When Going On a Trip, Here’s 5 Things to Note.

Hey, readers!

in a sing-song voice: I’m baaaaack!

Wow! My two-month exams are finally over. Done with my WAEC senior school exams, done with my NECO senior school exams. It wasn’t easy, it was full of lots of experiences, but I’m finally done.😌

And I’m as well done with secondary school! 🎊🏆😁🥳✨🎉

Also, my WAEC exam results are out, I did pretty well – as everyone says. I say so because I didn’t really know what to expect. I just did my very best and knew that, worse come to worst, I would still get a good result. Highly overconfident? Yeah, I know.

All the same, I got one C6, one C5, one C4, two B3’s, three B2’s, and one A1. The subject with the lowest marks was Economics, and the one with the highest marks was Marketing.

All that said and done, over to the post topic. Having been packing for trips by myself since I was about twelve, and having had the experience of packing for my first trip without my parents or family members, I have a thing or two to say about preparing for a trip.

So if you’re the type of person who always seems to leave something behind no matter how hard you try, or you’d just like to get the insights of another when it comes to preparing for a trip, then here’s my 5 things to note when getting ready for a trip:

EN-joyeeeee! 🥧

Well, first of all, the way and the things you pack are dependent on the type and duration of your trip – you might be going on vacation with your family, going to stay with a friend or relative, or even be going to boarding school! But no matter the kind of trip, the important stuff to know is generally the same in all cases.Any additional things are due to personal preferences.

1. Have a game plan.🐱‍👤

Even if you planned to just relax and unwind during your stay, it’s important to have a game plan –in other words, activities you’d like to carry out while there. Think of this game plan as kind of the ‘goals’ you wish to achieve while there; things that by doing them, make you proud that you utilized your time well.

For example, if you’re going to a country, state or vicinity you’ve never been to, you might plan to visit certain places, eat certain foods, or see the local entertainment. Whatever you pick, know that it’s always a good idea to have a game plan.

2.Start packing early.🧳

Sooo obvious, right? No. Most people wait till the dying minute to pack, for whatever reason they may have. If you’re one of these type of people, I’m sure you forget to pack some stuff all the time. So listen: staring to pack early is important, so you can have all the time to check and recheck your stuff.

And if you might not want to finish packing too early, you can stretch it out: divide the packing into tiny bits every day till the day you’re to leave. Sounds nice, right?

3.Make sure to always be engaged in productive activities.🤸🏿‍♀️

This stands right next to having a game plan. Take along some books, your laptop, a drawing book or a notebook, write a little, make some sketches, finish that motivational book you never could. No matter how fun the stay may promise to be, it’s still important to have productive things to do on slow or boring days.

4.Let your choice of clothing rhyme with the vicinity.👗

By this, I mean when picking out clothes to take with you, choose clothes you know will be okay with the people you’ll be staying with, or with the people of the area, especially in terms of decency.

And if you’re going to a different state or country, it’s also good to find out how people dress there, for both fashion-related and weather-related reasons. You wouldn’t want to downgrade your style, but you’d surely not want to be over- or under-dressed!

5.Have a checklist.📝

Yes, even after making sure to grab every tiny detail, having a checklist to sum everything up is essential. Your checklist will help you to note the exact things you’re taking with you, and it will also help you be sure you didn’t forget anything when coming home.

When I was preparing to leave for boarding school, the checklist I made was very helpful to me. And even when it was time to come back, my checklist helped me make sure I wasn’t forgetting anything in school.

You first need to sit down and jot down everything you know you’ll be needing during your stay; you can also keep adding to the list if more things pop up later. Be sure to remember your toiletries – you know, cream/s, soap, deodorant, toothbrush and paste, sanitary pads, body sprays and perfume, and all the other stuff – and the exact number of them you’ll need. I sometimes fall victim of forgetting one or two of these. You could also write down the books, or the number of books, you took with you, just to be sure.

Whatever you wish to add to it, having a checklist for your trip is very essential.

As I brainstormed for this post, it dawned on me that summer vacation is already almost halfway gone. All the same, even if the tips here won’t be used for your summer trip, you can also make use of them during mid-term trips, at Christmastime, or for any other trips you may be going on. They’re evergreen, and will always come in handy.

