Says Ishola, BU overall best medical graduate 


By Gabriel Dike 


•Mrs. Olamide Ishola, Victoria Ishola and Mr. Adebayo Ishola


Victoria Ibukunoluwa Ishola, 24, is overall best medical graduate, Benjamin S. Carson College of Health and Medical Sciences, Babcock University (BU), Ilishan-Remo, Ogun State.

In this interview, she disclosed that, due to incessant strikes, she dumped two public universities and settled for BU in 2017. Excerpts:

How was your primary and secondary academic experience?

I started primary school at St. Saviour Nursery and Primary School and it wasn’t easy because I wasn’t picking up well like I should. My academic performance was not so good. Eventually we relocated to Mushin where I continued my  education at Royal Children School.

It was where I started catching up and  getting better academically. My academic performance received a divine turnaround and it gained a new trajectory. 

Subsequently, I starting  placing  at the first, second, third or fourth position in my primary classes. I graduated as the third  best overall in my school.

I started my secondary education at Royal Kriston College,  where I maintained my first position throughout. Consistently, I won prizes such as second best  overall in JSS 1, first overall in JSS 2 plus best in English. 

At the end of JSS 3,  I was awarded the prize of first overall, best in English, Mathematics. Due to my impressive performance, I also represented my school at the Cowbell Mathematics competition (Junior Secondary School category). In my senior secondary years, I consistently received the overall  best science student prize from SS 1 to SS 3. I represented my school at the PZ Chemistry Challenge, where I was part of best 100 chemistry students in Lagos State 2014/2025. I represented my school at the Cowbell Mathematics Competition, Senior Secondary category. I also participated in other intra-school quizzes. 

How did you find yourself at Babcock University?

In 2016, I applied to Babcock University as my first choice for the Medicine and Surgery programme but I was offered Physiology instead. Through sheer determination I turned down the admission. I went to Educational Advancement Centre (EAC), Ibadan, to do my Cambridge A level and JUPEB programmes, respectively.

I wrote JAMB and A levels exams in 2017. I proceeded to reapply to Babcock with my new JAMB result. I initially planned to apply to the University of Ibadan (UI) and Lagos State University (LASU) with my A level result. But I was discouraged by the persistent strikes. 

I was eventually offered admission into Babcock University to study Medicine and Surgery, my course of choice.


Was studying Medicine your choice or your parents imposed it on you?

Studying Medicine was 100 per cent my choice. My parents mostly guided me with their prayers, words of encouragement and advice. 

How did you cope during the COVID-19 pandemic?

During the pandemic, I had to cope physically, mentally and spiritually. I coped physically by exercising and eating healthy. Mentally, I tried to stay abreast with new information concerning the COVID-19 pandemic.  I ensured that I caught up daily with my online classes, assignments and I maintained a consistent studying routine.

I also picked up new skills and did extra-curricular courses. I tried to communicate consistently with my friends and family members scattered in different places around the world. I coped spiritually by praying, joining online services and overall ensuring that I maintained good communion with God Almighty.

Did you set a target of academic performance for yourself?

Yes, I had academic targets. At the beginning of my studies, I told myself that I wanted to become the best doctor that I could be so that I could give my future patients the best care.

I knew that this was going to start by having good and solid academic foundation in medical school. My academic targets were, therefore, the tiny pixels I needed to create a big picture.

For six years, how did you usually prepare for exams?

Firstly, I set an academic target for the exam. I then meticulously craft an effective exam plan geared towards hitting this target. There is this adage that says, “those who fail to plan, plan to fail.” 

Secondly, I entrusted my preparations to God, seeking His guidance and presence along the way. Additionally, I organised a comprehensive timetable, delineating the topics within each course for focused study.

Thirdly, I diligently collected past exam questions, utilising them as valuable study aids. As a daytime reader, I frequented the library to foster an optimal study environment. 

Moreover, I actively participated in interactive study groups. I must say I was lucky to be part of exceptional study groups 

Which of your classmates put you on your toes?

Honestly, no one really kept me on my toes because I’ve come to understand that my only true competitor is myself. I constantly pressed forward to surpass my past self, setting new records and striving to be better than I was yesterday. I was opportune to be surrounded by brilliant minds in my class and therefore I drew inspiration from them 

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How much of social life did you enjoy on campus?

Although I’m not much of a social person, I tried my best to maintain a balanced life outside the sphere of medical school. Usually, I attended programmes such as school concerts, stage plays, symposiums, workshops, and seminars during my leisure time.

I was part of the female football team, which was a great experience for me, especially the training and competition. I also had amazing teammates.

Additionally, I held a position as PRO of the BUAMS quiz team and volunteered for outreach programmes such as the “World HIV Day Outreach Program” organised by the Babcock University Department of Community Medicine, as well as the Orion 8 graduating class outreach programs.

