The Experiences of the Average Nigerian Boarder.

Hey, readers!

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.

EN-joyee!

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!🤣🤣🤣

Photo by RODNAE Productions on Pexels.com

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!

See y’all again by August!

Feeling Intimidated? Inferior? I’ve Been There Too, Hun.

Hey, readers!

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.

But enough of all that. I have written posts about knowing who you are before you begin looking for someone to share yourself with, the importance of the innocent years, and about defining the things you look for in a relationship before agreeing to be in one. So if the subjects prick your interest, follow the linked phrases above. ☝🏿

But I believe I will do a second part of my Learn to Stand Before You Lean on Someone Else post, because a lot has happened since then, and I just want to clear up some statements I made there.

Got it? Yeah, yuh gat it. 👌🏿

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.👇🏿

Thanks for being my addressee. 🤗

Ciao, 💋

Asking Ourselves the Hard Questions.

Hey, readers!

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:

Godliness

Happiness

Creativity

Continuous best standard education

Beneficial company

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:

God

Being a better person (personal growth)

My values and self-confidence (personal life)

My parents

My exams

Coding (career)

… etc.

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 skillinclined 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 talentinclined 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.

Make careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.

-Galatians 6:4-5. The Message Bible.

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.

Yup. Still sounding like a motivational book.

Ciao, 💋

P.S. I guess you’ve noticed my featured image.

*wink wink*

Don’t Settle for Less.

Hullo, readers!

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.

Yours in Christ, 😘

What it Means to Come of Age.

Today’s my sweet sixteen!

… 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.

Different girls have different ways they view relationships. In a time when we’re just becoming women, openings for relationships will just keep coming and coming. Define your own beliefs and be confident in them. Whoever will truly like you will truly like you.

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! ✨✨🎉🎈👧🏾🎂

Feelin’ real happy to be plus one, 😁

The Innocent Years.

As consistent readers of my blog will notice, for some time now, I’ve been writing majorly on relationships and stuff like that. I’m going through that phase in my life when being in a relationship makes up a huge part of the things around me. Well, maybe not ‘being in a relationship’ per say, because that in itself is a broad topic. It’s more like having someone to lean on, understand you, and share intimacies with. Yeah, that’s more like it.

In my blog post Learn How to Stand Before You Start to Lean on Someone Else, I talked about how, as a teen, it’s best to be independent and gain a footing on who you are before you start looking for ‘the one’, because even though you’re only young once, there are plenty of years left to fall hopelessly in love.

At the moment, I’m reading this e-book named P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han. And that book’s making me see how complex ‘love’ or ‘being in love’ can be. It’s making me yearn for – y’know – ‘love’ of my own. But these yearnings of mine are false, I can tell. It’s just what books or movies with romantic edges do to people. But it’s also made me realise something: Americans don’t care much about how many boyfriends a girl has had, they don’t care as much as we do about going down under. They only care much about going down under (by ‘down under’, I mean having sex) with someone who is worth it, not just some cheap player. 

In high school, (let me just compare it with secondary school) they’re already talking about love. But what I like about the way they talk about it is that they don’t rush to tell each other that they love each other; they make sure they really are in love. But in the meantime, they kiss and get all touch-touchy

Of late, I’ve been thinking a lot about relationships, how unreal 90% (or more) of secondary school relationships are. Honestly, there’s no actual love in secondary school. Yeah, sure people can fall in love in secondary school – I’m not saying that’s not possible. But love is only love when it’s being shown without restrictions.

I say I like the fact that Americans don’t rush to say that they love each other because love – real love – is a complex thing. In my definition, it is understanding someone, never wanting to hurt or let hurtful things come the person’s way, making sure you are always there for the person, supporting the person in the most important aspects of their life (even if to you, those things are not too important), being the best part of them, the person that encourages them to be good and positive with lots of advice, being their support in any weather. Note that in all the things I’ve listed out here, I haven’t mentioned anything physical about love, because physical things only make love more enjoyable – but they aren’t what makes love what it is.

I used to say that there’s in use in having a boyfriend in secondary school because you guys will never be able to do the things that a real couple does without being labelled as ‘bad children’. It’s also no use because if either of the two move away, or go to a university that’s far away, it’s almost the same thing as the relationship has ended. They might make promises of fidelity and loyalty and say a lot of “I’ll wait for you” ‘s, but it’s easier said than done when you go to new place and meet new people. Even though, I know, true love never dies – it just grows cold for a little bit. 

