Ever heard about a gap year? I think I’ve heard the term before, but I only just learned more about it recently.
Turns out I took (and am still taking) a gap year. And in this week’s post, I share my experience.
The other day, I saw a post by Eniola Osabiya about how the gap year he took after secondary school helped him improve personally and career-wise. And then I asked myself, “Did I take a gap year?”
Well, all things being fair: no, I didn’t – not by intention.
After I saw that post, I searched up the meaning of a gap year. It means: taking a year off, typically between high school graduation and college.
I didn’t intentionally take a gap year, so how did it then come about?
Let me explain a little:
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) went on a 8-month strike beginning from February 2022 to October 2022, putting a majority of the state and federal universties in Nigeira on hold – and causing the academic careers of us innocent students to be truncated. 😭
Although ASUU had a good reason to go on the strike, one of which was non-payment of lecturers’ salaries by the government, the strike still had a HUGE effect on us Nigerian students.
Things going the way they were supposed to, by now, I’m supposed to at least be preparing to enter 200 level (my second year in uni), thereabout. But today, I’m barely at 100 level. 🤦🏾♀️
At first, the whole thing got me frustrated, especially when towards the ending of last year, I heard news that my uni would merge sets, meaning that by January this year, my set was supposed to have started school.
And then it was pushed it to March, and then July, and now August. 🥲💔
But good news: I got over my frustration and choose to see this time I had at home as an opportunity to learn skills, improve on the ones I already knew (and REST, too 😅🙈).
One of the first things I did after my realisation was to take part in the November 2022 Writing Creativity Challenge, hosted by the Creative Writers and Influencers Network (CWIN).
I didn’t make it out tops, but it was an experience.
From there, I began to reach out to and make connections with writers, people in tech, and generally, impactful people. I began to network and grow (and am still doing so).
This might pinch some people, but the moral of this story is that while most of my mates are spending this 1 year+ we have at home doing things that dullen their minds, I chose to work and learn and network and grow – even before I knew I was unconsciously taking a gap year.
It’s not late, though. From what I hear, by August (all things working out okay) all students in our currently pending set should have started school.
So, to Nigerian undergraduates in this pending set reading this, and to anyone at all who’s taking a gap year or something similar, don’t waste what’s left of this year you – we – have at home. Get a job, volunteer at an organization, learn skills, reach out to people who can be beneficial to you (career-wise, especially), and generally do things that’ll keep your mind active and learning.
Let’s not waste this gap year.
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So, I’ve found that recently, It’s been really hard to write on my blog. In other words, I’ve been finding it hard to write blog posts. I think one of the major reasons is that I’ve been trying so hard to sound…
What’s the word?
Like an authority? I guess that’s it.
You know, since I took part in the CWIN Writing Creativity Challenge and got to meet a lot of other writers and really amazing, inspiring people, I realized that they were all ‘intentional’. And it was this word, ‘intentionality’, that pushed me into writing in a boring way, and that made me lose faith in those ideas that came to me naturally when I thought about writing. I’d always wanted to ‘give value’ and sound… ‘like I 100% knew about whatever topic I wrote on’.
And so, I changed – or at least began to change my writing style.
But the good thing about this phase is that I became a lot more active on social media, Facebook to be precise. And even though I wasn’t posting content on Ọlaedo, the blog’s Facebook page was (and is) frequently being updated and promoted.
But I believe I’m back to normal. After listening to a masterclass by Okoye Ijeoma Dicta, founder of CWIN Africa, for us members of her Inner Circle Program, the point she raised from a question I asked her, about ‘writing from daily experiences, not in a stiff way’ made me realise how much I’ve been trying to write in ‘one particular’, ‘stiff’ way.
So, in this period, a lot of things have changed about me, I daresay:
My writing style.🌺
It’s not a good thing, really, because in my case, my writing style is what makes me stand out, I daresay. I HATE boring articles without a few jokes or everyday lingo here and there. And in recent times, whenever I open a Word document to start a post, that’s exactly how I write.
The thing is just that I was trying to sound like an authority, and at the same time write about ‘intentional’ topics: topics that matter to people working to live purposefully. But I didn’t know that I was just being plain boring.
My fluency in typing with a PC.😩
Yes. Very, very, very, very, very sad to note.
Y’know, since I got my Android phone, I’ve been spending a lot more time on it, with researching, social media, etc. And although I still do not like typing/writing with a phone, I find that that’s the option I go for, because of its ease of access; my phone is always nearby.
And so, when I make out time to use my PC to write, I find myself just typing, hoping on autocorrect to fix my typos as I go!😂
It’s frustrating when I then remember that I’m on my PC, so no autocorrect. And I have to start correcting myself manually, because I don’t really use the Microsoft Word Spelling & Grammar feature!😬
And even when I code, typing regular text (strings) and even some syntax of the programming language has become a little less easy.😭
But using a PC to type, and using a PC in general will always be better for me. I always miss the Microsoft Word Thesaurus and synonyms/antonyms feature, because my phone’s notepad app doesn’t have something like that!
My blogging consistency.😥
Of course, this can be linked with my change in writing style and the feeling of my words no longer feeling ‘okay-enough’, but it’s also about the WordPress community.
About 99.5% of my blog traffic comes from social media, through the referrals I make to the blog. But from WordPress, I have little or no views.
I know that maybe it’s because I’ve been away for quite some time, but even when I try to reach out to my blogger friends, most of them just answer plainly.
And that aside, I don’t know if it’s just me, but the WordPress community is getting colder and colder. All the people who used to show up with tags and fun updates are either less frequent, or have taken long breaks away from this space.
The inconsistency is – was – there for some reasons, but I have faith that I’m back now. Back to my weekly posting schedule.😁
The part of my professional life I’m more focused on.🚀
Although I might have mildly been hinting it on this space, I’m an aspiring software engineer by profession. And ever since November last year, I’ve been taking some big-little steps towards networking with the right kind of people, and making some projects of my own. I even wrote an article about my tech journey for the Hashnode Dev Retro 2022 campaign here.
I’m also taking part in the 2023 Technovation Girls Challenge, as one of my big-little steps. I have a team, and we’re working hard.
Wish me luck!
So, expect to see posts from my tech journey, either in my monthly wrap-ups, or as individual posts.👩🏾💻
I believe that the beauty of Ọlaedo is in its teen voice. The fact that I talk about the lessons I learn from the different aspects of my life as a teen – and almost-adult – are the beauty of this blog, and any lifestyle blog, for that matter.
So, I, Vanessa, am all-rounder. I write, I code, and in recent times, make digital designs as well. It feels good to have it figured out now, because now I’ve acknowledged it, I can focus on what aspects of my professional life I want to make most important and spend the most time on. It’s a therapeutic feeling, really.😌
Look out for more of what has been, and more of things to come. I’m introducing a monthly spotlight where I’ll be doing collabs with peeps in different fields on not-so-boring topics.
