The Bowen University College of Health Sciences, since inception, has produced no fewer than 197 medical doctors, 120 of whom are female. This year, Dr (Miss) Peace Osereme Eromonsele, who studied Medicine and Surgery in the university, emerged the best graduating student at the college. She shares her success story, among other things, with KEHINDE ADIO.

How did your academic life start?

I was homeschooled with my siblings from primary one to junior secondary school one in Port Harcourt [Rivers State]. Then I attended CITA International School, Port Harcourt for a year before joining Graceland International School, Port Harcourt, for the rest of my secondary education.

What did you score in the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME)?

I scored 263.

Why did you choose Bowen and not any of the public universities?

My parents wanted me to attend a Christian university and so when they heard about Bowen University, they encouraged me to apply. It turned out to be a great decision.

What was the secret of your success as the overall best graduating student in Bowen for the year 2021?

My number one secret was God. He is the reason everything else worked out the way it did, including all the other ‘secrets’. He kept me going when things were difficult. Number two was association. The support from my parents and my siblings (Collins, Daniel and Joy) was also invaluable. My friends in school were so supportive and my study groups were a blessing. I can never forget how helpful they were.

Another thing that helped was my inquisitiveness. As much as possible, I tried to know the ‘why’ behind the facts. Google was my number one study partner. Lol. However, you need to know when to just read and move on, or it will waste your time.

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My mindset was also very important. I met people who taught me that things are hard only if you believe they are hard. So, I would say it to myself, that ‘medicine is easy for me’. And even though there were difficult days, things became easier in the long run.

What were the challenges during the course of your study and how did you overcome them? And how, in your opinion, can students avoid failure?

My main challenge was the stress that comes with being in medical school. There were days when it felt overwhelming but I got past it with God’s help and support from others.

My pieces of advice for other medical students to prevent failure are: trust God, always, and don’t be a loner. No matter how much you read, you can still fail if you don’t know what is important. You learn this by interacting with others.

Again, always know the basics. It is good to read wide but it is more important to know what is needed to pass your exams. More complex aspects can come later.

Also, don’t let previous failures get to you. Find things that interest you other than medicine. Business, sports, music, arts and crafts; the options are endless. Investing in productive relationships is imperative. There is so much more to life than school.

If you were in a public university, would you have done well, still?

Yes, I would have done well there, because the principles that helped me are applicable in any environment.

What do you want people to know about Bowen University?

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I will say that the College of Health Sciences in Bowen University has done a great job so far in terms of its learning system. The lecturers/doctors not only teach well, but they also make themselves available to the students as much as possible. I would like to use this opportunity to say thank you to all the doctors, lecturers and other staff that were instrumental in my success.

How would you compare Bowen and other universities in Nigeria?

Bowen University has a good system in place in terms of educational standards, and students of Bowen University can compete with students of any public university in Nigeria. Although the fees are quite expensive, the possibility of strikes is almost non-existent, which gives it a great advantage over public schools. The teacher-student relationship is also better and more impactful.

Would you have preferred to study abroad instead of attending Bowen?

I wanted to travel out initially but I am happy that I stayed.

What did you enjoy from your parents?

I enjoyed a lot from my parents, Pastor David and Pastor Mrs Mary Eromonsele. They were very supportive, always asking if I was eating and getting enough rest. Of course, they asked if I was reading, too. And they always prayed for me. I know that they gave up many things to make sure my siblings and I were comfortable and for that, I will always be thankful. I believe that parents should not just support their children financially, but emotionally and in prayers as well. Things can get really stressful and it is important for your children to know that you are there for them, no matter what.

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What is your advice for undergraduates on academic success?

To every undergraduate out there, believe that you can be successful. Set targets and goals for yourself and don’t associate yourself with unserious people. Success is contagious and so is failure.

What is your view on graduate unemployment in Nigeria?

Concerning the unemployment rate, I will say that as bad as things look, there is a myriad of opportunities available, especially now that you can learn anything online. If you commit yourself to learning, opportunities will find you.

What do you think the government can do to make public universities more attractive to candidates?

The government needs to realise that quality education is the foundation for the success of any economy and focus on meeting the needs of public universities, including adequate facilities and prompt salary payment. This will help to prevent the strikes which have become a norm in public universities, and a major deterrent to candidates seeking admission.

What are your plans for the future?

In the future, I would like to become more involved in preventive medicine. Most of the deaths, diseases and disabilities we see today are preventable if we can equip individuals with the right information and enable them to act on it. I want to do as much as I can to make my country a better and healthier one.


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