But all in all, being in a full-blown relationship in secondary school is not very possible if you don’t care about what it will do to your reputation (if you’re know as a goody-goody, a respectful and obedient church-person), your academics (if you aren’t very good at planning and drawing the line between emotion and academics), your relationship with God (if there is any solid one).

But I think I’m making it seem like having a boyfriend is something bad in all ramifications. Sorry for that impression, because it isn’t bad in all aspects. It’s okay to be floaty and undefined with that friend of yours you like, because when you’re undefined, you don’t have any real commitments or obligations to each other. You both can relate with each other without worrying about who’s watching or who’s saying what, because you’ll have the satisfaction of mind that you aren’t doing anything wrong.

And if you’re worried about the other person starting to like someone else, you guys can always talk about that. Talk about whether or not you guys will be okay with you having other people you like. (It’s okay to do that, because treating your feelings for someone they don’t mean anything isn’t necessary if you both know that you really like each other and being a couple sometime in the future is something you both can see happening and are working for at present, in small ways. In the meantime, though, no matter how sure you both are, don’t get physical). 

If you guys can wind the secondary school and foundation years over and still like each other, you should be sure that you both then love each other. And from there, other steps can follow.

It’s more important to arrange the things in your life than to please anyone else. You don’t have to live up to other people’s expectations before you know that you are worth something.

Just because you are a star student, a church-girl/boy and an all-round good person in your neighbourhood and family, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have experiences that are important to your life. Again I refer to my blog post, Learn How to Stand Before You Start to Lean on Someone Else. There, I wrote about how I got a taste of seriously dating (without getting physical, of course), but backed out when I found out that I wasn’t ready for that. I wrote there that I had a lot of other things to focus on than bending to make a relationship work.

By that experience of mine, I write this blog post with a lot more experience and first-hand knowledge. Although I am kind of a star figure in my family, school and social circles, I did not choose to not live the experience (notwithstanding the fact that it started out unassumingly and blew out into what it was). It now serves as a personal point of reference for the future where need be.

As a closure, let me say this: Live your life so that one day in the future you will not feel wasted. Tell yourself that you don’t want to be all grown up one day and begin to count all the guys that have gone down under. Live your life so that at a point in your life, you will not feel like there’s nothing precious and untouchable about you anymore because you’ve let it all go. Let the innocent years be the innocent years, and let the adult years be the adult years.

Yeah, this is a childish outlook – it’s a very childish outlook. But it’s those innocent moments in your life, those things you did and said back when you didn’t know anything, that will make you flush and blush and smile when you remember them years later, when you must have grown older and wiser. I relish these innocent years, these innocent feelings. And you should too.

Loving my share of innocent years,

P.S. Don’t forget to follow Olaedo on social media for updates on blog posts, drop a comment and share!

(ORIGINALLY POSTED ON MY OLD BLOG)

Learn to Stand Before You Lean on Someone Else.

I was in a dilemma recently – a personal/emotional/spiritual dilemma, actually. It was like I knew what my problem was, but I was trying to hide it from myself, I was trying to mask it so I wouldn’t confront it. I think I had a good enough reason for not wanting to confront it: I didn’t want to hurt somebody’s feelings. Now, I won’t go all nitty-gritty on the details, for my safety and the safety of those involved, but I will pick out what I’ve scavenged from this.

I have very strong views on dating and teen relationships. For me, teens shouldn’t be dating. Why? Look out for my blog post on the subject, coming soon. But I thought that at my point in life, with only a year left to be done with secondary school, I could give being ‘a girlfriend’ a chance.

Normally, I think that if two teens like each other, they shouldn’t hide their feelings from each other. What they should do is know that going into a full-blown relationship is a big step, a big step that requires physical and emotional commitment. I would normally say don’t get into any physical commitments (like kissing and touching in certain places and stuff like that) because understanding yourselves and learning what makes the other tick is more important– and that’s what I believe in.