Stay tuned. 🤗📺
Ọlaedo is on Facebook, feel free to surf on there and give the blog a follow for more updates. And if you’d like to reach out to me to be a part of this monthly spotlight, you can indicate in the comments, so the line-up can begin. In January, I spotlighted Happiness Uduak. We both took part in a collab post on a really interesting topic.
There isn’t much to say in the way of an introduction to this post, because the tittle is self-explanatory.
There is a thing with the move to adulthood. There is a hidden flaw in growing up. Okay, not a hidden flaw, but we all must admit that on getting to the point of crossing the line of childhood into adulthood, we realise that… IT SOOOO WASN’T WHAT WE IMAGINED IT WOULD BE!
I don’t know about you, though; this is my personal finding.
From the time I was little, I used to say: I hate being a child. I wish I was an adult so I could go out whenever I want and be free.
I remember saying this to my aunties once upon a time. And one of them told me: There are other things attached to being an adult. It’s not just about going out and being free – free, even, to what extent? Being a child is much better than being an adult, so enjoy this time while you have it. Years later, I’m thinking back to her statement and realizing how true it was.
The commitments and stress and hard choices that come with growing up make us realise that we had it way better when we were kids or in our early teens.
I remember, back when I was about seven or so, being obsessed with bras. 😂😂🙈 Whenever my mum or any of my aunties removed their bras and left the room, I would sneak in and wear them. One day, I was caught. But my aunty wasn’t angry at me, she even thought it was funny seeing the oversized bra clasped around my small body. She told me something: You’re eager to wear bra when you don’t even have breasts yet. When you then get breasts what will happen? Don’t rush to wear bras, because a time will come when you’ll even be tired of wearing them.
My inexperienced little mind was flabbergasted at the statement. How could someone ever be tired of wearing a bra?! So I replied her: I’m never going to be tired of wearing bras.
She just told me: Watch and see. One day, you’ll say it with your own mouth that you’re tired of them.
Once again, years later, I really am tired of wearing bras. In fact, I made this same statement just some days ago!
As children and as early teenagers, we want to grow up so quickly. But when we finally get to that border, we begin to appreciate how good we had it back when we were younger.😥
And we can’t reverse it. Once we’re there, we’re there. There’s this pic a friend of mine posted on her WhatsApp status:
Yeah. Sometimes, broken pencils and unfilled homework are far better than the things we experience as we mature. But it’s fine. We always move. Regardless. 💪🏿💪🏿💪🏿
There a handful of cons attached to growing into an adult, there are a lot more responsibilities and stress. But here’s what I’ve got to tell you:
1.Change your viewpoint.
When going through a difficulty, or when you seem stuck in a frustrating situation, it’s completely normal to complain and feel… well, frustrated – and angry, too. But the best way to overcome uncomfortable circumstances is to change your viewpoint. There’s a saying that often comes to mind whenever I’m in sticky situations – I heard it on the radio back in 2017 or so:
You need to stop and look at things from another angle. Since you’re on the receiving end of the difficulty, why don’t you try stopping and observing the whole thing from an outsider’s point of view?
Doing this really helps, especially when you are in an argument with someone, or find yourself behaving differently to someone as a way of revenge. That kind of attitude weighs you down and makes you unhappy – I know what I’m saying. The unhappiness thus leads to your difficulty and frustration.
Stop and ask questions like you are an outsider: what caused the misunderstanding? What is the story on both sides? Is acting this way really the best? What if I tried handling it this way? And the rest of them.
Remember, in times of difficulty, not just when you have a misunderstanding with someone, always look at things from a new angle. I’m not guaranteeing you that the trouble will end, but it will help you bear it a lot happier.
2.There are always two sides of the story.
A sequel to the previous point. Don’t judge just by what you think you know, or just based on what you feel. Ask, think, and find out the other side of things before concluding or taking actions.
3.Don’t give discouragement way.
Don’t give way to negative vibes. Yes, life’s unfair, and no one is ever really sure of how things’ll turn out. But that doesn’t mean you should sink into pessimism, or listen to those who already have.
Life’s so unfair. Things only go well for a few people in the world, while the rest suffer.
Why bother trying again when all I do is fail?
The divide between the rich and the poor is so wide now. We poor and middle-class people will never have a chance at a comfortable life.
These are pessimistic statements, which should not be listened to, unless if you want to remain stagnant in life.
As you grow and mature, remove from your life all the people who constantly greet you with negative statements and opinions – whether friends or family. The more you do this, the happier you’ll be.
4. In whatever you do, be consistent.
Anything worth doing is worth doing well.
Be consistent in prayer, be consistent in your academics, be consistent in your good side-hustles, be consistent in everything.
5.You’re amazing. Just the way you are.
There’s more than one side to this:
You’re amazing. There are people you might come across in life that don’t just get you. They’ll never be able to understand the kind of person you are. If you are close to that kind of person, their opinions and statements about you and the way you are may begin to bring you down. Don’t let them.
Live your life. Whoever likes you will like you without reserves. You may think that you’re an oddball, or that no one’s ever going to truly like you. Wrong. You just haven’t met them yet. Life is long if you let it. You’re only just beginning.
And, yes, there are the bad aspects of us. It’s okay to be open to people who caution us about them and give us advice. But maturity comes with having sense, as I would say. So, you should have sense enough to detect when the advice becomes extreme and begins to turn into negativity. We shouldn’t be blind to the bad parts of us, and should try to be better people. But we should be sensible enough to spot bad vibes and zoom.
Your style is your style. Dress as you feel. Dress to your comfort. Yeah, sure, decency is a factor we must always respect, but dressing in a way that makes you feel comfortable and confident is most important, especially at this stage of our lives.
My fashion style is cutesy-comfort with a little extra (of course, it may change as the years go by): oversized sweaters and T-shirts, short, flair skirts (pleated skirts, preferably), sneakers, high flip-flops on a regular day, jean shorts, trousers – shorts are my most comfortable regular-outing wear – some body-hugging tops here and there… It’s plenty. 😂
But generally, my style is cutesy-comfort… with a little extra. 😁
So, yeah. There’s a thing with growing up. The mirage thing. It’s not what it appears to be once you get there. But it’s okay. We’ll get through.
But even after all the serious-serious, philosophical talk, let me also say that: you should enjoy your adulthood!!!
Being an adult only comes once, and after that, marriage and a whole container full of family responsibilities. And from what I know, everything just goes downhill from there. 😔
Let’s keep the conversation going. For young people just stepping into adulthood, is my point of view about it the same as yours? And if you’re already an adult, is there any advice you can leave for us young adults, or anything you’d like to say in general?
Don’t hesitate to reach out. I’ll be waiting. ⏳
Nostalgic about the good old days, 😥
P.S. There’s this song I’d really love young people, and even adults, to listen to, if you haven’t already. It’s tittled Adulthood by a Nigerian singer, Alade. It’s in line with the theme of this post, and is one of the things that inspired me write this. I first heard it when I was in boarding school. You can watch it on YouTube, or listen to it on your fave music streaming site. 💖
I’ve actually wanted to write something like this for some time – since 2020, actually – but it was only an engagement at my workplace that made me sit down and turn my thoughts into writing.
