It is another session on the Unknown Series and I had quite a lengthy chat with Courage Idahor. Buckle up and enjoy the ride, I hope you get some insights into life like I did.
Check out the inspiration behind The Unknown Series : Life after University.
FOLU OLUFUNKE: My name is Olufunke, welcome to the Unknown Series.
Could you please introduce yourself?
COURAGE IDAHOR: My name is Courage Idahor, a final year medical student of the University of Benin. I am the founder of Dream Alive Initiative which is a social enterprise with the aim of making people understand their visions for life, discover purpose, create a trajectory for life and career.
FOLU OLUFUNKE: What prompted you to choose Medicine?
COURAGE IDAHOR: Before going to the sciences for Medicine, I asked questions about medicine and I remember being told I would be taken to the mortuary where I would be locked in with dead bodies.
Because of the stories I heard, I decided to be go into the world of accounting but of course I couldn’t continue in the path because I had passion for medicine.
Medicine to me was the only thing I could do because I was really passionate about it. I saw myself as someone who wanted to alleviate people’s suffering health wise, so I chose Sciences instead.
I did so well in the sciences that there was no doubt in my mind as to what to choose in my JAMB examination.
In summary, it was a combination of passion, what I heard from people and environmental influence.
FOLU OLUFUNKE: How has school being for you?
COURAGE IDAHOR: Medical school has been quiet eventful for me. In my 100level days, I led a triangular life – Church, books and class. I did not have a social life and I was not engaged in as much activities as I am in now, it was all about my academics.
Life in 200level was almost the same pattern as my 100level and this continued until my late 300level when I decided I wanted to do other things with my life excluding Medicine.
I started volunteering for organization, at that time I also became my class coordinator for Christian Medical and Dental Students Association and this taught me more about leadership and passion for humanity.
I met with a friend who introduced me into the world of opportunities – international organization and capacity building programs.
In applying for these opportunities l was opportune to be selected to attend a conference in the United States of America in Healthcare Leadership Skills.
The conference connected me with lot of people – young people who were doing things and this left me with the confidence that I could do more in Medical school, that I could utilize my potentials.
Truth is Medical school can be very tricky, they tell you that you have to keep reading your books, you have to be a good doctor and you begin to doubt if you can do more than just study Medicine.
Medical school can be a cage and a secluded place but realizing my potentials made me broaden my horizon and taught me how to manage my time.
Through this I have started my NGO and a shortly after my exams, I started writing my book – Discover it early and this was to me one goal accomplished.
FOLU OLUFUNKE: Where did the motivation to write a book come from and how was the experience?
COURAGE IDAHOR: I started writing the book shortly after my exams, I did not consider it twice as the thought had been coming for some years and the exposure from the seeing young people going out and doing things prompted me to forge ahead with it.
While writing, I had the normal writer’s block – sometimes having things to write and sometimes totally blank, but I was passionate about it.
In less than three months I had written enough things to call a book, so I contacted an American flight doctor who I met during my trip to write the foreword of my book, which she obliged to do.
I met with publishers and before I knew it, I was launching it.
I remember telling some doctors about my book launch and one of them told me I ought to finish medical school before doing something like that and another doctor plainly asked me what I knew that I was writing.
The experience after the book launch was quite exhilarating as I was getting calls from different people and of course I was getting money.
The book was about purpose, vision, and self-discovery. The positive feedback I got and the impact the book made meant a lot to me.
Writing a book is more than the money to me, it is about the passion, it is a career path and a pursuit to me. Penning down something to inspire people all over means a lot to me.
Check my previous session on The Unknown Series: With David Osaluka
FOLU OLUFUNKE: What has been your biggest regret?
COURAGE IDAHOR: I have a number of regrets and one of my biggest regret was not starting on time. I regret that all these things I know now, didn’t click on time and I did not have mentors. I didn’t know how to reach out to people and making connections.
My second regret was me been timid and not appreciating myself. I was always beating up myself, I did not believe I was competent or had any potential. At that time, I was always concerned about what people would say about my life.