But all that can only be applied if the person you have feelings for understands your point of view. Not many guys, not many girls would want to take it slow; as slow as not touching, as slow as not hugging, as slow as not kissing. For some people, it’s childish not to express your feelings physically, but the truth of the matter is that taking it slow, especially at teenage is the right thing to do because the two teens have the opportunity to focus on and build other aspects of their lives – without worrying whether or not they’re paying enough attention to their boyfriend or girlfriend – they can get used to each other as they lay the foundation of their would-be relationship on friendship – the most important part of any relationship, mind you. I really get into the details of this in my blog post on this very subject, which, as I said earlier, you can check out soon. But taking it slow at this age is the best approach you can ever take.

So, back to me. Well, after a period of trying and failing and trying and failing and trying and trying and failing, I finally realized that:

I want to learn how to stand before I begin to [or learn to] lean on somebody else… or else someday if there is no one to lean on, I will fall.

– Vanessa Chidi

I am an independent person and I love it. I don’t take pride in depending on anyone for anything – most times, even my parents. And because of this, bending myself to make someone else happy or to meet someone else’s needs at this stage of my life when I must establish my independent characteristic more firmly is purgatorial. Working towards my dreams without having any attachments to weigh me down is my ideal, it’s a thing I don’t find hard to do.

But, hey, this isn’t a one-size-fits-all. Not everyone likes being self-governing, not everyone likes to work alone, not everyone likes to do things without having someone closer than a friend to lean on when times get tough. Being independent is my style.

But I wouldn’t have realised this about myself if I had not taken the time to build myself without any distractions. I advise you to do the same if you’re yet to be able to stand brazenly and verbalize your personality. Take the time to find out the kind of person you are, what you like and dislike, what makes you happy and what doesn’t, the kind of people and things you’re interested in and the ones you’re not interested in, the unique way God speaks to you and the way you respond when He speaks (because, amazingly, God shows us things and speaks to us based on our personalities, in the way we can realise it and understand).

I’ve just penned down the outline of an experience in my life I don’t want to forget, an experience that showed me that the right time for a relationship is when you know yourself, when you can fight against anything to make sure it doesn’t try to change the good parts of your personality, when having a boyfriend or girlfriend will not cause you unrest of mind or won’t make you feel guilty, when you’re sure that even if you get on the relationship train, it won’t affect your career or your life’s goals.

In the time when I was still failing and failing and trying and failing and failing and trying and trying… whatever, you understand my point. In the time of my unrest, I came across my scriptural pillars for this year. And they helped me, in the measure they could, to realise what I pledged to stand by this year. Here they are:

My Scriptural Pillars for 2021

HEADER SCRIPTURE:

Galatians 6:4-5 – – – > “Make careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been called to do and sink yourself into that.” – The Message Bible.

Luke 6:27-38 – – – > “Be merciful, even as your father is merciful.”  – The Revised Standard Version Bible.

Philippians 2:14-16 – – – > “Light in a dark world.”

Philippians 2:8 – – – > “Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right.”

Philippians 2:4-7 – – – > “Be full of joy.”

Hebrews 12 – – – > “Keep your eyes on Jesus, our leader and instructor; let God train you, for He is doing what any loving father does for his children.”

2 Corinthians 4:8-10 – – – > “We are pressed on every side by troubles, but not crushed and broken.”

Proverbs 27:1-2 – – – > Don’t brag about your plans for tomorrow – wait and see what happens.”

Psalm 34 – – – > “The Lord is close to those whose hearts are breaking…”

Proverbs 27:10 – – – > “Never abandon a friend.”

UNLESS OTHERWISE STATED, ALL VERSES WERE GOTTEN FROM THE LIVING BIBLE.

These helped gain back a bit of my strength, but I truly became at peace with God and with myself when I said it to myself that I was not ready for a relationship yet. And following this, I severed the girlfriend-and-boyfriend ties. Now my mind is quiet, my vision is clearer, and my heart is light and free.

With that said and done, thank you for tuning into this blog post. I urge you to put into practice the things I laid out here, according to your own personality. If you loved this blog post, be sure to look out for posts in the Teen Talk category, where I talk stuff like this and more. Follow Olaedo on social media to be sure you get updates… and share!

Keepin’ it V,

(ORIGINALLY POSTED ON MY OLD BLOG)

Featuring… Franck Mve

Happy new month, readers!

A whole week has gone by since I last worked on a blog post (school stuff’s been keepin’ me down), but in this blog post I’m bringing to the table something I am certain is worth the wait.

