Dr Okwara’s Internship Hussle Story


My first interview for Housemanship was at the Imo State University Teaching Hospital, Orlu. The crowd was unbelievable for a University Teaching Hospital that can only take about 25 house officers. I had faith in myself and in what my teachers had taught me in school but if I considered these two enough, I was soon to know that they weren’t. It was my welcome party to the street. 

The written interview was over in thirty minutes and in the next few minutes as we were outside gisting and discussing the interview questions with friends from other medical schools, the result was out. No one present at that moment had his or her name on that board. Where did they import these names from? 

I went home bewildered, beaten and peeved at the amount they extorted from the ignorant crowd in the name of application form. Advertising for spaces that do not exist in the first place was a new thing to me. 

My next interviews were at Federal Medical Center, Owo, then University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, and finally National Hospital, Abuja. All unsuccessful. 

My attitude was drowning at this moment. I didn’t want to look at friends and family and tell them I didn’t get the job again.

Within this period of time, someone linked me to a job with Proctor and Gamble and I was to work with a team already on ground for the activation of Safeguard Nigeria products in the South Western Nigeria and South South. For the months I was on this job, I often woke up in the night in my hotel room and felt bitter inside for the time that was passing before my eyes. I was angry at the system, angry for being a doctor, and for spending six precious years in the university. My attitude was sinking, and I somehow, enjoyed the self pity. 

From very early in life, as early as junior secondary school years, I had formed the habit of writing something everyday, good or bad. I carried this habit into the University and till today. I must pen down numbered thoughts everyday. There are good days, and there are less good days, but I do a certain amount of pages before I feel the day has been served. It is from these stories and thoughts that I have a large manuscript I captioned MANY WERE CALLED. I hope to make something out of it in the nearest future. 

On one of those nights in my hotel room at A A Hotel by Pepperoni, off Ada George Road in Portharcourt, I was mediating deeply and writing  and God dropped a thought in my spirit. 

My fantastic, inspirational, leadership attitude was sinking because I was giving attention to my surroundings, living in reactionary mode to other people’s success or failure; instead of focusing on personal growth and on my own race. God challenged me to change that attitude. 

I woke up the next day a better person. I started counting my own blessings and personal growth instead. I looked inward and I marveled at how much growth I’ve experienced. In this period, more than ever, I learnt money dynamics, investment, reputation management, converging and hosting successful online classes, social capital and why I should care about it, etc. I developed quality friendships in Ibadan, Warri, Benin, Enugu and Portharcourt courtesy of working with Safeguard Antiseptic Soap (Safeguard Nigeria), a subsidiary of Proctor and Gamble. 

And here’s the lesson. God is not just interested in blessing us with things. He’s also interested in blessing us with intangible things such as character, virtue, good attitude, purposeful friendships, leadership spirit; and how to handle money and relationships. I’m glad I have these in no little measures. These are real blessings to me. 

So whenever you feel like time is going, more than being frustrated and getting angry at the system, look at the lessons embedded in the process. What are you learning? Are you sure you’re growing, or are you just interested in collecting salary while you remain a dwarf in every other aspect of your life? Think on these things!

I’m ending this write up with good news. The next interview I wrote was my last and every day, I thank God for the centre I got because more than anything, I get to see clinical cases and sophisticated diagnostic equipment I only read of in textbooks.

I work in wards and clinics of international standard. The Institute for Child Health in my Centre still takes my breath away each time I step into the emergency paediatric unit. 

My centre is also a regional centre for neurosurgery; a department with international reputation. I’m having hands-on training devoid of harassment and consultant-complexes.

I pray for those who feel they have wasted time. With God, no time is ever wasted. He’ll redeem every moment lost. 

Grace to you in Jesus’ name. Grace to me too

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