What Do You Do When You Disappoint Yourself?

I don’t want to sound overly self righteous by saying I set high goals for myself but let’s just say I do. And I’m sure everyone interested in living good does too. The first time I wrote Jamb. I read like crazy. Crazzzzy. And I was so confident about it. When I got my slip, I said it wasn’t my result. Lol. And I cried for days. My parent were even over it, but not me. I wallowed in self defeat. I had totally disappointed myself in the worst way; school work. I’m one of those annoying people that actually likes school and books. That was my first grand experience of disappointment, but now I’m so grateful I failed that Jamb. In fact, I believe I needed to fail that Jamb. That one year of A levels was the best. I still miss so many things about those days. Even though disappointments can lead to the best experiences, the initial gash of your head against rock bottom hurts like hell but I have great news for you: It can be skipped.

All that crying and hating yourself and sadness can be fast forwarded; you don’t have to go through it. From my first experience of failure till this day I have had a few (thank God) other strong moments of disappointments and self defeat, but I’ve learnt to handle them better. It’s not by accepting that myth of moving on and acting like nothing is wrong. It’s just by making a simple decision.

This: Decide to hope and be happy.

Sounds cheesy, right? I know, except it actually works. There’s this verse in the Bible that I recently discovered, it goes like this

The hope of the righteous will be gladness

[Proverbs 10:28]

There’s something about being hopefully, it births Joy. You can’t say you believe things will get better while you cry. Tears are a sign of despair. My dad once said that sadness is a sign of unbelief. Read that verse again. So dope, but what’s the point of gladness? What do you need joy for when your life just fell apart? The point is that the Joy of the Lord is your strength. See where I am going? What self defeat and preoccupation will do is weigh you down. It will kill your joy and when you’re depressed, you are weak. You need to be strong. You need to be glad. I recommend singing & dancing.

Amanda Cook

Whatever jam you prefer, put it on repeat and dance your ass to stupor man. Praise the Lord your God. Jump up and down. Show the enemy that you are not defeated, you are victorious! I am not saying that this will cure tempting thoughts to blame yourself, but it will give you strength. And with strength, you can get to work and continue living life again. Once you make that decision within yourself, everything else is easy.

Truth is, if you make the decision to be glad, you are honouring God’s word when in said rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice! God didn’t say rejoice when you are happy, God didn’t say rejoice when you are sad. He said rejoice always. God will never ask you to do something he hasn’t already given you the grace to do. And right after that, he says worry about nothing. Francis Chan explains this best in his book Crazy love. See photo below.

Deep, right?
Deciding to rejoice is actually obeying God.

The cure is to be glad.

But let’s talk about the precaution; don’t put your trust in yourself. Yes, set high goals for yourself, but don’t have ultimate faith in yourself to accomplish it. You can’t trust you. You are only human. Trust God instead. He never fails. He is able to graciously turn every situation around for your ultimate good. What’s there not to trust in this God?

One of my favourites quotes of all time is from Amada Cook’s album, Brave New World. It says you have caused my feet to dance upon disappointments. I absolutely love that sentence, it has helped me through many of my tough days and probably it will be an helpful reminder for you too.

When you are disappointed in yourself, take a leap of faith and break into dancing.

Academic Strikes: God’s Gift To The Nigerian Student

What’s the first problem that comes to your mind when you think about Nigerian public higher Education? Strikes, right? It’s quite obvious. It’s the cause of such excruciating delay in the timeline of the success of a typical Nigerian young adult. Because the earlier they finish from school, the earlier they can start thinking a) masters abroad b) job hunting c) not even thinking at all and then marriage and then children and then… But, wait, wait we have people like that in Nigeria; Private University graduates.

People that finish early from school I mean. On an average, if you attend a Private university you’ll finish your first degree by 20/21 and how exactly does it feel to be done with school without an actual plan on how to make money in Nigeria? Because let’s admit it; all through school you were endorsing YOLO (You only live once) as if you thought you’d live twice before Drake said it. Anyway because you were too busy being a teen in a sheltered school, you didn’t really get to think about life after school. So you graduate and you’re like “eep me!”. Yes, I know I am establishing a stereotype, and I know that they are only a few anomalies in a way that even blurs their existence so for the sake of clarity, indulge the stereotype.