I personally love topics bordering on ‘talents’. I always have, since the time I knew what talents were, because I love showcasing or telling people about my talents.😁 And so, in this post, I’ll be writing on four key things I’ve come to realise about talents.
Will I say etymologically? 🤔 Originally, rather, the content of this post was beefed up from the Bible passage popularly known as The Parable of the Talents – which can be found in Mathew 25: 14-30 🤓. So, references will be made to the Bible story.
I really don’t need to begin defining what talents are, but for formality’s sake, a talent is a natural ability to do something well.
And so, here’s what I have to say on talents:
1.Everyone has a talent. 🌸
Everyone was born with a talent. It’s like, a constant feature in the manufacturing of humans. Some people have just one talent, some have one outstanding talent and a few other recessive talents, and some have a multiple outstanding talents. Whichever way the combination comes, know that YOU ARE TALENTED. So don’t feel like there’s no natural ability you can offer the world.
2.No talent is too small. 🤏🏿
Taking from the Bible story, the servant given one talent must have felt like he had been cheated, being given one talent, while the others were given two and five talents. And so, he decided to bury his talent, saying that he would give his master his talent just as he had given it to him – no improvement attached.
But what he didn’t know was that his one talent was given to him according to his ability. The master shared the talents according to his servants’ abilities. And that is the same with us.
The fact that we were given one talent shouldn’t make us begin to compare it with a person who has multiple talents. A talent is a talent – big or small. The one we get is ours and ours alone.
3. Your talents won’t showcase themselves. 😏
You’ve found out your talents. Check.
You’ve realised that no talent is too small. Double check.
And now, you have to WORK ON YOUR TALENTS.
If you can sing, what are you doing with it? If you can draw, how are you showing what you can do? If you can write, hellllooooooo, where are you on the map? You have talents? Awesome! Now get to work. 😶
There activities you can engage in to bring yourself out, and as well grow your talents. I remember when I first started writing, back in Year 4 (grade/primary 4 for most schools in Nigeria). Fast forward to today, I’m still writing (not for money, though) but my writing is far better than it was back then. Why? Because I keep at it, writing constantly every chance I get. From writing numerous pages of fiction stories to writing ‘foolscap-fulls’ of essays to writing poetry on the sidelines to blogging, writing has carried me throughout the years to this day. I have other talents, but writing is a talent I pride myself on and work on more than all my other talents.
And that should be the same story for you. Whether it’s dancing, baking, crafts, music, or even organizing (yes, people are natural dead-serious organizers and planners! That’s a profitable skill nowadays) you’re naturally good at, you have to find out things to do that will keep you using your abilities so you can keep growing them to your own benefit. 😊
4.You are accountable for your talents. 🧐
This a little part of the preceding point. Our talents were given to us even before birth for our own use and benefit. Someone gave them to us, and He expects us to use them well. The feeling of inferiority in the face of others, or even the feeling of being over-burdened with ‘reality’ and all our ‘more pressing commitments’ can make us think that activities that grow our talents are unimportant. Well they’re not. Talents are important. Talents are tools that can be used to solve your life’s problems if only you change your viewpoint.
Your talents are not unimportant. Yes, there are urgent needs, but there are also essential needs. Make time to grow your talents. It will make you more fulfilled as a person and boost your self-confidence. And don’t forget to be consistent with it.
I’d love to hear from you! Have you discovered your talent/s? What are you doing to grow them? Is blogging one of your talent-nurturing activities? Are You pursuing a career related to your talents? Lemme know in the comments section. Let’s discuss.
Today’s post is taking a little dark turn – depending on how you wish to look it. I simply tittled it wriggling out just because.
It’s recently been hovering around my mind how many people and teens today have fallen into porn addiction, masturbation, and other kinds of such habits. Porn addiction is a destructive habit that makes you lose focus and causes you to misplace your life’s priorities . Masturbation and other forms of outside-the-box sexual acts are simply just physical displays of a life of porn addictions, which all have consequences that could destabilize your life.
It’s always been my motive to inform, inspire and motivate using my blog. So here I have some things one can do to help, for a person who’s addicted to porn and it’s likes.
1.Clear your mind.
Sit down and think about your situation. As long as you’ve consciously accepted to let go of it, you need to sit down and have a little kind of penitence or remorse; give yourself a little scolding or self-punishment. That’ll help your brain realize that you’ve been doing something wrong, and clear up space for change to begin.
2.Fill up your mind with other things.
Of course, porn occupied a space in your mind. And if you were addicted, it would also be etched as part of your daily routine. And when you begin to try to desist from it, there will be a vacuum – in your mind and in the sequence of your actions. You’ll become kind of uneasy and seemingly jobless. And if you don’t find things to replace that space with, your mind and body will just go back to doing what they’re already accustomed to, and you’ll be getting back into bad habits.
And so, you have to fill in the space. As you clear your mind, remind yourself of things like your dream career and why you want to pursue it, remind yourself of the most important people in your life and why you need to stop the bad habits so you can be the best version of yourself for them, think up positive activities you can engage in around your area that’ll keep you busy. Essentially, just make sure you’re always occupied, and that you have a force pulling you away from porn.
3.Erase all the data.
This is very important, because in the stages where you just started letting go of porn, it’ll still be very easy to fall back. And because of this, you must get rid of everything that could possibly remind you of your bad habits: pictures, videos, audios, objects, everything. You have to do this, because even the smallest glimpse of such things can get you back to thinking those thoughts and doing those things you don’t want to do.
And even as you do this, you should also try to purge your mind of all pornographic memories, and also build up the willpower to fight back those kind of thoughts as often as they’ll pop up in those times.
4. Constantly ask for strength and help.
It’s a hard tussle; there WILL always be times you’ll be tempted: just for a minute, your mind would tell you, and many times, you will give in, only to hate yourself for it afterwards.
At a point, you might even begin to ask yourself where the sense is in constantly trying again, when you always give in to the bad habits at the end of the day. You might even sink into despair, telling yourself you’ll never be able to let it go. And then you might be all: what’s the use of it all? and want to quit
It’s in times like these that you need to ask for help from the Greater Power. You may not be religious or anything. Okay. But you should still try and ask for help with your struggle. I assure you, there’s Someone who’s always listening to our requests and prayers – especially the requests of those who’ve made lots of mistakes. He’ll listen to you, guide you as you progress, and lift you up when you fall.
Know you’ll never be in it alone. And remember that:
no matter how many times you try again and fail, you’ll always be a better person than you were when you hadn’t begun to change, as long as you keep trying.
Your progress may be small, but it’s still something.
