A Third Year Medical Student Shares His Story Godfrey Natseli
I joined Arlington Junior School in March, 2007, P2 class. I remember the moment with particular clarity, probably because, more than most other students, it was special. It was the beginning of not just a new chapter, but an entirely new story. Surprisingly even at that age, I could relate with such complex emotions, at least for that particular moment.
During the next two years, I was like a sponge, literally absorbing everything that my young enthusiastic mind could come across. Before AAH, I was never really interested in anything, and I was going to school just because I was supposed to. It was like grades only started to mean anything to me only after I had joined AAH. It was more of an awakening, suddenly I realized I could read! I could write! I could finish a school term and not be at the bottom of the class! And so why not? I seized that, became obsessed with it. And yes, within a few months, I was competing to top the class! I developed an obsession for reading, and took on all the reading challenges with vigor. It wasn’t just the need to take up new challenges that inspired me, but the desire to win. To be the best. To be better.
In 2008, P5, I was advised to run for leadership by my class teacher by then. I ran for “English Language” prefect, and won the position. During the same year, with the School Choir, we reached the national levels of Music, Dance and Drama competitions, where I won a national certificate in for best Speech given, and also for best folk song soloist. It wasn’t surprising therefore that the following year, I was appointed the Speaker for the school, and held the position for two years consecutively (till I finished P7). I got opportunities to represent the school on various events, and strengthen my skill in public speech.
After AAH, I decided to join Uganda Martyrs SS Namugongo. The earlier advice had been to join one of the prominent traditional schools, but I chose Namugongo basing on their academic record. It had consistently been the best performing secondary school in the country for the past few years. What I wasn’t prepared for was the change in environment. It being a prominent private school, the socio-economic status was drastically different from the Bududa environment. However, AAH had provided an education that would make us fit in any part of the world, because it had brought the world down to us back home. So I fit in. Before long, I was once again competing to be among the best.
In 2014, S2, I ran for the position of Environment and Sanitation prefect, after I was sure I had studied the environment well. I went through, and I got to share table with amazing minds and ideas. My tasks included ensuring all classes were clean, there was no litter on the compound, and that the lawns were kept green. I quickly gained a reputation for taking my duties seriously, and in next election, I ran for, won the position of Education Minister. I was in charge of all academic affairs including stationery, classrooms, examinations, preps, and lessons for the O-level section. During the same period, I was the Vice Captain for my house, Charles house. We won the interhouse MDD competitions that year, and I played a major role, winning certificates for best actor, best mime and best team player. MDD was my territory. I also joined the school swimming team, but was mostly on reserve. I joined the Wildlife club and writers clubs.
When I went back for A-level in 2017, I was voted in a landslide victory for the A-level Education Minister, basing on my work during O-level. During my time, we say official extension of personal reading time from 11pm to midnight. During the same period, I was captain of my house, and we came second in the interhouse sports competitions. I was also President Writers’ Club, and chairperson Editorial board for the school magazine. I was also an honorary board member of the Wildlife Club. I was also the Chairperson school choir, and with my choir, we had the time of our lives singing our hearts away….
As President of Writers’ I managed to organize a number of interschool conferences, set up an account for the club, and start weekly poetry open nights.
This was an extremely busy period for me, because at the same time I was offering one of the difficult courses, consisting of Physics, chemistry, biology and subsidiary mathematics. Eventually in 2018, S6, after handing over most of the leadership positions, I applied to stay in school for catch up personal study during the holidays as other students went home. When the UNEB examination results came back, I had passed. I was the best in my PCB class! I applied and got a government sponsorship on merit, to do a bachelor of medicine and Bachelor of Surgery at Makerere University, (the best University South of the Sahara and North of the Limpopo, like we usually say). Going to Makerere, and studying Medicine had always been my childhood dream, and I was glad that I had achieved for that little boy his dreams.
Makerere was old, Makerere was gold. To me, it held a history and culture that I was proud to be a part of. And when I joined Mitchell Hall, “The Capital City”, I knew I was home. For the next five years at least.
Mitchell Hall, the great and Mighty, the “gallant rats”, a community I became a part of and was voted deputy Speaker during my first year. The lockdown hampered down almost all leadership activities, but nonetheless, during my second year, I was voted into the Students Guild as the Guild Representative Council for Mitchell Hall. We advocated for, and brokered the full physical re-opening of the University for all students.
I am now in my third of medical school. Medical school is tough. It is very difficult to balance books and anything else, especially if you want to achieve excellent grades. I am considering running for Chairperson Mitchell Hall, and then College president in my final election. My leadership story is still being written.
I do not consider my story or myself to be exceptional. For anyone who had the chance to go through the AAH that I went through, the possibilities are endless. The best word to describe what AAH gives is “holistic”.