*wink*

Is there anything you wish to add? Have any questions? The comments section is here for you. Let’s discuss!

Getting with the summer vibe. 😎

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!

I’m Going Away, but I’ll Be Back.

Hey, readers!

It would be unprofesional of me to go on a blogging break without even a message of farewell. So here it is, my message of farewell:

I did previously write an entire post about my going away, but wasn’t able to publish it because I wrote the post on Microsoft Word, and didn’t take it to WordPress, so that at least I could publish it using someone else’s phone.

Well, that’s by the way, that avenue is gone. 🤷🏾

My main reason for writing this post is to inform my readers that I’m on a blogging break. Know that I won’t be gone forever; I’ll only be gone till July – August.

I’m already at my boarding school, my exams have already begun, and I really would have written this sooner if only I could, but at least I finally have.

For new visitors to my blog, I haven’t stopped blogging, this is just temporary. Have fun reading through my other posts, you’ll really be happy you did. 😊

Till then, readers! 👋🏾

Caio, 💋

Blogging Do’s for Every Blogger. ~Part 2~

Hey, readers!

Happy new month!

I previously began a little series tittled:

blogging do’s for every blogger 💙

It’s a series were I’m sharing important things all bloggers should be mindful of, no matter their niche. The series began with this post, and now the last part of it is here.

EN-joyeee!              

1.Always have a meta description.

A meta description is a little description about a page on your site, only visible to search engines and browsers. You can have meta descriptions for posts, pages and your homepage.

A meta description is important because with it, you can tell a little about a particular page on your site; and so when your site shows up in search results, a person just might be enticed by your description and click on the page or post.

But I’m no expert on things like this, here’s an article by WPBeginner on how to add a meta description, using relevant keywords, to pages on your site.

2.Make use of relevant keywords.

Make use of keywords relevant to what your blog post is about. Use these keywords (in a way that looks normal) in the body of your blog post and in its tittle.

Y’know when you search for something like ‘sweet sixteen party ideas’ in Google, and when the search results appear, the words ‘sweet sixteen’, ‘party’, ‘party ideas’ in most of the search results are in bold font? Yeah, those words in bold are the keywords.

Also, you know how in the WP Reader there are some words in blue positioned on top before the posts in the Reader? They are also keywords.

Every blogging niche has its own set of unique keywords. Keywords are the phrases or words people mostly type in when making searches on the Internet. Placing these selected keywords in your post gives it a higher chance of being ranked high in search results by search engines.

Now I know you might be thinking: I run a lifestyle blog just for fun, and I really don’t need all this SEO gibberish.

Well, that’s what you think.

If your aim as a blogger is to share with only the community of bloggers on WP, then that’s fine for you. But I believe that even as a lifestyle blogger, it is important to make efforts to push your blog’s readership beyond the WordPress community, and using keywords in your posts helps you do just that.

In case you still feel unmoved, here’s the results of a search I once made on: teen lifestyle bloggers:

Lexie used keywords in her post tittle and in the body of her post. Now, tell me who wouldn’t click on this article written by a teen blogger that appeared on page 1 of Google’s search results for teen lifestyle bloggers?

Not me.

So in case I have you convinced, check out number 6 in this post by TwinsMommy.

3. Create social media presence for your blog.

Make a page for it on Facebook, invite your Facebook friends to visit the page and your blog site. Create an Insta account for your blog, share updates on your latest posts (using more of pictures), and don’t forget to input a URL to your blog’s latest posts in your bio.

Social media presence is very important, as it can help you to share updates with your followers, interact with them privately in through messages, and, of course, grow your blog’s readership.

And just an addy: If you think you can, you can as well open a Medium account with your blog’s name. You can post your content on Medium as well as WordPress.

Medium has its own way of ranking posts, and it also has a whole new community of readers.

I got this point from Lexie of What Lexie Loves. Although she’s stopped blogging, she had a Medium account linked to her blog where she posted articles from her original blog. Here’s a screenshot of my favourite Medium post of hers:

4. Tell your friends about it – physically, I mean.

I once got, like, a hundred additional views on my Blogger blog, all because I told a friend of mine about my blog and asked him to tell his friends about it.

