I studied a 5 year engineering course at the University of Ibadan. But if you add all the ASUU strikes and the prolongation that the pandemic had on my time at the University, you’ll be reaching a sweet 6+ years. Finally glad that’s over. Whew
ASUU strike to University students
In this article, I will be sharing some of the most prominent lessons I’ve learnt over the past few years during my time at the University.
1. Potential is a Dangerous thing to have
In secondary school, I was what you will refer to as a child protegé. I emphasize the secondary school part because I wasn’t like that in primary school. On the contrary, I was playful ehn. Infact, my common entrance exams results were so bad that my aunt who had accompanied me to write the exam made jest of my results when they came out. I cried for days 😭😅
It seemed as though banging Common Entrance was the wakeup call I needed to be serious in life. So in secondary school, I excelled. In short, I more than excelled. I represented my school and won at several competitions than I can remember.
I was so good so much so that on a prize giving day, after I had carted away most of the awards for best in subjects in my class, my mathematics teacher called my mum aside and advised her to travel me out of the country, because he taught I was too good for Nigeria. I had gotten 99/100 in his subject.
So getting into the University Of Ibadan, I had this chip on my shoulder. I was confident in my abilities. Afterall, I had potential.
But it didn’t take long for UI to humble me. After getting ridiculously low results in some tests, I started to realize that Omo, potential ain’t shit if it’s not worked on.
I realized that the moment people start calling you a ‘promising young person’ is the moment you need to intensify your efforts, not relax on your oars
So I started to put in the work from that point onward, and well the rest is history. I was able to get a first-class CGPA in 100 level and was able to replicate that same result throughout my time in school.
The point here really is that it’s not enough to be a promising student and have alot of “potential”, there’s no universe where potential exceeds doing the actual work.
Infact, the moment anyone starts saying you have potential is the moment you should start running for your life.
This is something that prevents most talented students from achieving their true potential. The delusion of Grandiosity. Always learn to see beyond the pomp and wining, and be true to yourself.
2. If you love something, sometimes the best thing you can do is let it go
I walked away from a startup I literally helped build from the ground-up for the past 3 years. And I left for no tangible reason. I just felt like there was a need for me to let go, so I did. I still show support to the platform as much as I can in my own capacity.
And that’s something I’m trying to get better at. Letting things go. There’s this peace that comes with it.
Sometimes, letting things go isn’t a sign of a lack of interest, or lack of commitment. It just shows that you have the maturity and wherewithal to know when to say NO, I DON’T WANT TO DO THIS ANYMORE regardless of what other people might think.
3. Having Many Choices is just as bad as having no choices at all
I was talking to a friend once about career and future ambitions and suddenly he said “You don’t have to worry about stuff like this na. You sabi book, you dey code, you con get startup again. You have alot of choices. You can choose to do whatever you want to do”.
I was taken aback by this statement because to me having many choices of where your life might lead can be as daunting as not having any choices at all.
Even with all the so-called options I have, I’m still having a difficult time trying to choose, trying to decide which path to follow. Because you never really know where each path could lead. Infact, not having a choice seems much simpler because the first step towards remedying that is simply to create a choice for yourself.
So we all have our battles, whether it’s the battle of making a life-changing decision amongst many choices, or the battle of creating our own choice out of none.
4. You’re not so great, and you’re not so bad either
Impostor syndrome is real o, ladies and gentlemen. That feeling that you are a fraud and you’re not as good as people think you are. I feel that way anytime I get a compliment, or receive an award, or get a pat on the back. I always feel like “can’t this person see that I’m not as good as they think I am, and I never have been any good”
But now I’m learning to see beyond this, using impostor syndrome as both the illness and the cure. Let me explain 😅
“What if you’re not good enough to be having Impostor Syndrome”
A friend of mine shared this on WhatsApp once and that got me thinking. Shebi it’s somebody that is very good that should be worrying about Impostor Syndrome, and I don’t think I’m good enough so why should I be worried about Impostor Syndrome? I think I like this new mindset and I’ll keep it.
5. You’re exactly where you should be
I’ve failed, many times. I’ve seen people say that they have lost opportunities that they believe they deserve. The flaw with this type of mindset is “what makes you think you deserve this opportunity?” do you think you’re better than other people who failed to get this opportunity, or you’re better than the people who actually got the opportunity?”
The truth is that nobody really deserves anything. You might be thinking you’re the best candidate for an opportunity because of your many achievements. When you see what other candidates have achieved, you’ll be dumbfounded.
This is because no matter how good you think you are, there’s always someone, somewhere who is better than you in some measure, so why do you think that opportunity you lost is your birthright and you start to lose sleep over it?
Some people go as far as saying they don’t deserve the failures and setbacks they encounter in life, that they are not where they are meant to be, that they deserve better.
But who told you that where you are right now isn’t where you are meant to be?
Did God or a random stranger show you your life’s road-map and tell you: Omo you miss road o, where you are now is not where you are meant to be.
The only thing that can get you from where you are to where you want to be is nothing but Grace, and ofcourse putting in the work. Once you realize this as the truth, then you won’t be afraid of failure anymore.
6. God and good should be the most important thing in your life.
in Islam, when it comes to purpose, it’s a little bit straightforward. In our holy book -the Quran, God clearly states that the reason He created mankind was for no other purpose than to worship Him. As far as purpose goes, this would definitely serve as the foundation for mine.
And though this purpose to worship God sounds simple, there are so many ways to actually achieve this.
For instance, if you are wealthy, you can choose to worship God with your wealth, giving as much as you can to those in need.
And if you’re not wealthy, you can choose to worship God by ensuring you provide for your family, making sure that they don’t lack.
Working hard to be successful and useful to society is a form of worship to God.
Seeking knowledge and making your knowledge beneficial to the people around you is also a form of worship.
I won’t say I’ve figured it out, I’m still trying to find out what specifically my purpose is. But one thing I know is it won’t be far off from any of these. Doing Good and serving God.
These past few years at the University have definitely been a rollercoaster of events and I’m grateful to the friends, colleagues and partners I had throughout the course of the journey. I’m grateful to everyone who believed in me when sometimes, I didn’t have the courage to believe in myself.
This next phase of life is scary. I know because I’ve talked to people, I’ve watched my older siblings go through it too. Nothing can really prepare you for it, so I’ve heard.
But if there’s one thing 6+ years in University has taught me, it’s that problem no dey finish, try dey enjoy small – Do your best and leave the rest to God.