Since Olaedo is a blog by a teen, for teens, and is made of teen-centered content, in this blog post I decided to feature someone I met recently at a football match I was present at. He’s a Gabonese-Nigerian named Franklin Mve, who has become a close friend of mine over time.

Before the football match in question, I had caught a glimpse of him at a previous match somewhere. But then I was just a spectator amidst spectators, and Franklin was just a player in a team of players. Never thinking I would meet him again, I was surprised to see him at a friendly football match held at Pearville School.

That day, I was present at the match as a reporter for my school’s press club – I was in full reporter mode. Being no football critic, but knowing a good player when I see one, I can say that Franklin is a gifted player, as he showed immense prowess on the field. The students and even the teachers of Pearlville School let him know that too after the match.

Needing to know more of this gifted player, I had a chat with him and found out a lot more than I expected:

From a Nigerian father and a Gabonese mother, Franklin Mve Ikemba Franck was born on June 26th, 2005 in Libreville, Gabon’s capital.

In Gabon, his keenness in football began from a very early age, as he started playing small-scale matches when he was only nine years old. He continued this way and grew up to play for football clubs in his home country. To be precise, FC Boca Gabon from 2014 till 2017, Seantos Football club from 2017 till 2019, Irumba FC from 2019 till 2020.

I got to know that he’s in Nigeria only for a short time. But while here, he hasn’t dropped the ball – literally. He’s been playing for the football club, Campos Nigeria since he came here in 2020.

And it gets better. When he’s not killing it on the field, he definitely stuns with his gorgeous pictures on Facebook  and Insta . On the sidelines, he’s working on building his TikTok following as he makes scores of eye-catching dance videos (he’s actually an awesome dancer, I’ve found). Take a look at some of his Insta photos:

Like all young footballers, he dreams big. He dreams of European leagues, dreams of playing internationally for Nigeria or Gabon. He dreams of getting into the big leagues and competing with the football titans.

And he’s well on his way to getting there.

To finish up, this article is just the little shot I’m taking in helping my friend get into the limelight as the footballer he aspires to be. It’s one of my bull’s eyes as a person to see young people like me their best – their Gold – with a little help from time to time.

 😘,

(ORIGINALLY POSTED ON MY OLD BLOG)

No Matter Where You Go, Remember the Way Home

I may not have graduated from secondary school to university before, but I certainly have a taste of the feeling. It is leaving childhood, leaving teenage and moving into young adulthood. Wow! At this time, many schools have already held their graduation ceremonies, and some schools are yet to hold theirs. All the same, I wish all who are graduating this year a happy graduation!

I’m being very particular about those leaving secondary school because I believe that’s the pinnacle of all graduations in a child’s life. I can remember the air of the day on the graduation ceremony of one of our SS3’s. Skeleton Move by featuring Master KG was played that day, and the lyrics stood out to everyone:

No matter where you go, remember the road that will lead you home… that will lead you home.

No matter where you’ll go from the threshold of teenage, remember who you are, remember what you’ve been promising yourself that you will make out of your life for as long as you can remember, remember the friends worth keeping – those who have had a hand in shaping you into the person you are today – remember your values and principles, remember the road that will lead you home – the place where you can always find warmth, inspiration and comfort.

‘Home’ might be different things for different people; it might just be the place where your family is, it might mean the place where you can be with those who make up the best part of you, it might mean a place you know you can always feel refreshed when you visit it, or might be the place, the moments when you connect and talk with God one-on-one.

Home is where your heart is,” as the saying goes.

Underneath all the hysteria, joy and exuberance of this time in the life of a person FINALLY leaving secondary school, there is still that feeling of sadness at leaving, and a longing for a replay of those times when you were just a care-free child. Those in this category know how true this is.

As a person who holds wise sayings in high regard, I leave you with these sayings I picked up from here and there. I hope that they give you the strength you need to begin the new responsibilities that will soon begin to be laid on you, the inspiration to always be and never be ashamed of who you are or to change to be a better person if need be, and the reminder you need to “…never forget what is [or those that are] worth remembering or remember what is best forgotten.