He asked me to do a feature post about him, and he would share the link to it via WhatsApp. I enjoyed a huge hike in my stats back then.

In your discussions with your friends, neighbours, relatives and other people, about topics that you write about on your blog, you can tell them about your blog and what it’s about. And even if you don’t want them to know that it’s your blog, you can just give them the URL and a promise of quality content.

5. Reach out to other bloggers.

It would be meaningless to just write blog posts that only your friends and family read. How does that make you a famous blogger?

Even though most people might start up their blogs just for fun, it would still be nice if your blog was read by a variety of people.

Taking part in blogger collabs, interviews, tags, and even guest posting on other bloggers’ sites are great ways to really put yourself out there.

6. Offer value in every post.

This is more particular to lifestyle blogs. Although it’s interesting to read about another person’s life. If that’s the only thing you ever write about on your blog, it’ll get boring fast.

Instead of making a plain old post where you babble about the stress and changes in your life, a better option would be to make a post on how to cope with stress and change in one’s life, using your personal experiences as a backbone.

Find out a way you can educate your readers in every post. Think out lessons, advice and tips from your day-to-day experiences and share them alongside your life updates.

And that’s the end of this little series. I hope you enjoyed the posts, and I hope even more that the blogging do’s were helpful. Here’s the ~part 1~ in case you missed it.

Have any questions or additions? Tell me your thoughts in the comments below.

Thanks for reading, 😄

Dishing out blogging advice, 🥧

Blogging Do’s for Every Blogger. ~Part 1~

Hey, readers!

Having been blogging for about 5 months, I’ve made it a personal point of duty to pen down observations I make about blogging as I go. And today, I wish to share with you:

blogging do’s for every blogger. 💙

They’re quite a lot, so I’ve broken them up into two parts. The Part 2’s coming soon. 😉

And so, I begin…

1.Make your homepage appealing.

When a blogger links to your blog, it’s often going to be your blog’s homepage. So, it’s important for you to have a beautiful homepage. Not a nice homepage, not a good homepage, but a beautiful homepage. This is must-have number one.

Make sure you use colours that complement each other, and colours that are not too sharp in the eyes; otherwise you’ll scare your potential follower away.

To augment your aesthetics, I recommend that you include the ‘Latest Posts’ block in your homepage, so as to give readers a sample of your posts and (hopefully) get them to read.

Lastly, it’s best to write a little intro about your blog and link to your ‘About’ or ‘Posts’ page.

But in case you simply just want your homepage to display your latest posts, that’s fine too. 😚

A blogger I know with breathtaking homepages is: Suhani. And another blogger I know with with a beautiful website is Evin.

2.Give your posts feeling with EM.O.JIS 😜

I’ve come across some blogs whose posts are bereft of emojis, and I’m like:

oh no, no, no 😩

Even though when I began blogging, I only knew the

🙂          😦          ❤        ^-^

emoji symbols(the first three would turn to actual emojis in WordPress, FYI), as I began finding more blogs, I kept wondering how they inputted emojis in their posts. At first I thought it because they wrote posts with their mobile devices, but then I realised that that wasn’t the case. So I browsed out how to input emojis into text on a PC, and I found that on Windows 8 versions, this can be done by holding the Windows key + the full stop/ period key at the same time.

Blog posts should really be coloured up with emojis. They give posts feeling and make them more readable and interesting.👌🏿

So, if you aren’t dolling up your post with emojis, try it out – but don’t overdo it, it’ll just get annoying. 🙄

3. Let your blog design complement your content.

I don’t know about you, but for me, a blog will never be perfect. From time to time, we will always feel the need to add some new designs to our blogs – and that’s okay. But remember to style your blog in line with what it’s all about – let the design, colours and fonts complement the content.

4. Eye candy is very important.

In a time when quality, high definition images are 99% of what people look out for in almost any content, quality images in your blog post will make all the difference. I know why I stress ‘quality’:

99.9% of viewers DO NOT want to see blurred, disproportionate images.