Letting go of porn addiction, masturbation and other dirty habits is truly a hard thing to. But by reading this article, it’s been brought to your consciousness the things you can do to let go of it if you’re into such.
Know that it’s your willpower that will help you most through it all. It will be that thing that will force you to get up when you’d rather stay down. You need to work on building it up of you really want to wriggle out of porn addiction.
I’m done with my WAEC exams and am back from my 1-month+ boarding school experience! I’ve actually been back since 23rd July, but was only able to get this post out now.
I’ll be going back by Saturday (16th) to get ready for my first NECO examination paper coming up on Monday (Physics practical). Wish me luck!
Having just had my first-ever taste of boarding school, I can now relate with the things those of my friends who are boarders tell me about what they face in school.
Even though not all Nigerian boarding school experiences are the same, because there are fancy, top-rate boarding schools in Nigeria where their owners try to simulate school life in foreign countries, I still believe that boarding school life will always be boarding school life – the struggle of boarders is a unified one. 😂
And so, here’s what you should know about the average Nigerian boarding school, and what boarders face.
JUST A NOTE: The headings are general boarding school encounters, but the narrations in normal text are unique to my experience.
Okay, first of all, the bad experiences:
Little food. I can only imagine our faces when we were served our first ever helping of refectory food. It was barely even up to two normal-sized dishing spoons. We did complain, the management acted like they cared, and then ignored us after that. So, we survived mainly on our provisions: biscuits, beverages, bread, cereal, etc. and on our pocket money.
Waking up early. 😬 The hostel door is opened by 5:03am, and by that time, we’re supposed to start getting ready for the day, beginning with our morning devotion/prayer. For the junior day students, that’s their routine, but for us SS3 arrivals, we can wiggle out of it and sleep till 6am at least. Hehehe
Bathing cold water – all the time!🥶 The only exception to this is if you’re sick and the matron is sure of it, and also on some very cold, rainy mornings. After the morning devotions by 5:30am, the junior boarders go on to bathe cold water by 5:30 in the morning!. Well, that;s for them, we bathe our own share of cold water after six am.
Sunday service and night vigils. 🥱 The Sunday service is okay, and the last-Friday-of-the-month vigil nights are lively, but they really made me miss my parish. 🥺
Manual labour. This activity is supposed to be for every boarder, every Monday morning (because Monday has been declared sit-at-home a day in South-Eastern Nigeria), but SS3’s again have the least share of this for seniority reasons and whatnot.
Night prep. The almighty night prep. Everyone hates night prep. It lasted from 7pm till 9:30pm. Although there are some serious-serious quiet-quiet students who probably like it, everyone generally hates night prep. And we SS3’s thought that the prep regulations would be less on us since we were the eldest, but they were in some ways even stricter on us. It was only after our exams that we were allowed to sleep during prep – and that was only for us science and some commercial art students who were done with their exams, the rest SS3’s had to read and summarize at the end of every night prep session!🤣🤣🤣
The supposed presence of spirits. I really don’t know how true this one is, but one night one of my classmates woke up to use the toilet and said she saw a spirit; it was shining with a very bright light and was making a strange sound, according to her. She started crying and woke us all up. We all started crying, thinking that we’d come to a haunted school, and then someone suggested we pray. We prayed and sang so loudly, we woke up the matron and teacher in charge of male boarders. They told us to go back to sleep, that it was nothing. We finally did after hours of sharing stories about spirits and demons that haunt boarding schools.
Before I came to boarding school, I used to hear stories of such things. My boarder friends say they’re true, that they’ve seen some themselves. Even though the stories differ from school-to-school, they remain ultimately true. 👻👻👻
The lack of water.There were so many times we had to manage water to wash our hands after eating garri (granulated cassava) and soup, manage water to wash our plates and clothes, manage water to bath or go to the toilet. There were even some really horrible days where we had to stay hours without taking our morning baths. We could manage without bathing in the evenings, we could just change into our nightwear – for those that didn’t sweat too much during the day.
I remember, on one of those mornings when there was no water, sharing half a bucket of water with my classmate just so we could bathe and get ready for our exams that morning.
But on extremely bad cases, when no one had even a drop of water, we had to go out and fetch water at the house of one of the students of the school. Which was highly embarrassing – walking on the road with buckets and kegs. Luckily for us arrivals, we didn’t know anyone in that vicinity. 🤭
But one day stood out from the rest: the day we left. There was no water in the house of student we normally go to, so one of the SS1 boys had the bright idea that we go to the community stream to fetch water. Well, we were homesick, tired of prep and tired of the little food we were being fed. We’d decided to leave by 12 noon that day, and not even the distance of the stream was going to stop us. The walk was longer than we thought, but many of us got to see a real stream for the first time – or at least the stream’s shortcut; we would’ve gone to the main stream if the road to it wasn’t so steep and slippery. We wondered how it would have been, because the road to the stream’s shortcut was already dangerously hilly, steep and narrow. But all that was nothing compared to how sore our hands were from carrying our buckets and kegs full of water all the way back to school!
And I can’t believe I’m going back for a part 2 of all this for my NECO exams! 😣😩😬
But then, there are some good sides to being in boarding school…
Away from home. Away from the chores, the being yelled at, and the general stress of home.
The feeling of independence. Because in school everyone takes care of their own things, acts individually in most cases, and is seen as a single person, there’s that sense of independence. In the mornings, you have to make your bed, you have to clean – and try to keep clean – your corner, you have to get up early on Saturday morning and do your own washing – although some girls with huge piles of clothes wash together: one washes and the other rinses and spreads – you have to fold your clothes into your suitcase when they’re dry – I love this part best: folding my clothes and tidying up. 😊
For me, it all gives me a kind of foretaste of living on my own or with a roommate when I get into university. And even though I haven’t yet tasted it with the chores of living alone added, I really like this kind of life.
Big-girl spending. 🤑 This is just my personal term for it, it’s not a general name. Driven by the epic hunger we experience, we spend our pocket money on food and snacks. Even though the things we buy are the things we’ve probably eaten at home, that freedom to buy whatever and whenever we want is what’s enjoyable. On school days, when local food vendors come around, we buy food like abacha (African salad) or moi-moi (beans pudding). Day students sometimes help us go outside the school to buy pepper soup or peppered fried fish. 😋
Hostel quarrels.😂 Y’know, it’s really amusing to watch people argue about virtually nothing: who’s being stingy to whom, who scattered someone’s bed, who messed up someone’s corner, and things like that. Of course, I’ve gotten into my share of these, but I still love to add fire to others’ quarrels in a good-natured way that reduces the tension when (and if) they get the joke.
While on the bus, on the day we went back home, we really laughed about those silly fights of ours.