My third regret was about my health issues in 100level and 300level. I felt if I didn’t go through that phase of illness I would have started earlier and gone farther than this.
FOLU OLUFUNKE: Are you scared about life after school?
COURAGE IDAHOR: No matter how prepared you are, you will still have doubts about your preparedness for the next stage.
I still have fear and I see fears as a good feeling – fear makes you know life is not easy, it brings to your consciousness the reason you should be responsible and the reason you should strive to be better. It is just important to prevent fear from consuming you.
At the moment we can do everything we want to do under the “I am a student” disguise. A lot of foolish things can be done and be overlooked, but after school foolishness cannot be entertained because the remaining part of your life will depend on the actions you take after school.
School life is full of competition and communal activities. Most people do things because of their friends but life after school is all about individuality and this is where the scariness comes in.
It is even more scary for people who have a lot of people looking up to them, if not for anything, we don’t want to fail or disappoint them.
But we have hope that things will be better and we will do well.
FOLU OLUFUNKE: Do you have any advice for final year students.
COURAGE IDAHOR: My advice for all final year students is that whatever it is they have decided to do with their life, they should get to it and be consistent – start now and fail now.
They should start doing things, network with people, have friends beyond their classmates – have friends who they think are above, below them, and at the same level with them because these are the people who will help later in life, not just in monetary terms but giving advice and information.
Having a list of what to do is also important- a list of the immediate things, short term goals and long term goals.
finalists should ask themselves thought provoking questions like –
- what are the things they would be doing few weeks after graduation;
- the kind of business that will thrive in the country- if it is business they want to dive into;
- in what area, which institution, country and how to get the finance for the ones interested in furthering their academics;
- where would they live?
- Should they work with a company at first or start theirs?
They should not be so concerned about money that they lose out on opportunities they will learn greatly from. They should be ready to start small.
Most importantly they should make connections with vision driven people.
Learn skills now before you leave school, even if you do not need it, it will add to your arsenal of skills.
FOLU OLUFUNKE: What are your plans for life after school?
COURAGE IDAHOR: To an extent, I know the things I want to do after school – both long term and short term. I believe plans should be seen in action, not heard.
But then, medicine is a means to an end for me. If I want to practice medicine, 10 to 15 years as a consultant is enough for me and I will move on to do other things in life.
FOLU OLUFUNKE: Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
COURAGE IDAHOR: I see myself doing my residency in gynecology and obstetrics outside this country, most likely in United Kingdom or the United States.
FOLU OLUFUNKE: Are there other things you would like to say?
COURAGE IDAHOR: Yes actually.
I always tell people when I go for programs to close their eyes, and assume they are 80 years and have just few years on earth, what is the one thing they would regret they never did.
I would ask them what is the one thing they would wish they had enough time for, if they were on the hospital bed and they would be dying in the next few minutes.
Whatever their answer is – that is their passion, that is what they are called for and that is what they should pursue. Whatever it is we are wired for, it is better we figure it out on time otherwise we will end up regretting.
A lot of people you see hanging stethoscope round their necks are not happy, a lot of students are not happy, a lot people are feeling unfulfilled.
If you can figure what you want out of life and fully go for it without consideration for people’s thought, you will discover you will be successful.
Just anyone can be successful, success is not restricted to any profession. There’s nothing like medical doctors are the most successful, it is just a social construct in this country that is making people want to go into medicine.
A lot of people and students have so many potentials in them but they are just restricted because of what their parents want from them – they want to be a medical doctor, lawyer or pharmacist because of their parents and not necessarily because they are interested in it.
My perspective towards life changed when I heard these five questions from Miles Monroe:
- Who am I i.e. Self discovery;
- Where am I from i.e. Heritage;
- Why am I here i.e. Purpose;
- What can I do i.e. Potentials, abilities and capacities
- Where am I going i.e. Potentials.
If any individual can answer these questions then success is guaranteed.
Success is not just measured by how rich you are, but the greatest measure of success is doing what you were wired to do and doing it successful.
People should learn to cut off anything that isn’t giving them happiness. We are already constrained in this country to seek for money, but that isn’t enough as fulfillment and happiness is important and all that we want.
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