For me, if I go to a site and see such and images, I’ll look for another site if I’m not in much of a rush, or if I don’t know any other site where I can get better written content.

Images attract readers, and putting images here and there throughout you blog post keep them interested. But DO NOT use irrelevant images. Make sure the images you use communicate idea and feeling of your article.

Lastly, don’t place images after every paragraph. Even though images are necessary, putting in too much of them will just get annoying, draw attention away from the actual article, and look amateurish.

5. Try to make your blog post link descriptive.

I mean, tell a little about the blog post in the link. If the tittle does that already, use the tittle.

E.g.:

BLOG POST TITTLE: 6 Things to Keep in Mind Before Choosing a Career.

BLOG POST LINK: https://essasnotes.wordpress.com/2022/04/25/6-things-to-keep-in-mind-before-choosing-a-career-path/

So, you see that from the link alone, the viewer knows that in the blog post, they will find out six things he/she should keep in mind before choosing a career.

And using descriptive links can also be helpful when your post’s tittle is too long. Instead of having the whole string of words as your link, shorten it into something readable.

Having descriptive links is also good for SEO. Though I’m far from being an SEO guru, I know enough to know that short links that tell something about a post get higher rankings in Search Engine results than long, confusing ones.

6. Keep your blog post tittle short and catchy.

Let it capture all that the blog post is about. I once was making a little research on organizations that advance girls in tech. I wouldn’t have clicked on this link to an article on SheKnows if its tittle didn’t read:

9 organizations committed to helping girls kick butt in tech fields.

Honestly ‘kick butt in tech fields’ is what got my attention and click; even though its link was less attractive:

9 organizations committed to helping girls kick butt in tech fields

So you see that a blog post’s title can be that important in determining whether or not it’s link will get clicked on.

7. Try out linking.

As a blogger, you can either link to your own content, or the content of other bloggers/content creators.

Linking to content on other websites boosts their traffic, so be sure to notify them of this (through email, perhaps) so they might just return the favour.

And linking to other posts of your own keeps readers moving around your site. I was elated when, some time ago, I got a like on one of my very old posts. That was made possible because of linking to other articles on your blog.

But please remember to link relevantly. Don’t just stuff links all over the place; it scares readers away.

TIP:The linking technique I believe is best is the one I call the linking-sentences technique. Here are examples:

  • “Starting up as a new blogger can be hard, what with all the hard choices you’ll have to make. But other than making choices of niches, social media advert techniques and all others, the area where most beginner bloggers fail is in the choice of a blogging platform. Here’s a post of mine that wisely points you to the best blogging platform,when compared to all others.

The linking techniques you should not be trying are these:

TECHNQ 1: “… I wrote an entire post about it. You can read it here.”

This technique does work, but the linking-sentences technique works better and is more interesting.

TECHNQ 2: I don’t know if this is from the way the site is structured, but I’ve come across many articles where after a few paragraphs, a link to other posts is placed thus:

Read also: Nine Ways to Stay in Shape this Month.

This might get readers to click, but some readers might also find it annoying.

So use the most acclaimed linking technique: the linking-sentences technique.

8. Don’t try to sound too important and knowledgeable

Don’t try to sound important and smart by using long sentences and big grammar (you’ll bore a lot of readers away). I relate better with articles that are written in every day conversational language, than with those written like they were picked out of a textbook for professors.

And because of this, even though you can write your articles any way you want, I advise you write in everyday language, because it will engage your readers more.

9. Write about topics that interest you.

If you’re writing about something you aren’t interested in, your readers won’t like it, too. Don’t force yourself to write about things you aren’t interested in just because you think your readers will like it. Write what you like, and those who like it too will read.

10. Look back at your posts.

As we advance as bloggers, it’s normal to forget about old posts. But I advise that once in a while, you should visit your site and read through old posts. You might be surprised to find out errors, broken links, images that don’t show up, or might even get new ideas we can add to the post.

Revisiting old posts is important because that one old post full of errors might just be the one that a new viewer of your site might upon. And if the post is terrible, he/she will vamoose from your site.