“There’s something so special about a woman who dominates in a man’s world. It takes a certain grace, strength, intelligence, fearlessness, and the nerve to never take no for an answer.”
—Rihanna

“You can’t do it alone. Be open to collaboration. Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you. Spend a lot of time with them and it will change your life.”
— Amy Poehler

Remember this: You are awesome. I’m not suggesting you be boastful. No one likes that in men or women. But I am suggesting that believing in yourself is the first necessary step to coming even close to achieving your potential.”
—Sheryl Sandberg

“No matter what happens in life, be good to people. Being good to people is a wonderful legacy to leave behind.”
—Taylor Swift

“It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.”
—Babe Ruth

“I’ve learned it’s important not to limit yourself. You can do whatever you really love to do, no matter what it is.”
—Ryan Gosling

“It is better to be a failure at something you love than to be a success at something you hate.”
—George Burns

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”
—E. E. Cummings

“A WOMAN WITH A VOICE IS, BY DEFINITION, A STRONG WOMAN.”

– MELINDA GATES

“The best remedy for those who are frightened, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be alone with the sky, nature, and God. For only then can you feel that everything is as it should be and that God wants people to be happy amid nature’s beauty and simplicity.”
—Anne Frank

“Take your risks now. As you grow older, you become more fearful and less flexible … Try to keep your mind open to possibilities and your mouth closed on matters that you don’t know about. Limit your ‘always’ and your ‘nevers.’ Continue to share your heart with people even if it’s been broken.”
—Amy Poehler

“There are no regrets in life — just lessons.”
—Jennifer Aniston

“The meaning of life is to find your gift, the purpose of life is to give it away.”
—Joy J. Golliver

“I can’t think of any better representation of beauty than someone who is unafraid to be herself.”
—Emma Stone

“It’s the choice. You have to wake up every day and say ‘There’s no reason today can’t be the best day of my life.'”
—Blake Lively

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”
—Dr. Seuss

“You will stumble and fall, you will experience both disaster and triumph, sometimes in the same day. But it’s really important to remember that like a hangover, neither triumphs nor disasters last forever.”
—Helen Mirren

“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.”
—J.K. Rowling

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”
—Arthur Ashe

“It is often easier to make progress on mega-ambitious dreams. I know that sounds completely nuts. But, since no one else is crazy enough to do it, you have little competition. There are so few people this crazy that I feel like I know them all by first name. They all travel as if they are pack dogs and stick to each other like glue. The best people want to work the big challenges.”
—Larry Page

“You can’t climb the ladder of success with your hands in your pockets.”
—Arnold Schwarzenegger

“In response to those who say to stop dreaming and face reality, I say keep dreaming and make reality.”
—Kristian Kan

“If you can’t outplay them, outwork them.”
—Ben Hogan

“When someone who loves you hugs you, hug them back with two arms—don’t do the one-arm hug, because when you hug someone with two arms, it allows you to lean on somebody, and we all need someone to lean on.”
— Sandra Bullock

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”
—Thomas Edison

“As you graduate, as you deal with your excitement and your doubts today, I urge you to try and create the world you want to live in. Minister to the world in a way that can change it. Minister radically in a real, active, practical, get your hands dirty way.”
—Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

“Dreams are lovely. But they are just dreams. Fleeting, ephemeral, pretty. But dreams do not come true just because you dream them. It’s hard work that makes things happen. It’s hard work that creates change.”
—Shonda Rhimes

“You don’t go to university so you can punch a clock. You go to university so you can be in a position to make a difference.”
—Janet Napolitano

“You’re only given a little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.”
—Robin Williams

“I am here to tell you that whatever you think your dream is now, it will probably change. And that’s okay.”
—Conan O’Brien

“In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love.”
—Mother Teresa

“The road to success is always under construction.”
—Lily Tomlin

“You are about to start the greatest improvisation of all. With no script. No idea what’s going to happen, often with people and places you have never seen before. And you are not in control. So say ‘yes.’ And if you’re lucky, you’ll find people who will say ‘yes’ back.”
—Stephen Colbert

“Now go, and make interesting mistakes, make amazing mistakes, make glorious and fantastic mistakes. Break rules. Leave the world more interesting for your being here.”
—Neil Gaiman

Happy graduation, from me to you.

 😘

Although it’s kind of post-dated, check out another of my blog posts on graduation:

6 Tips on How to Make the Last Days of Secondary School Unforgettable.

Follow my blog on social media and share!

(ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON MY OLD BLOG)

6 Ways to Make the Last Days of Secondary School Unforgettable.

It’s Graduation Time Soon!

Yeah, it’s graduation time soon, especially in Nigeria. We students are all moving to a new class, but some are moving into a new phase of life – some into secondary school or some into university (even those that just started pre-school or primary school!). 

But this article is for those who are moving into university. I’m not at this stage yet, but I will be by next year, so I just want to give a few pointers on how to make the last days of secondary school memorable.

  • Constantly bring up past or junior school memories you all can laugh about.

 Throughout my secondary school, my classmates and I have been through a lot and a mean A LOT. But I know this is not unique just to my classmates and I, we all have tales to tell of our sprees with our classmates. Even though you might be busy with exams and pre-university life thoughts, in these last days, bring up some junior school or past memories you and your classmates can recall and laugh about. This will make the memories evergreen and help you guys remember that in some way, you are parts of each other.

  • Take a class picture and give it a caption that reflects your class.

 If you guys have enough money, have that collaborative spirit and have the means, you can take a class picture with you all wearing a particular colour or style of clothing (I advise you all to pose in ways that reflect your different personalities), keep copies of it in your phones, frame a copy and give it to your form teacher or to the school to remember you guys by. (You can even give it a caption that reflects the kind of class you guys were – be honest o!).

  • ·         Don’t forget the digits!

Don’t forget to take each other’s numbers – especially for those who just got phones in SS3. Even if you don’t have a phone yet, pen down your classmates’ phone numbers, Facebook names, Instagram IDs, TikTok IDs, Twitter IDs, Snapchat IDs… whatever IDs. Just make sure you have a way to keep in touch with the people who have been there in your good and bad moments and know even if not all, but a generous part of you.

  • Make a video clip of all of your class’ memories you can get hold of… and showcase.

Many secondary schools don’t let students bring phones to school (that’s normal everywhere), but I know that students still sneak in phones to school almost every day. And on some of those days, some people might have taken pictures or videos. All the people with pictures and videos can bring them together and turn them into a video clip of your class’ best, funniest, most embarrassing, most heated moments. 

You guys can even feature each classmate with their unique character trait – like class clown, class diva/s, aunty gwe gwe gwe/s, class brainiacs or class professor, baby of the class, teachers’ pet/s, class dancer/s, and any other traits your classmates have. I recommend you use a background song that’ll get your classmates in a sober mood first (I suggest Memories by Maroon 5) and then let the song glide into songs you all have enjoyed over the years and let the video clip end with a song that has you all thinking, “I’m going to miss these crazy people I call classmates.” (You can watch the music video Young, Dumb and Broke by Khalid (Watch Young Dumb and Broke music video) for some ideas on how to go about it).

  • ·         Don’t hold back anything. 

If there are things you’ve always wanted to tell your classmates or a particular classmate, now is definitely the time because by July, you all will go your own way and you might never have the chance under the same circumstances again – ever. So don’t say you: “Coulda, woulda, shoulda?” and just say or do what’s on your mind.

  • ·         Make personality-themed T-shirts.

You could also make T-shirts to complement the video clip, the framed picture or as a gesture in itself. I always emphasize on customizing things like these according to your personalities, but now I propose that you can fold papers and pick out names of your classmates. Whoever one classmate picks will be the person his or her (the person who picked) shirt will be about.

 For example: If George picked Ife, then George’s shirt will reflect Ife’s personality and vice versa. 

But I f that will be too expensive, you can make one T-shirt with a picture of all of you and give it to your form teacher as a gift (maybe as a complement to the framed picture). Remember, work according to your budget.

Here is small list of book, movie and song recommendations for you as a person moving into a new episode of life. They are about stepping into new phases of life, finding out who you are and your life purpose (even if you know your career path, you must find out who you are personally), finding strength in weak moments and taking one step at a time.

You can click on the songs’ download links to download them; you can watch the movies on YouTube with their links, but you will have to buy the book from your local bookshop – it is sold presently in Nigeria for 2,500 Naira.

Book recommendations:

  • I Wish I Knew This Before I Went to the University by Tekena Ikoko.   

Song recommendations:     

Movie recommendations:

With all that said, happy graduation in advance! And I hope the last days of secondary school are truly as memorable as they should be.

😘,

(ORIGINALLY POSTED ON MY OLD BLOG).