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Wednesday, 4 May 2016


Early school life
My parents, former teachers and classmates have known me as a man of many good attributes. Most will probably tell you about my discipline, punctuality and most importantly my neat handwriting. I always was the student with the neatest handwriting in my class all through primary and secondary school. 

I was a model student when it came to organization of notes. You know that kind of student that would use a different color of ink for headings, trace maps during Geography classes, had margins in all his pages, carries mathematical set to every class­­­! That’s the kind of student I was.

Friends would miss classes and run to me first to copy notes from my book. See, even some of my teachers would borrow my notes.

University life
Many people told me about it but I thought it was just something to boast about like most medics do. Little did I know I would slowly lose one of the most important attributes I acquired in primary school. My ability to write neatly was slowly dying out! By the time I was hit with the reality, it was too late.

My signature hasn’t been spared either. Recently I wanted to withdraw money over the counter; and the transaction was invalidated because I couldn’t sign using the same signature I used to open my bank account. I have since been forced to change my signature to something simpler.

What went wrong?
The Student Directed Learning (SDL) system at Makerere University College of Health Sciences has played a significant role in the unexpected deterioration of my ability to write neatly. All the lecturer has to do is give an overview lecture about the course unit and the student is expected to go read more on their own.

Unlike medicine students who write a lot of clinical notes, we the pharmacy students hardly have much to write about in our clinical years. All the writing we do is limited to checking for medication errors, filling prescription log books, ordering for stocks and proper medicine use. 

There’s a tremendous amount of learning done using electronic media at the university, this is also partly to blame for the death of my hand writing. In an environment where the lecturer (If you’re lucky that he came and lectured) will electronically share the PowerPoint presentations; there is no need to keep hand written notes of the lecture. 

My dead handwriting will even “die further” if I happen to work in a hospital where all communication and record keeping are done electronically. Imagine a system of e-prescription, e-history taking, and e-lab requests etc. Working in industrial setting would resurrect though my handwriting. There is a lot handwritten documentation in pharmaceutical industries. 

At this point I would gladly advocate for the university to do away with handwritten exams. It would save my lecturers from struggling to read my not-so-neat handwritten essays. 

I am open to some form of rehabilitation to resuscitate my handwriting!