And still on looking at posts, whenever you make a post, immediately check how it looks on your site and in the WordPress Reader, so you can check if all your aesthetics and formatting appeared the way you wanted them to.

And these are my blogging do’s for every blogger. Even though you might be an old blogger, I hope there were some points here that got you thinking.

Thanks for reading, and look out for the ~part 2~!

Dishing out blogging advice, 🥧

6 Things to Keep in Mind Before Choosing a Career Path.

Hey, readers!

I know, I know, before I made my previous post, I went on another unannounced break. I’ll explain in two words: exam preparations. My posting will be scanty till I go to boarding school in the first week of May. 😥

I recently had an eye-opener on the importance of avoiding destructive influence when choosing a career. And to help me exploit my exposé, I penned down some factors to keep in mind while one decides on a career. And I’m happy to be sharing them with you today.

Here they are!

1.Choose a career that feels natural.🌸

Choose a career path that you’ve always felt drawn to, like it’s been ‘calling’ you, form the time you knew what careers were. A ‘natural’ career often originates from a talent or natural ability of yours.

Look out for that thing you do perfectly with little effort, that thing you always find yourself drawn to no matter how hard you try to suppress it, which – when you finally get it done – makes you feel peaceful and happy.

That should point you to your career path.

For me, that ‘thing’ is writing. I find writing, and words as a whole, so easy to handle that earlier on in my life, I wanted to be a writer. But in later years, I chose a new career path in technology, and I’m learning that tech is so flexible an industry that even writing can be absorbed into it… with the right amount of creativity.

So by embracing my talent, my career path is a nice balance of writing + tech + creativity!

2. Don’t be daunted by sayings of ‘going out of your comfort zone.’🚀😴

There are a lot of sayings about pushing limits and getting out of comfort zones, but don’t let that influence your choice. Everyone has a natural limitation and a special role he/she is meant to play on earth.

Know that a comfort zone can be our little get-away for brainstorming, and it can also be the birthplace of an unexpected leap of progress, depending on how we choose to utilize ours.

3. Remember the academic requirements of the career.🤓

Take time to ask about and google out the subject requirements for of the course you wish to pursue, so you can be sure you can handle it when you face it properly in the university.

4. Have friends of similar interest /career paths.💕

This helped me so much in the early days choosing of technology as my career path. In times of frustration and confusion, a little chat with such friends of mine refueled my confidence. 💪🏿

And even with writing. Seeing fellow bloggers who write about relatable topics gives me the morale and joy to keep writing. 🤗

And even if you have no ‘physical’ friends of similar interest, there are always chatrooms, social media groups, organizations that reach out through internet platforms, and other online outlets where you can connect with like-minded peeps.

Such an organization that reaches out to people online is Girls Who Code. Although they operate physically in America (New York, mainly) and India, I believe, they reach out to, encourage, help foster sisterhood in tech, and give opportunities to girls outside of these countries who wish to venture into tech.

5. DO NOT choose a career because of ‘people’.🏃🏿‍♀️

I repeat, DO NOT choose your career path only because of:

  • your grades in school. It’s normal (at least in my country) for teachers and counselors to advise students with high grades to go into sciences. It’s okay to listen to your gut feeling and pursue your interest, even if it conflicts with the advice you’ve been given.
  • people’s expectations. Maybe, just maybe, there is a person/persons who’ve supported you for a long time, majorly because of your initial career path.

Don’t let the fear of their reactions or of disappointing them keep you from dropping a career you’re no longer interested in.

people’s general perceptions of you. Maybe people who’ve been around you for a really long time that know you at a personal level might often suggest a career path as ‘right for you’. If it really doesn’t appeal to you, don’t be influenced.

6. Be sure that you aren’t just trying to take the easy way out.🤔

Yeah, yeah.

Even after all, the truth should still be said. Some people just back down from their initial career choice because they want to run away from the challenges of that career. And most times they find that, in hindsight, they were actually capable of scaling those challenges, if only they had tried harder.

Most times, people back down from careers like engineering because of maths (like I wanted to). But we should learn, even as we know our limits, not to be afraid of obstacles – ‘cause we’re going to have to overcome them at some point in order to move forward.