The point here is we have graduates with first class honours everywhere that are not employable or even willing to make themselves employable because they don’t know what they want to do with their lives yet. That is almost normal, in simpler terms, they are kids. Kids never know what they want. I’m not even going to talk about the validity of the honours. I am tempted but I won’t.

Let’s talk about a public school student. Not just any school, let’s talk about a Lautech kid. Lautech is known all over the country for outrageous strikes here and there for seemingly no reason at all but luckily they don’t top the list, OAU (Obafemi Awolowo University) is a Lord in The Strike Tales. In Lautech, like in many public schools, there’s a general hustle state everyone has to be baptized in because you are thrown into a congregation of extreme diversity in all ways possible; class, ethnicity, intelligence, which is good, also dangerous but chiefly good because some sense of maturity and introspection is forced into you. Well, it doesn’t work out for everyone that way, for some it’s just heavily distracting, which is bad because instead of a steady process of self discovery they end up losing themselves. Let’s back up, because a student’s viability for the outside world does not start in the University, even though the University is important. It begins when filling a Jamb form.

That was the most tedious time in my life till date; deciding what to do. It’s that way for most people too. If it’s not tedious, then no proper thought is put into it. We have to stop thinking in terms of a) which course can I easily get in for b) what are my friends doing c) whatever they give me. When filling a Jamb form the question you should ask yourself is “how exactly am I going to make money with this in Nigeria and be happy doing it?” Nobody tells you, but you better be thinking like that at SS2. Imagine yourself a fresh graduate of whatever you study, what are you going to do? Masters? Ehn en after nko?

If that is settled to an extent, because plans change and new discoveries are made, the University will be useful to putting together your attractive future. Now the truth is, it takes time to really know what you want to do, sometimes it takes trial and error. It takes practical thinking, basically all the things a seventeen year old does not want to hear about, which is about the age range of a fresher. This is where strikes come in. You might be a little skeptic of this but strikes give you time to brainstorm, equip yourself and grow while your parents are still happy to sponsor you. Believe it or not after your first degree they expect you to start taking care of yourself too, so they can enjoy their money and stuff. Unfortunately we are busy complaining about the delay to take advantage.

I have a friend studying Microbiology in UniBen who is a genius programmer. He designed namsuniben.com, revcraigministries.org/livestream, jerryasih.com and many others, from scratch. He makes money! He hasn’t done any computer training, he is completely self taught and he is authentic. He stays up all night writing programs and, he is not failing his courses. I know he would not mind his school going on strikes, for him life goes on and see all this your shouting that they are wasting your time, how many extra years do you think they can add to your graduating year. At most two, so if you’re suppose to finish at 21, you finish 23. Come here, I have one question for you; Where exactly are you running to? Tell me, Marriage? What will you be eating in the marriage?

I’m going to stop my talk soon, don’t be bored. I’ll end by telling you about another friend of mine. A student of Literature at OAU, yes, OAU. I’m not sure but I think he waited at home for about four years before he got admitted, not because he was not intelligent, but because he was sure about what he wanted and he wasn’t ready to settle for less. He’s in 400 level now and I was asking him a while ago if the intermittent strikes affect him and he said, no, firmly. He said he didn’t even want the last strike to end. He had gotten a job that paid good, he was swallowing literature books whole. He was enjoying himself, equipping himself. And just so you know how good my friend is, he recently won first prize at the Nigerian Student Poetry Prize, contending with over 350 entries. I think that’s a milestone and let me add that all three winners were from public higher institutions. I am privileged to know his CGPA, he is presently a second class upper student. Imagine that, in his department, in the terrifying OAU where they supposedly fail students intentionally. Boom. There you have it. A good example.

If you are in a private school, you don’t have strikes (yay!), that only leaves you with less time to figure yourself out. For your own good, start thinking outside the box, right this minute.

If you are in a public school, thank God for the opportunity and take proper advantage.