Her career path was set as long as she was concerned and she will thread on this adventurous thrilling journey. It was in the year 2001 that Jane got admitted into one of the country’s arguably best university.
As many Christian families will do, her parents called her aside for a family prayer when the day eventually came for her to leave for school. She was going to reside in the hostel, so as every caring parent would react, they were a bit worried.
“Remember the child of whom you are.” her mother said, before a prayer that seemed to last forever.
“I wonder why they are worried?” She thought to herself.
She had lived most of her life in the hostel during her high school days. At the age of 10, she was bundled and shipped far away from home. In a remote location of the Northern part of the country.
“I’m going to be independent at long last!” She eventually told herself.
While her parents rained down tons of blessings in prayer, with her eyes closed, all she could think of was the life that lay ahead of her in the University, and the thought of a blossoming career in medicine.
From her research and major statistics, doctors were well paid.
She was extremely imaginative, so she pictured herself receiving the best graduating student award and holding a stethoscope in another hand. All the while being so pensive. One would think she was paying close attention to the words of prayer.
The prayer continued.
“You will be the head and not the tail.” her mother continued praying in strict biblical terms.
“Ammmeeeeen!” her father concurred, nodding his head affirmatively.
Even though she lived several miles apart from her parents in high school, she still felt very dependent on her parents as most kids in the community were. The culture and value for family and support encouraged kids her age to remain dependent —something she thought she would soon be disentangled from.
She wanted to be free and live her life on her own terms. But the truth remained that she would need their permission to go anywhere out of school. And of course, she also required pocket money if she was going to survive because she was living in the dormitory and not working.
Far from what you think, she wasn’t necessarily independent even after getting into the University.
Her house was barely a 40 minutes distance from the University and the hostel she eventually had to reside in. On a good day with no traffic, it would take her about 15 minutes to get to the University from her house.
Even at that, to her, it was just a better arrangement than having to live full-time with her parents. But this isn’t the topic of discussion, is it?
She was admitted to the University to study medicine. But most of her close friends were of the opinion that she was influenced by her family to study medicine. It was understandable why they’d think so. Her family had quite a number of doctors and wannabes.
In her own case, it was quite different. Before she made applications to the University, she had a casual meeting with her parents. They wanted to be certain that she really wanted to study medicine.
“Jane.” as her dad would call her.
“Are you sure you really want to study medicine?” he continued in his deep-rooted accent.
“…I hope you don’t want to study medicine because I’m a doctor?” he ended the question.
He probably thought that his career choices had influenced her to follow his footsteps. But he wasn’t entirely wrong. What did she know at that point in her life? She was convinced that she was going to study medicine. She was smart and loved to read. What else was needed to become a successful doctor?
Influenced by her inner circle, she had narrowed her mind to a career path subconsciously. Her parents were well educated and promoted education.
Seeing her dad with his lab coat almost on a daily basis was something she quite fancied. Noticing him pick up phone calls only to dash away to the hospital to attend to an emergency was intriguing to her.
Her dad was a superhero saving lives and somehow she wanted to be one too.
She believed she was up to the task ahead— being that lady everyone respected and held in high esteem. If for anything, if she had decided to become a professional artist, her parents would have fully supported her. They sang that to her every day like a song!
But they were going to support this decision of hers because it was their duty. What they didn’t seem to realize was that she was a little blinded by her circle. She soon started her classes and was proud to tell anyone who cared to listen that she was a doctor in the ‘cooking pot’.
She looked forward to the completion of med school, housemanship, and life afterward.
But, in the University, she absolutely struggled with grasping a full understanding of what was being explained and she dreaded some classes. She also realized that her personality might pose a threat if she was going to continue her career in medicine. For instance, she hated the sight of blood and drugs.
What sort of doctor was she going to turn out to be?
To some other person, this would have been everything they’d have wished for. But to her, it was a tad bit exasperating.
Somehow, she managed to scale through her courses and soon went over for housemanship. This was even more daunting for her. She didn’t only not like the sessions, but she somehow did well in exams. Much more frustrating for her.
“I haven’t lost too many years after all. Nothing is ever a waste in life quite frankly!” Jane thought to herself.
Ten years down the line, she was now practicing medicine in one of Nigeria’s great teaching hospital in the city. Her family was excited at her supposed success, completely unaware of her misery all along.
She didn’t want to be a laughing-stock for her family and presumed friends. She wasn’t even sure she had friends these days as they barely spoke.
Jane had become lonely over the course of her practice because of her tight routine schedule. She barely had the time to keep up her relationships with anybody. Not like they cared enough to get in touch with her anyway if you were to play devil’s advocate.
It was 11:00 AM on a Monday morning and she had just tendered her resignation letter to the Head Doctor she reported to.
“Jane, I’m surprised. Your letter says you want to pursue another career…” Mr. Abeko said in great surprise.
“Ye.Yes, sir. it’s about time.” She interrupted. She wanted to speak so quickly to avoid having a change of heart.
“But why?” He continued.
“I want to follow other plans I have been working on.”
“I always thought you enjoyed medical practice. You’ve been a great person to work with. I wish you well, and if you ever need my help with anything, please don’t hesitate to reach out.”
Jane nodded and left his office. Deep within her, she swore she wouldn’t come crawling for help. She had her pride and ego to deal with.
Even if she was going to stick to her medical practice, she spent half her life stuck in the miserable traffic of the famous expressway. Sitting there in the office shuttle every day necessarily resulted in her thinking of her life and how cloudy it could turn out to be if care wasn’t taken. It had inspired her swift decision.
She wasn’t going to hold off any much longer. If she was going to switch careers, it had to be now!
She was going to go on another career path. It was an impulsive decision she made about two weeks ago. She no longer wanted to think about what people will think about her ditching her medical career.
She wasn’t sure what the future held for her, but she was sure that it was the right step she had just made. She had long decided to embrace the challenges that a career change had to offer.
For once in a very long time, Jane felt inspired and excited for the first time in weeks.
Soon after, she was in her office space. She gazed at the entire room, walked towards where her lab coat was and smiled. She looked at her picture frame hung on the wall. And she took a look at the second frame on the wall. It was her degree certificate.
Tears rolled down her cheeks. She sighed heavily.
She quickly threw in her belongings into a large carton box and made her way out of the office. She had this push to leave in a hurry to avoid having a change of heart. Not that that would have happened anyway, she had gone too far to relent now, but just, in any event, she was going to.
At the gate, she stopped walking, took a final look at the hospital building. She hadn’t told her family of her decision to quit. She will make out some time to let them know in a few weeks. She had enough savings to pull through and she had a plan to intern at an advertising agency.
She made her way to her car in the parking lot, got in, and sped away.
If you missed the preceding story of Jane and her hurdle with the early morning traffic, you can catch up on it here. Look out for more short stories in this category.
Please share with me in the comment section, what did you study in school and what are you currently doing for a living? I would love to hear from you!
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