Being a senior. The whole thing is just about the feeling of seniority. The ‘power’ to send juniors on errands and have them scurry away at doing them, and the respect gotten from our immediate juniors (the SS2 students). Unlike the boys who derive optimum joy from this privilege, we girls don’t have the heart to be tyrannical to our juniors, and sometimes see the boys’ behaviour as overly-harsh. 🤷🏿♀️
I know that each Nigerian boarder, average and top-rate alike – and maybe even boarders abroad – can relate with these experiences. If there’s any experience unique to your boarding school that I didn’t capture here, I’d love to hear it. Comment on it below, and let’s talk.
For boarders who live abroad, what do you think? Is it the same in boarding schools over there? Leave a comment on it, and let’s learn from each other.
And even if you’re a day student, Nigerian or not, I’d love to hear what you think of the unified struggle of the average Nigerian boarder!
This post is inspired by a personal, present experience of mine, and that’s why I said: “I’ve been there too, hun.”
There was a time I was overwhelmed, engulfed with intimidation. It happened that I began to care so much about what people thought of me that I was unable to focus on making my own decisions concerning the things I wanted in my life that would make me happy.
In the society live in, there are stereotypes about certain things. Stereotypes about boy-girl relationships, stereotypes about the things teens should and should not do, stereotypes about a lot of things, actually. And many of these stereotypes are – I daresay – old fashioned.
Nowadays, flexibility has been introduced into the framework of society. Gone are the days when there was only ‘one way of doing things: the right way.’ But in my society, modernity, flexibility and change are considered ‘bad’ by a majority.
So, the entire feelings of intimidation and inferiority came up when I just started dating. At that time, I had just been elected as the Senior Prefect of my school, ‘cause I was all-round star student + goody-two-shoes. 😊 So, everyone was surprised when rumors began going around that I had a boyfriend. 🤯
I don’t know what it’s like in other countries or societies, but in the average Nigerian society, a teenage girl who has a boyfriend automatically becomes (or is automatically tagged as) a bad girl.
I won’t lie, this is true 90% of the time. This is true because a majority of the boys who date teen girls in my society only want to corrupt them, use them and then dump them. 😭 And I believe it is because of this reason that teenage girls are advised not to date, because adults know that 99% – or, okay – 95% of teenage or young-adult boys cannot commit to a relationship.
So, back to the point: It was because of the general belief about teenage relationships that I had begun to be tagged as ‘one of them’, ‘a bad girl’.
And all the tagging got to me. It made me feel inferior and made it easy for me to be intimidated by the small successes of my peers in comparison to my own.
But what they – and even I – didn’t understand back then was that my case was different. My relationship was – is – different. I only began to realise that when the negative feelings were at their peak. My grades were dropping, and a lot in my life was going the wrong way. My boyfriend noticed this and talked to me about it. He actually talked to me a lot about it, but one conversation of ours really stood out to me. He told me to do whatever would make me happy, whatever I knew wouldn’t put pressure on me, whatever I knew would be good for me; whatever I decide, he would be fine.
It took me an entire half term (or more) and series of mental, emotional and academic breakdowns for me to come to the conclusion that I wanted my boyfriend in my life, that he was – and is still – beneficial to me… and makes me really happy. 🥰 I told myself that I don’t care about what people think of me, because people always talk; and many times, the things they talk about, the things they say are wrong end up being right in the end.
In fact, I wrote an entire Facebook post inspired by that experience. Here’s a cropped pic of the most important parts:
But that’s not the point.
The point – the point in this whole narration of mine – is that you should not care about what is going on around you, what people think of you, when deciding on the things that you believe are important in your life. People will always talk, it’s their job to do that, hun. All you have to do is to filter out the positive, and eschew the negative. (small digression: This is actually what I think if when I hear the word ‘eschew’: 🤧)
Be confident in what you are doing, the path you are pursuing, as long as it makes you happy and IT IS GOOD. Because the truth of the matter is, as I said in my Facebook post, if you keep trying to please everyone, you will end up living your life for them, which is kind of like not living any life at all. The most important thing is to do whatever will make you happy that you believe is right, no matter what others say, and you’ll be fine.
But another thing to note is that you shouldn’t try to change what is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ just to suit your own lifestyle, actions or choices. That’s why it’s important to sit down and ask yourself what you believe is ‘right’ and ‘wrong’, so that you can make decisions with assurance and certainty.
And that’s that.
Just a note to teens in relationships:
in my view, it’s not wrong to date as a teenager, just be sure you and your bf or gf are serious about the relationship and can see a future together.
Also make sure that you as a person are able to balance the different aspects of your life. A relationship can take up a lot of one’s mind – I speak from experience. But you should be able to allocate time for your relationship matters, as well as for other parts of your life, so you won’t get weighed-down, distracted and imbalanced. (As I once was).
*And a way to be sure you’re with the right person is to see how he or she responds when you tell them that, for example, you may be able to make it to a date or to meet up because you have to study or have some other engagement. A sensible person won’t pressure you to forfeit the other thing you have to do, because they’d know the importance of balance and priorities. But don’t overdo things. A relationship requires time and considerable effort to survive, and you must put in these factors.
I’m also against pre-marital or (at least) pre-mature sex. Don’t have sex as a teen; at least wait till you both are adults, when if pregnancy mistakenly occurs, you both will be mature and stable enough to handle it together.
So, hun, reader, don’t be intimidated by the words or actions of people. It must not always be concerning moral matters; it could also concern academics or in your workplace. Don’t be intimidated when someone is always termed as a ‘serious student’ or a ‘star student’ at the expense of others, don’t let it make you feel inferior. Don’t feel intimidated when someone supposedly does things better than everyone else; people are different, and as a result are made for different purposes. Find your thing and be the best at it.
That’s V’s take on inferiority and intimidation. Let’s keep the conversation going. Have you ever felt intimidated or inferior? How did you overcome those feelings? Did this post help boost your confidence? I really do want to hear from you, so drop me a comment below.👇🏿
It’s been a while since I last wrote in the Teen Talk category of Ọlaedo – the meat and bones of this blog. So here’s something I’ve put together for today:
In today’s post, I stress the importance of asking ourselves, as tweens, teens and even adults, the hard questions.
I believe that everyone frequently comes to that point in their life when they ask themselves: What am I even doing? What am I living for? What gets me up from bed every morning? How am I living my life every day in respect to what I hope to achieve in life?
… and a score of other related questions. Towards the ending of last year, I resolved to make a new list of my priorities from time to time, so as to keep them up-to-date with the changes in my life.
But let me not give away the gist of this post just yet.
It’s important to ask ourselves the hard questions, but it’s even more important to answer them honestly and transparently. I may not be able to think up all the questions we need to ask ourselves, because people and their lives are different. But here are some questions we should ask ourselves from time-to-time:
What do I want to achieve in life?
It’s the same as asking: What do I want out of my life? Everyone has a sum-total dream or goal for their life.
Correction: Everyone should have a laid down purpose for their life.
But it’s sad that many people don’t. Maybe they once did, but now they really don’t know anymore. Maybe they’re just going with the flow of things and seeing where they’ll find themselves.
