29-year-old undergraduate who dumped Medicine for Mass Communication after 10 years
What could make a student abandon Medicine for Mass Communication, having spent 10 years trying hard at the former? This is the big question our intern, Godwin Simon attempted to answer, when he went after Ismaila Mansur Akolade, a 100 level Mass Communication student of the University of Lagos now in his 10th year as an undergraduate.
ISMAILA Mansur Akolade as a 100 level student of Mass Communication at the University of Lagos is by all means expected to be a freshers and a green horn in the university affairs, but his mature outlook, carriage and composure suggest clearly that he is he is none of the sort. As if to confirm this writer’s suspicion, a reliable source, who is close to Ismaila disclosed he had indeed spent a whopping ten years at the University of Ilorin, studying Medicine before quitting barely two weeks to the commencement of his final qualification examination.
His days at the University of Ilorin, the source said was characterised by serial failure, which inevitably put him at the bottom of the class, hence his decision to quit at the eleventh hour. Curiously, Ismaila is not sitting at the bottom nor struggling in his new endeavour as he currently sit in the first class category with a Grade Point Average of 4.71
.In an exclusive interview with our reporter, Ismaila revealed that his action was triggered by his passion for the journalism profession, which he said is parallel to the wish of his father for him. He noted that his dream was never to become a doctor, but was forced into an unholy matrimony with the profession by his father who sees the medical profession as prestigious and thus wants ‘the best’ for his son.“Principally, my action was due to the fact that I never wanted to be a doctor.
I was initially in medical school because I had to follow my father’s bidding. He wanted me to become a doctor but when I discovered after 10 years that it was not going to work and that my professional life was going to be nastier and more horrible, I took the decision to leave and follow my dreams. I refused to be held down by the medical certificate because I reasoned that if I should write the final examination, it might make me drift away from my dream of studying Mass Communication.” He said.He recalled his days at the University of Ilorin Medical School, which he described as ‘horrible’ and ‘nasty,’ noting that he was a very terrible student and had a very negative reputation. He said,“Perhaps, I was the most unserious medical student UNILORIN has ever come across. I spent 10 years in the medical school, four of which was due to failure. I repeated class in 200, 300, 500, and 600 levels respectively.
After the whole saga, especially when I came to study Mass Communication, I discovered that my failure was not due to an inability or mental incapacity to handle medicine; it was because I was just never interested in it.”He revealed that the reason for his passion for the journalism profession was his talent and propensity which he believes would thrive and gain relevance only if allowed to be expressed as a journalist.His words: “There is this Law-Mass Communication dichotomy. People thought I was leaving medicine for an equally ‘prestigious’ course like Law. You know the way society view it especially in Nigeria: If my son is not a doctor, he should be a lawyer, engineer or accountant. Having analysed both law and medicine, I discovered common characteristics in them. First of all are the rules. I won’t call myself a lawless person, but I am someone who likes to be free. I don’t like dress codes, neither do I fancy uniforms.
When I was in the medical school, there was a rule that you must be in a particular shirt at a particular time and other dress codes. I don’t like conventions.”“I am not an undisciplined person, but I hate being caged by unnecessary shackles of profession. This sharply differs from my current course. Mass Communication is everything. Look at the issue of beats; if you are an aviation reporter, you look more like a pilot when you start talking. In Mass Communication, you are a complete human being. You can be here and there. I love the professional plurality and intellectual freedom obtainable in it. I felt that this course is more of me than law.”He said his father was embittered by his decision to quit medicine after all his investment into the profession. He however said he was encouraged to embark on his mission after seeing the movie titled, ‘Three Idiots,’ which triggered the instinct of resoluteness in him and taught him that life is predominantly about risk taking.According to him, “I will not want to feel the way my father felt when I left. If I put myself into his shoes, I won’t want a son to do to me what I did to my father. However, I got the inspiration from the movie to dare and to take a seemingly difficult action, more especially because life is risk taking and not about the present alone. The lessons from that movie contributed 40 per cent to my final decision. I believe strongly that if I graduate from UNILAG, become a world class journalist and achieve greatness in the profession; my father will be one of those who will celebrate with me.”Ismaila admitted that it was not easy for him to start afresh and adapt since he had spent most of his years studying science-based subjects in secondary school. Sitting down to deal with arts-based subjects, he said, was difficult but the determination to succeed made him to withstand the avoidable failure that stared him in the face.“I was driven by passion. I went to settle with all relevant books. I did extensive reading and I also had a friend who taught me mathematics. When the result came out, it was excellent. I actually had distinction in all my papers.” He said.He recognised the contributions of his lecturers in Mass Communication department, to his quick adaptation to life on campus, saying that their words of encouragements, have helped him to quickly overcome his medical school trauma, and helped him to re-orientate towards excellence.“These lecturers of mine are beyond just lecturers for me. They are my advisers, comforters and encouragers. Those that heard my story assured me that I can still bounce back and be great in life. With this, I was able to re-think and desire to be studious.
Thank God the results are reflecting my effortsIsmaila said the 10-year experience has redefined him and has taught him a lot of lessons, which he wishes to use to educate the younger ones to forestall falling victim of such unpalatable experience.He appealed to parents to always consider the interest and ability of their children rather than imposing professions on them.In his words, “Parents should allow their children to express themselves. That parents are privileged to give birth to children does not give them absolute control over their destinies. Parents can only guide their children. Children should be allowed to have more input on how they would live their lives. Parents should not play God with the future of their children. Your child doesn’t know how to write or speak English very well but he is very exceptional in Mathematics and you insist he should go and study law! He has a special ability in writing poems and mind-bogging articles but poor in calculations, yet you said he must be an engineer! Parents should stop acting against the natural talents and propensities of their children.”He also challenged young ones to hold their destinies in their hands to avoid being swayed unnecessarily. “If you don’t make a decision for yourself, someone will make it for you. Don’t abandon your future in the hands of anybody. Do your own research and know the movers and shakers in your profession of interest, so as to inspire you the more. Young ones should not leave everything in the hands of their parents. It is noteworthy that he who pays the piper dictates the tune, especially when the piper has not decided the exact tune to play.