???Share your success story with aspiring new MD?

My journey towards success began as a young girl with aspirations of becoming a doctor. Starting primary school, I encountered challenges. Initially, I struggled academically, enduring beatings and scolding from my teachers, which instilled fear and fuelled my hatred for school. However, I persevered, placing my trust in God.

Eventually, in my later years of primary school my family relocated and I started my primary education in another school. I excelled, ranking among the top three students in my class.

Transitioning to secondary school demanded significant sacrifices. I devoted most of my time to studying, driven by my determination to succeed. Despite the challenges, my efforts paid off as I won numerous prizes and represented my school in various competitions. 

After secondary school gaining admission to medical school proved arduous. I was offered another course because I couldn’t make the cut-off for Medicine and Surgery. 

However, I re-directed my steps and travelled to Ibadan. I started my A level programme at the Educational Advancement Centre (EAC). While attending A-level classes at an educational centre in Ibadan, I immersed myself in the rigorous curriculum, preparing for both the advanced Cambridge and JUPEB exams alongside JAMB exams.

It was a challenging period, marked by self-doubt, countless hours of studying, and grappling with physical and mental health issues.

Nevertheless, I emerged with commendable results, securing admission into the Benjamin S. Carson School of Medicine  through my JAMB scores. 

However, the journey was far from over. Medical school presented daunting expectations and an extensive syllabus to cover in limited time. Nights were filled with silent tears and prayers as I pushed through mental and emotional strain.

I can remember a significant event that happened in my fifth year of medical school. I got exposed to Obstetrics and Gynaecology for the first time. I remember getting confused at every lecture I attended.

I found it difficult to understand talk less of retaining information. A lot of my course mates talked about how simple it were but I couldn’t do the same. We wrote our first junior mid-posting test and I failed after being a few marks away from passing.

I remember reaching out to one of our consultants. She was able to point out my mistakes. She advised me and gave me tips on how to get better scores moving forward.

I remember studying over and over again and begging God for clarity and understanding. Because that fear of failing was still lingering in my head. And to God be the glory, I did well in my end of junior and senior posting exams.

I was able to get a distinction in the course after the third MB exam. Despite the hardships, I met amazing people whom I formed wonderful friendships with. And pushed through it through hard work and determination as well God’s divine intervention. 

I held onto my dream of graduating as the top student. Little did I know, my aspirations would soon become a reality. I attribute my success to divine guidance and remain deeply grateful for the opportunities that have come my way. I can remember a significant event that happened during my fifth year of medical school

If given the opportunity to advise Mr. President on health issues, what would you tell him?

If I was to pass a message to the President, I’m going to say that there are some many issues that are wrong with the health care system in Nigeria. This requires a multifaceted approach in order to tackle these issues.

First of all, I’m going to say that the Nigerian health care system is really underfunded. As at 2023, 5.75 per cent of the national budget was allocated for health care. And this goes against the Abuja declaration of 2001 that stipulated about the 15 per cent of the budget is required to be allocated to the healthcare system.

I feel like a budget of 5.75 per cent is not fair on country where there is a growing population and there is an increase in demand in healthcare interventions by the citizens.

Secondly, most hospitals especially government owned hospitals are underfunded. Basic amenities like electricity, a good standby generator, water and medical equipment are lacking, even in government owned hospitals and this is not fair.

I’ve been in the theatre of a government hospital whereby power supply kept being interrupted at several intervals during a major operation. And this is not supposed to be happening. 

Also, we need to understand that the economy instability is also affecting the delivery of healthcare in Nigeria. Most drugs that have been sold at affordable prices have now increased in prices, which caused common Nigerians not to afford these drugs.

The price of medical equipment depends of the dollar rate. If this is not well controlled, it would affect the price of healthcare interventions/procedures/surgeries

However, the need for accessibility of healthcare has become a problem in Nigeria. Most people can’t afford to pay certain hospital bills.

I believe more awareness should be created on the Nigerian health insurance Act (NHIA), an insurance scheme designed to ensure accessibility to healthcare services at a cost that the average Nigerian can afford 

How many Awards did you bag at the end of your study?

At the end of my studies, I was awarded distinctions in Anatomy, Biochemistry, Pathology, Pharmacology, Obstetrics, Gynecology, Medicine and Surgery. Additionally, I secured the top spot as the overall best graduating student among the class of 2023. I received the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) Prize for Best Graduating Student in 2023.

Furthermore, I was honoured with the departmental award at the end of my 400 level, Part 2 (MBBS), for excelling in Pathology and Pharmacology. In total, I achieved 11 awards.

Tell us about yourself, and family background.

My name is Dr. Ishola Ibukunoluwa, Victoria. I’m 24 years old. I’m the last child of the family of seven children. I hail from Oyo State.