You might have pledged to become something professionally, or maybe have pledged to do something for society, or have pledged to achieve something you know will make an impact in your generation, no matter the size. But that might have been some time ago.
As we grow, change and get into new environments, we experience challenges in our mentalities, and many times, these challenges prevail and change our mentalities. When such a thing happens, we are to sit down and reason out whether or not the change is positive or negative
As a person, there should be that ultimate dream you wish to achieve. It is important to identify what that is early enough, so that your younger (teen) years can be used to lay the foundation for the work that will begin in the prime of your youth.
But who’s limiting? You can be or do whatever you want to, whenever you want to. In our age and time, there are few limits to success.
The takeaway from this is: Sit down and think of what you want to do with your life. You might have done this before, but if you feel like you have undergone some changes in your mentality and that path doesn’t suit you anymore, it’s okay to make a change.
Just make sure you are happy with your life’s goal.
What actions am I taking every day in order to achieve my life’s goal?
It’s not enough to map out your life’s goal; you should also break that goal down into mini-goals that you achieve every day in respect to the big one.
I know I sound like a motivational book. But that’s the truth.
Take for example: I want to be a software engineer. I realised that I don’t have to wait till I’m in university till I start learning the concepts of programming and how to write code. So, I took up learning to code with lecture videos on different programming languages. I may not be getting the same experience as a person going for physical coding classes, but my endeavour is of benefit to me; I find that, during Computer Science classes in school, I have already learnt many of the things I’m being taught, through my coding tutorial videos.
It’s a step – maybe a small one – to achieving my life’s goal.
Whether professionally or humanitarianly, whatever you want to achieve in life should begin TODAY, no matter how small.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with [today’s] step.
What are my values and principles?
I learned what values are from a book tittled The Power of Self-Confidence by Brian Tracy. From what he explained, I can say that values are pillars which hold all your actions; they are those traits or aspects of your life that you cannot compromise for anything, no matter what.
And of course, if you have values, you have to have them in order of importance.
I’ll explain the next heading.👇🏿
‘Principles’ is kind of like my synonym for values. Principles are like your personal Ten Commandments, or a personal constitution. You do not break the rules of your principles no matter what.
So values are like aspects of your life that you arrange in order of importance and make decisions in respect to how important one aspect is to you over the other. While principles are the rules you’ve laid down for yourself to guide your life.
Values and principles are important because they guide our lives. There is a sense of pride that comes about whenever we act according to them, and this continuous sense of pride should exist in order to keep us believing in ourselves and taking us through every day.
Do I prioritize?
Like I said I would, I’ll explain ‘prioritizing’ here. Prioritizing comes about when you’re making your values list, or when you’re just making a list of your priorities.
I didn’t state this earlier, but, taking an example from my values list, your values list can be something like this:
Continuous best standard education
Going by this list of values, it means that in a time when I’m to choose between my friends and, maybe, continuing my education abroad, I would have to choose my education. It means that if I had to choose between doing something of my will I ‘think’ will make me happy and something of God’s will I ‘believe’ will make me happy, I’ll have to pick what God wants first. Why? Because God never gives us more than we can handle; He teaches us, sometimes, with adversity.
So, back to the point. You just need to get some (I’ll call them) traits that summarize aspects of your life and order them according to importance. These will help you whenever you need to make tough decisions. I never forget my values, and they haven’t changed since I defined them in 2019.
Of course, yours can change if necessary, but make sure that the change is for good, that it will make you a better person as you live by them.
And when you come to priorities, they are the sentence form of values. An excerpt from my latest priorities list is:
Being a better person (personal growth)
My values and self-confidence (personal life)
Usually, your priorities should be a reflection of your values, because your values are – should be – the backbone, the foundation of all your actions.
Prioritization is important at frequent intervals because we, as well as the pattern of our lives, are constantly undergoing change. I advise to make a list of your priorities at least at the beginning of every month. It will help you to take on the month with a sense of control and purposefulness. And if it seems your priorities are still the same, it’s okay to leave them as they are. The most important thing is keeping to them.
And – talking honestly – I may not have perfected the fine art of prioritizing, or even always sticking to my priorities, but I really do try; I try because I believe prioritizing is a good cause to chase after.
Who are my friends?
Who-are-your-friends? What kind of people do you associate with? What do you look for when choosing close friends? Can you tell the difference between fake friends and true friends?
These are the kind of questions you need to ask yourself now.
From my JSS3 (that should be, like, eighth grade in the American school system, I guess), I told myself that my classmates, the people my age I relate most frequently with, were of little benefit to me, because they cared about the wrong things. As a result, I shut myself out of conversations with those of them I knew were of little benefit, and only talked to a few people about non-academics-related things. I did have a classmate who was a close friend, though, but he was only good for talking about career-related, academics or school-related things, and he was also a boy. I could never really talk to him about, y’know… personal stuff.
But it was ironic, though, that my best friend later on was a boy. I made him my best friend still in JSS3. I was drawn to him majorly because of his coding knowledge. I still say this with pride that: he dared me to take up here-and-now coding; meaning, he made me see that I didn’t have to be in university before I could begin writing code. So, our friendship sprang up from the mutual ground of the quest for coding knowledge… and has continued till today – although not as strong as it was back then. 😥
So the point of this whole narration was that you should be brave enough to decide what kind of people will actually benefit you if they come into your life. I’m not saying you should shut every other type of person out – that was a mistake I made back then that I have corrected. All I’m saying is to choose those friends that you will keep close and those that will be far, in order to avoid corruption and/or diversion.
What kind of relationships am I getting into?
I suppose you must have guesstimated (can’t believe this is a word 🤯) what will be contained in this heading.
Yes, at that point in our lives when we will, we will begin to feel for someone, and a relationship might start to bud. Decide early if you’re ready to have a serious relationship, so you don’t go playing with someone’s heart 💔 and wasting their time.
I highly recommend you check out my post, Don’t Settle for Less. After reading it, I know you’ll be convinced of the importance of setting standards for the kind of relationship you wish to have.
Look before you leap. Nowadays, people with true intentions are becoming harder and harder to find. Look well before you pour out your heart and life and time and opportunities at the expense of a person.
As always, I recommend prioritization, and discovering first who you are and what YOU want out of YOUR life, before you begin to lean on someone else.
Am I academics-inclined, skill-inclined or talent-inclined?
Yes. A very important heading to discuss. The failure of most people stems from the fact that they do not know their inclination.
By default, parents want their children to be academics-inclined, and that is why they send us to school. But as the years go by, our true inclinations surface, and it is only the discerning, brave people who realise them and make a shift.
The academics-inclined person dreams of becoming some professional, like a doctor, lawyer, geologist, software engineer, 👧🏿✌🏿 or any profession that involves study and training in order to actualize.
The skill-inclined person does not really focus on academics or study or stuff like that. He only learns the skills he needs for his profession. Such a person could go on to become a baker, a furniture maker, a hair-dresser, a fashion designer, a crafts-maker, a salesman, or even an electronics expert of some sort. All skill–inclined people need is to learn the skills they require or are interested in, and they’re happy doing what interests them.
