I want to tell you a story, and in the next couple of minutes, I would appreciate it if you could lend me your undivided attention. I promise to return it with interest.
A child was born in an urban area in the heart of Lagos State almost 3 decades ago, attended about 5 primary schools, finally obtained the first school leaving certificate, and from there on to just 1 secondary school. Being a very brilliant and apt student, he obtained the necessary 5 O’Level credits in the senior school certificate exams and got an average score in the university and tertiary matriculation exams. He got admitted to study physics because they just had to put him somewhere because he knows somebody who knows somebody. Even though he wanted to study electronics and computer engineering because that is where he excels: mechanization and electronics.
The result? Instead of the standard four years, he spent eight years and still did not graduate. For those wondering how it came about, here it is. Through no fault of the university, he kept failing the mathematical courses repeatedly! had 3 extra years! That’s right! 3 solid extra years before being told that the allowed number of extra years is two. That ended his quest for a B.Sc. in Physics and freed him up to pursue his passion: computers!
By the time he realized he was coming back for an extra year in the second semester of the 300 level, he was determined not to come back. His thoughts were to just bail out and escape. However, he had a coach who sat him down and showed him the big picture: “that LASU was just a minute phase in the story of his life, and he should see it to the end, then move on with his life.” That was exactly what he did!
The good news is that he has known since his 100-level days that he has no future in physics and has thus decided to enroll in another course in information technology on the internet (Note: there were no online universities, open courseware, or MOOCs in 2002; there was He spent all his pocket money on overnight browsing twice a week, learning about website design using HTML, CSS, DHTML, Javascript, and Flash; then graphic design using Photoshop, CorelDraw, and 2D animation using CorelRAVE. Since he had spent all his money to pay for the overnight browsing, there was no money left to print. So, he would write out all he had to say, and in so doing, he was assimilating a whole new world of information that he can still remember to this day!
Do not let this society define you; it will set you up to fail and ruin your life. As a fish, do not wear yourself out trying to fly. There are some species of fish that fly for a few seconds, and if that’s what you want, you can have it. A flash in the pan—that’s the idiom for it. Dolphins and whales do jump out of the water briefly and go back under to continue life as usual. However, if you spend your time swimming, you will have made considerable progress.
I am the one in that story, I was admitted to study physics, but I spent most of my time and money on cybercafes. A decade later, it has paid off.
I will not follow the path of countless others and tell you that’s the end of the story; let’s sing kumbayah, and you’re good to go. It takes guts, moments of doubt, loneliness, and depression; desperation and regrets will overshadow your heart along the way, but if you stick with what you love doing, you will flow right to the top. Don’t deceive yourself and think you will be successful in 6–9 months; it will take as long as it takes if and only if you do not give up. History is laden with those who had phenomenal ideas and nearly implemented them.
The educational system of this society is amoebic at best; at the same time, it is a cookie cutter, churning out hundreds of thousands of job hunters per annum. You need to decide NOW if you want to be one of the 10,000 applicants queuing up to write an aptitude test for a job that has only two slots! If not, it is time to rise above the inhibiting factors that are prevalent all around you and stick with your guns!
Let’s go back to the beginning!
If you have no idea what you want to do with your life, now is the time to find out. You are protected to an extent while you’re within these walls; once you step outside, you are on your own!
I haven’t mentioned careers much thus far because you need to find out who you are first, and then you will know what career path is best suited for you. For those who choose a career path because “there is money there,” soon discover that it is short-lived. Jobs are springing up now that didn’t exist 5 or 10 years ago! Life is too short to spend it chasing money and missing the good things of life.

About the author

Akin Ibitoye

Add comment

By Akin Ibitoye