For our student interview section this month, we’ve had quite a task shortlisting nominees! After the selection process via Google forms were sent to all classes, we have some wonderful people you’ d like to know more about lined up.
Today, we’re glad to bring you this exclusive interview with one of the students who made the top of the list: we bring to you our discourse with Mr. Stephen Nii Ashie Djanie, a member of the Class of 2019. A Self- motivated young man, focused and poised to defy the seemingly great limitations of the medical education, to take up tasks even on the international front. We met up with this jovial young man a few days back.
UGMSA Editorial Board (UEB): Hello Stephen, we’re glad to meet up with you today! To begin, tell us about yourself: Who is Stephen Djanie?
MR. Stephen Djanie (SD): Well, I am a Final year Medical student of the UGSMD, and I’d describe myself as a proactive Christian leader, who seeks to see change wherever a system is defunct. I’m always on the move to make a positive impact and to solve the problem of not solving problems. I am an extrovert and a very jovial person.
And I really love soccer!
UEB: So what motivated you to pursue Medicine? Have you always wanted to be doctor?
SD: First off, Id like to say that there is no doctor in my family, and there came a time when unfortunately I lost a member of my family after a short illness. Looking back, I realized that this loss could have been prevented if there was someone who could have been called upon at that crucial time. I believe that if there was a doctor, it would have made all the difference.
UEB: So would you say your motivation is your family, essentially?
SD: Actually, I’d say that incident was the eye opener, an experience that grounded my desire to pursue medicine. It brought to light that with the presence of a doctor, in any society for that matter, many unfortunate occurrences can be prevented. This motivation over the period has grown not just for those close to me, but to all persons I may have the opportunity to help.
Added on, I chose medicine because of the prestige associated with this noble profession, and well, the money too.
UEB: We know that you’re involved in other activities aside Medical School: what are they? And what is your motivation to keep pursuing and to sustain these interests?
SD: I’ve worked as President of the Federation of Ghana Medical Students’ Association (FGMSA) (2017/2018 administrative year); African Regional Meeting (ARM) Organizing Committee Vice chairperson( the15th ARM in Kumasi, 2018); International Federation of Medical Students’ Association (IFMSA) General Assistant for Africa (2018/2019 administrative year). I am also a current executive of an NGO, ‘Colors Of Hope’, which organizes leadership training Seminars, and other training programs for emerging young leaders in Ghana.
On all these platforms I have had to work, my motivation has been to solve problems I see, and to be the initiator of the change that is needed.
UEB: What extent of exposure have you had, working in all these organizations, and how have you benefited from them?
SD:I have gained a wide range of exposure from meetings with Deans of all the Medical Schools to meetings with the Ministers of health, Director of GHS, Director of IPAS Ghana, WHO country director , as well as UN agencies.
I have attended IFMSA International conferences in Macedonia,Tanzania, Egypt, Exchange programs in Italy( Research) , USA (professional) and the International Women summit in Abuja (Nigeria)
All these exposures have contributed to making me again knowledge into exceptional leadership.
I also feel that interactions with these great leaders gives you the opportunity to pick up a few soft skills which is helpful as upcoming future leaders of the country.
UEB: What are the challenges that you have faced in combining studies and these interests?
SD: Time constraints! Trying hard to do all I have to do non-academically and academically as well. I must admit that my academics have been under pressure with all these added responsibilities. There are also times when I get burnt out from all the running around to get things done. This happens especially when working on IFMSA Projects.
UEB: Wow, so how do you cope?
SD: With these demands in mind, I draw up a schedule that I follow every month. With that, I lay out the tasks ahead of me internally and externally, and I apportion time to each. To illustrate, in March, there will be FGMSA Congress, and around the same time, I will be having a set of exams. Knowing what is ahead, I’ve already started my preparations towards my exams, with set targets in mind. Provided these targets are met, I will be able to attend the Congress, however in the case where I am unable to reach my target, I might have to forego my participation in this year’s congress.
My involvement in Church activities is another coping mechanism for me. It is a great time to rejuvenate and reignite myself to face all that is ahead.
I must also not forget to mention my very supportive friends, who I can turn to whenever I’m burnt out. These are people I can talk to about my challenges, and go out with to de – stress.
UEB: So how has your experience of Medical School been so far?
SD: For me, the Medical School experience has been in many different phases:
The times of excitement and great anticipation for what lies ahead; and those times of “wondering”- why I came, whether it was the right choice, not much to be excited about.
The experience has been tasking, both emotionally and psychologically. However with each phase, managing to overcome the challenges comes with a certain sense of fulfillment and responsibility.
UEB: What is your favorite memory in Medical School?
SD: Lol, is it Momic? *laughs*
Oh yeah, I’d say it was the day I was elected the FGMSA President! It was really a monumental time for me.
UEB: What do you do for fun aside what we know you for?
SD: I love Soccer! (playing and watching) and I don’t miss the Friday After school soccer games at the B Block field.
I also try to go swimming every month. I almost forgot to add that I really love travelling 🙂
UEB: What’s your advice to current and future medical students?
SD: My advice is this: Don’t spend all your time just pursuing academics. Explore your other potentials and interests as an individual. Work to develop your talents, skills and Natural abilities.
Do all you can to get that holistic education needed for the world out there.
UEB: Any final remarks for us?
SD: I’d like to share my mantra as final remarks, a quote by Henry Wordsworth Longfellow:
“The heights which great men reached and kept,
were not attained by a single flight,
But they, while their companions slept,
were toiling upward through the night.”
UEB: Thank you Very much Stephen 🙂
Interview by : Hillary Attah -Sarfo
UGSMD Class of 2020