The work of the talent–inclined person originates from within. Before any advanced formal education, such a person already begins to show special prowess or expertise in doing something. And out of their love for something that feels natural and easy for them, they go on to pursue that career or line of study. Talent-inclined people often go on to become dancers, writers, 👧🏿✌🏿 artists, hair-dressers, bakers, crafts-makers, comedians, musicians, actors, makeup artists (who are also artists) and many more. The main thing here is that their career choices stem out from their natural, default likings and expert abilities.
BuuUUUUt. Before you begin to claim that you are skill-inclined and not academics-inclined, or whatever, carefully examine yourself and tell yourself the truth. I believe that the academics-inclination is the hardest to pursue, but we should not run away from something and begin to make excuses against it just because it seems hard.
The joy is always in the chase… the struggles of the chase, that is.
Do I believe in God and/or religion?
Notwithstanding the stereotypes that exist in our society (when speaking from a Nigerian’s perspective), we should ask ourselves whether we truly believe in God and/or religion.
I hear many people say nowadays that they are ‘agnostic’, some others say they believe God exists, but they don’t believe in religion, others say they don’t see the need in going to church, others challenge the doctrines of whatever church or religious institution they wish, and some others, like me, stick to their religion and live by it the best they can because it gives them satisfaction.
The truth of the matter is that humans were created for supplication. A person must always feel the need to acknowledge a supreme or controlling force for certain things happening in his life. It just puts us in perspective.
Nowadays, there is more freedom for things like these, people now define their religiosity. That’s fine. Even God gave us the freedom to choose. Ask yourself whether or not you believe in God or religion and give reasons why, so that you can convince yourself, and anyone who asks you, on the reasons for your decision.
What do I see as ‘right’ and ‘wrong’?
I was discussing with my best friend two Sundays ago, and he told me that the best way to live my life is to: do what I know is right and don’t do what I know is wrong.
I still marvel at how wise that boy’s words always seem to sound to me.
Define what you believe is ‘wrong’ and ‘right’, and live accordingly. Always remember to be honest, and to try your best.
Who are the important people in my life, and how am I reciprocating their impact on me?
The heading is self-explanatory. There must be people who impact positively in your life, in whatever aspect. Make sure that their love, care and support is not one-sided. Anyone who cares for and supports you should be important in your life. Always make them see that their care and support are being acknowledged, and try your best to show them the same in return.
Remember that no man is an island. We’re all in this together. You can’t do it alone, so don’t push away the people who love, care and support you by being so self-centered. Pay attention to everyone.
Love’s repaid by love alone.
And after a ton of finger movements over my keyboard, and a million typing errors, I reserve the right to say that this post is done. I know it’s long (if you were so polite to read it all till the end), but I also know it’s not boring. (Yup. I said it.)
So be brave enough to ask and keep asking yourself these questions, and answer them truthfully. You’ll be amazed at how much more organized your life will be, how much clearer your vision will be, and how much more fulfilled you’ll feel as you take on every day.
I once came across a blog post by Grace Marie Cox of The Worthy Beloved tittled: Dear Sister, Wait, Don’t Settle. I really loved that post, because it really spoke to me. And although I read the post some months ago, I had to go back and read it again. And now I’ve come up with my own post in the same line of thought.
But if you’ll notice, I changed up the heading a bit, so it wouldn’t appear plagiarized. 😊
In Grace’s post, I learned the importance of setting standards for the kind of person you wish to call your boyfriend and the kind of relationship you wish to have in sometime from now. By standards, I don’t mean physical standards, like: ‘tall’, ‘handsome’, ‘fair’, etc. I mean personal qualities. Don’t fret or worry that it might narrow down your options, or that a guy like the one you visualize doesn’t exist. He does exist; if you can realistically picture him, then he does.
Setting standards gives you a sense of worth and pride, especially as a girl. It gives you the consciousness that you are a catch, and only a truly deserving guy can even come close to winning your heart.
So, in case you’re convinced, but don’t know where to start, setting your standards for a relationship should be structured around these points:
If you’re not dating to get married, you’re simply dating to break up.
I got this statement from Grace’s post.
First of all, the first thing to pen down is the fact that if you both are dating and cannot see a future together, you’re just wasting time. You might be like: “How old am I? Why should I be dating someone and already have my mind fixed on marriage?”
Yes, you should.
If you’re in a relationship where you both can see yourselves remain together in the long run, there are things you both can and cannot do. You’ll respect each other. And in times when your feelings want to cross the line, it’s easy to calm them down, because you can both console yourselves with the fact that something that’s already yours is worth waiting for.
So, before you start dating anyone, first talk about the fact that you want what you guys are to have to work in the long run; ask him if he’s up for that too. Now, I know defining this doesn’t guarantee that the relationship will stand the test of time, but it will give your relationship the clarity of purpose… if it will be, it will be.
But the thing is…
Not many guys you talk to about being together in the long run will take you serious or see any sense in the topic you’re presenting. That’s why you should wait till you and the guys around you are mature, because only a pinch of guys at secondary school age have their minds placed on responsibility and commitment.
He should be principled.
He should have things he can and cannot do, no matter the case. He should have values: principles he stands by without compromise, no matter the pressure.
Support each other.
This point is two-sided. It just means that you, as well as your boyfriend, should be supportive of each other, because everyone isn’t the same. You both might not have the same personality, career choices, and/or interests, but there is something that bonds you guys together. Let that ‘something’ be the thing that makes you guys be there for each other in any way you both can.
Let me clear things up here:
I’m a bookworm (most of the time) and a fervent writer. My boyfriend often teases me, saying, “This girl, eh, you like writing!” But still, he gives me my space whenever I need to study or write. He, on his own part, is interested in social media and Internet fame, a world I’m nowhere to be found in. But I give my opinions and chip in where I can. We may not both be crazy about the same things, but we understand and try to support each other. And that’s all that matters.
Don’t push God aside.
Know that it’s only God that can make a relationship work, no matter how much effort you both put into it. All I advise here is to constantly pray about and for both your boyfriend and your relationship.
I just want to make a small digression: In Grace’s post, she said that if the person you intend to date isn’t a Christian and isn’t ready to be one, you should let the person go. She spoke based on what is obtainable in her society, but bringing it down to the Nigerian society, the case is different.
In Nigerian – apart from the Muslim population – although 95% of people grow up in active Christian families and even go to missionary schools, they are yet to become active Christians themselves… especially boys.
I guess in America the Christian population is low, and that’s why she made such a statement.
So, back to what I was saying. This guy you meet may not be a firm Christian, but if you both talk about God, going to church, praying and reading the Bible, and he agrees to be better, you both can work on growing in Christ.
He should be understanding enough to listen to you and admit when he’s wrong.
