differences, for instance, the examination system in medical school in Hungary is totally different from what I was used to and quite unexpected.
Back home every exam was in written form, but assessment here was administered in both written and oral assessments. For the oral examination, you’d pick a topic or two at random from an envelope (which will be presented to you by the academic tutor) on the day of the exam.
As expected, there’s a possibility of picking your favorite or uninteresting topic, you would then have to sit and write down as much as you know within the stipulated time. And then, your knowledge of the chosen topics will be tested through an interview-like presentation of ideas to your lecturer and his or her peers.
Another procedural difference in Hungarian Universities, is the flexibility of exam dates, students are expected to choose their exam dates from an array of possible assessment dates which is usually within a span of 7 weeks.
CA: Being able to choose one’s exam dates and pace seems like a checklist for disasters, especially for people who are unable to prioritize their tasks. What are the traps student should avoid when faced with such realities?
Titi: Do not rush your exams; don’t plan according to your friends’ or colleagues’ wish; do things at your own pace; failing once does not mean you will not pass the next time; get rid of any pre-exam nerves, as some lecturers may use this against you; some may finish weeks before the final dates, while some on the last day – be sure to finish well.
CA: How have you coped with the daunting academic rigor related to medical schools?
Titi: In my few years at Szeged, I must admit it has been challenging. You must keep up during the semester by studying continuously on each module so as to acquire a firm ground. The exam period can be mentally and emotionally draining but keep your eyes on the prize so you can enjoy your holidays right after.
CA: Please tell us more about the city you are based in Hungary.
Titi: Szeged is a calm town; but then so is any other city in Hungary aside the capital Budapest. It can almost feel like a ghost town during the weekend because students are the major occupants of these cities and they travel to the capital to enjoy the city life.
CA: Szeged sounds like a pretty quiet city, how do you cope in such an environment?
Titi: I listen to music, cook, or just take a stroll during my free time. I travel to other cities too, to experience a change of environment.
CA: Before we close this discussion, please share some parting advice to people who are interested in enrolling for medical school in Hungary.
Titi: It is extremely important to consider your plans after you graduate from medical school, life is totally different by that time. You may want to move to neighboring European countries or to another continent entirely to find work. Please don’t be too worried about this, as you proceed with your studies you will get more information, I believe that you will cross the bridge when you get there.
Be open minded as you meet people, you never know who will be of help. Hungary has lots to offer, there are beautiful cities to explore so go ahead and relax your mind. You will meet international students from all over the world so there’s the opportunity to learn new cultures even without stepping a foot in their countries.
There are moments you will doubt yourself, rough times are going to come but they won’t stay.
Strength grows in moments when you think you cannot go on but you keep going anyway. It is very important you hold on to your dreams as I am doing now.
CA – Closing Notes
Please send me an email if you would like to ask Titi further questions.