My experience has been that the further along in my education I have come, the further away I grew from “Teacher’s Pet” status.
I was arguably one of the teacher’s favourites in Primary School (St. Saviour’s School, Lagos, Nigeria). But by the time I reached Medical school, I was sitting in the back row of a large lecture hall, in the top right corner, as far away from the lecturer’s podium as possible.
I worked hard, no doubt, but I was not gunning for any medals because there were about 200 of us in that class, and sure, I can be competitive when it comes to playing Taboo, but I never learned to be cut-throat in school like some of my other classmates.
I had heard horror stories about University of Toronto’s medical school… people ripping pages out of library text books so classmates didn’t have access, others hiding cadaver parts that were necessary to study for anatomy exams. Those were the type of things that made U of T LAST on my list of choices for school. Of course I would have preferred to stay at Mac but they wouldn’t have me, neither would Queen’s, or Ottawa, or UBC, or Western. I wasn’t even granted an interview at any of these other schools because my GPA fell short of meeting their first checkpoint. Needless to say, Medicine in Canada is supremely competitive.
U of T was the only school at the time who considered the applicant as a whole right off the bat, instead of the checkpoint system the other schools used. So my GPA was good, MCAT score was great, reference letters were strong, (thank you Mrs. Nkoyo Rapu, Dr. Leke Badmos and Dr. Denys deCatanzaro!), and my overall application package landed me an interview.
At the interview I was so nervous, I went on a rant about Jane Eyre’s love life… I still cringe at the thought. I came home thinking I had definitely been rejected, but a few weeks later, I got a letter inviting me to join the U of T Medical School’s class of 2010! And to think I almost did not apply. Sure, I had all these excuses of why I didn’t want to be at U of T, but secretly I never thought I would be “good enough” to get in.
I’m thankful to God because a career in Medicine has been a privilege and a blessing to say the least. Again I give credit to my parents for many things including supporting me throughout my entire education, and particularly for pushing me to try even when I believed I would for sure fail.
I’m no Teacher’s Pet but hey, not everyone can be!