There’s a difference between ‘hearing’ and ‘listening’. ‘Hearing’ is when you finish talking, and he says, “Okay,” but still does the same thing you both just talked about. ‘Listening’ is paying attention to your every word and replying – it mustn’t always be positively – to the things you say. And then understanding comes in when he comes to see your point of view and accepts what you say, or does whatever the situation requires. Long story short, be with someone you know you can communicate with about anything, someone who will listen.
Another part of understanding is the part where you need to understand that no one is perfect. He might have every quality on your list, but he’ll still have his own quirks. Understand this, tolerate, and help him be better as you both grow.
Lastly, don’t want a Boaz if you won’t first be Ruth. This just means: don’t lay down a multitude of qualities you search for if YOU don’t even meet up to those standards. As you make your list, be realistic. As you pen down every quality, as yourself if you can or are working to be that principled young lady for somebody’s son somewhere.
The only way you can do this is to pray to God to help you grow in Him. Pray to Him to help you FIRST realise who you are before you start looking for the other part of yourself.
Remember, take one step at a time.
I hope and pray you don’t settle for less, but wait for the guy who’s worth your love, as you build yourself as a young woman.
… is what I would have said if today was actually my sweet sixteen.
Due to a few setbacks here and there, I was unable to publish this post on my birthday (which was some months ago) 😞😥😓. But, hey, it’s part of life, yo.
Okay, over to the post:
We all know that a sweet sixteen is the most important of all girl birthdays.
When a girl turns sixteen, she has come of age, she has officially become a young woman. And ‘today’, I become all that.
I remember that time in my life, back when I was younger, that I looked upon the age sixteen and thought: “Sixteen is such a big age!” because I knew a sixteen-year-old was not a child anymore.
Before I carry on, permit me to roll back to some of my best years while growing up:
3 years: My first best year. My younger brother was born when I was this age, and I was so much bigger than my age that people thought I was five!
9 years: At this age, I believe I was my fullest self. I was cheerful, very chubby, smart, a bit of an introvert (as I always have been, I think) and at my creative best. It was at nine that I gave up trying to learn to ride a bicycle because of a very embarrassing accident with one! When I look back at age nine, I say that the person I was then was the real me, and that I’ll try to get back that me to a hundred percent (minus the ‘very chubby’ part o).
12 years: It’s not like it’s one of my favorite years, but at this age, I was in JSS2, and that class has been my best so far throughout secondary school. I have so many good, bad, embarrassing memories from this year!
13 years: At thirteen, my best friend and I became real friends. It was also my best friend that ‘dared’ me to go into what I like to call ‘here-and-now coding’, after I had decided to become a programmer (still at thirteen). At thirteen, I made a lot of memories with my best friend.
At thirteen, I was in JSS3, a class where I lived out one of my purest years in secondary school. I say ‘purest’ because it was in this year that I felt like I was really in control of myself, didn’t bend to peer pressure, and enjoyed academic excellence.
15 years: At fifteen, I started Olaedo, a blog where I help teens like me bring out their gold and get better outlooks on certain things about life as a teen.
I’m still counting… still want to cross the marks of other ages, and add to this favorites list.
I’ve always viewed ‘coming of age’ as a big leap, a higher step. And maybe it is. When someone has come of age, I believe the person should be able to claim a few of these as part of their personality:
She should know who she is.
This just means that you should be able to clearly verbalize the kind of person you are, what you like and dislike, what you believe in and what you do not; you should know your limits as a person, but never get stuck in a rut, only doing things you know won’t task you that much. Risks are their own kind of spice, and you’ll never really live without using them once or twice. Know who you are, know your limits as a person, but never fail to try and do new, outside-the-box things.
She should be confident in her personality, and always stand up for herself.
Accept your flaws and imperfections – which don’t even exist in the eyes of those who truly care about you. You may not be like everyone around you (I certainly am not), but you still aren’t alone. Bend down and count all the ‘hidden’ people in your life that make you feel loved and happy – no matter how frequently you see them or how few they are.
And in times when people or situations are making you feel like an oddball for refusing to conform to their way of life, gather up the courage to push back and defend who you have come to be. It’s hardest to do in times of doubt, when it seems like you’re alone, but it shows that you don’t need the fake likes and compliments of other people to feel good about yourself and your achievements.
She should have found God and followed Him.
Prove me wrong if you can, but in almost all Nigerian Christian families, moms are the propellers of the family’s spiritual life. I’m not making this point just because of that fact, though, but we girls should know that knowing God is a very important part of our development.
I admit that I push Him aside many a time and go after things He’s told me not to, but I was always find my way back to Him as He leads me back with grace. All you need to do is sincerely pray for Him to be your guide through life, ‘cause the heart of the journey is yet to be reached. I advise praying with Psalms 32 and 27 (The Living Bible version, preferably).
She should have started making baby steps towards her chosen career.
I first wanted to be a musician, and then a writer, and then a fashion designer, and now a software engineer. Choosing career paths and working towards them are not for the weak. It takes a lot to be serious-minded, focus on getting good grades and getting any career-related experiences you can before you jump into the real deal.
I, for example, take online coding courses to ground me on software development in preparation for my career ahead. Do something here and now that will get you grounded in your career choice before you begin the course proper.
She should be able to walk away from people and situations that threaten her self-esteem and peace of mind.
Don’t try to live up to the expectations of other people. Live your life, gaining all experiences you should have – in ways you know are good and right. Walk away from people who constantly bring you down, make you doubt yourself and make you want to do things that cause your mind unrest. But before you do, I advise you leave them with a few words on how you really feel about them.
She should have a confidant or best friend.
This isn’t compulsory, even I can’t boast of a best friend. But try to find out that/those person/s of value that you can always pour out your heart to and who will be there for you. I know real friends are scarce nowadays.
She should have known her role and place in her family.
Whether you are the first-daughter-first-child, first-daughter-only-girl, middle-sister, last-sister, know that every girl has a role to play in her family; not just traditionally, but also in the business of bearing up your own pillar in order to help your parents make your family stand. Your presence has its own significance, so make sure that your role in your family is acknowledged because of how well you roll with it.
She should know her way around domestically.
Even as I talk of knowing your place in the family, you should know your place as a young woman, who will one day be a mommy yourself. Know how to cook – well. Know how to be organized and to organize others. Learn to be tolerant and peaceful, and to control your anger (if you are hot-tempered).
She should have defined her approach to relationships.
And even as we have different outlooks to relationships, there is one universal rule: Make sure you know your worth, so that you won’t find yourself looking for who you are in a guy, basing your identity on who he says you are.
Happy birthday to meeee! 🧀🧀🎈🎂🎉✨👧🏾😘 I hope that this post has put a little something more in your head about what it means to come of age.
Drop me a comment, telling me what you think of the post, or you can share your own wisdom concerning ‘coming of age’.
Or you could wish me a happy (very overdue) birthday! ✨✨🎉🎈👧🏾🎂