So be sure before making a choice of career. Even though we can always make a change, I advise not wasting our creative energy on frequent changes. 😊

Which of these headings can you relate to the most?

Is there any point you wish to add?

We’re all learning here, let me know what you have to say in the comments below!

Thanks for reading!

Stay cool… and springy, 😎🌺🌼

A Girl’s Expectations – A Collab with Maggie.

Before I begin, I wish to thank Maggie for agreeing to do this collab post with me. It really means a lot to me as a new blogger! 💜🧡🤍

A girl’s expectations. That’s a rather broad topic. And I mean a reeeaaallly broad topic, when considering the many, many dreams the average girl has.

Every girl has things she looks forward to achieving in her lifetime, her expectations. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that the expectations of all girls, notwithstanding diversity factors, can be linked to one another in some ways, because a girl will always be a girl.

But even though we as girls have common, underlying expectations, the different societies we find ourselves in tend to influence some aspects of our expectations.

So what are we doing?

Are our anticipations changing or not?

In this post, I’ll be answering these questions (and more) from my perspective – a Nigerian Igbo girl’s.

JUST A NOTE: Maggie’s headings were in the form of the questions I asked her to answer; I’ll be answering the same questions, but not in the same way as her headings.

That make sense?

Okay, here we go!

Obeying Society’s Norms. 🙆🏿‍♀️

In Igboland, and in Nigeria as a whole, no matter how intelligent a girl might be, she is only said to be a true girl if she knows how to handle domestic activities: cooking, cleaning, balancing her academics/work and would-be family requirements, managing stress, and all she can do to be a balanced woman-to-be. And we learn this domestic aspect from our moms, from childhood up until we leave our houses at adulthood.

In times past, that was enough. Back then, with a well-grounded domestic background, a girl was more than sure of getting married to a good husband. But that was all people thought a girl was good for back then.

Nowadays, with so much exposure in our societies, the eyes of us girls have been opened regarding our capabilities, and the lengths we can reach, thus bringing about change.

Strong, brave Nigerian woman like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Buchi Emecheta, Dora Akunyili, Chioma Ajunwa, Genevieve Nnaji, Omotola, and many other women, were some of the first to realise this, and they blazed the trail for us girls to follow, and to even create new ones of our own.

By default, in the traditional Igbo society, girls are meant to follow the dictations of society. If a girl does something that strikes up noise, or causes heads to wag, she should stop it at once. Girls are meant to be obedient and quiet to a fault, only doing and saying what they are asked to, especially in terms of careers.

But thankfully, with our parents being exposed to the male-female balance in workplaces of the world, they are letting us go into careers we choose, and letting us realise our potentials.

But in other cases where a girl might want to go into a career in entertainment (acting, modelling, music, etc.), for example, the average Nigerian parent disagrees and tells her to ‘be sensible’ and go into a more professional field. 😥

And if she remains unwavering, her parents often leave her to her fate; because in Nigeria, professionalism and corporate jobs are held in high esteem. People in entertainment are widely seen as ‘loose’ and ‘spoilt’.

Freedom.💃🏿

A girl’s freest age is adulthood. At childhood and teenage, she is still heavily under her parents, and these are the shaping years. We all know that at teenage, teens tend to crave freedom and independence.

The case is no different with Nigerian girls, but we are only allowed a small bit of freedom, as our parents, teachers and elders are never too far away to discipline us when we try to go too far.

Parents fear the behavioural outcomes of teens abroad. From what we see in movies and the likes, teens abroad can be openly sexually active and/or homosexual; when a teen disrespects an elder, no serious punishment is given; teens abroad can choose their own lifestyles, deviant or not, and parents often take no severe action.

Whether the image portrayed in movies, books and on social media is true, Nigerian parents fear that the same fate awaits their children, and so the average Nigerian parent doesn’t even give their child a smartphone (or even any phone) till he/she is (at least) done with secondary school.

They closely monitor their children, most rigidly during teenage, and make sure they are never too far away when they reach adulthood; all just so their child does not ‘spoil’ or become wrongly exposed.

Is Religiosity a Must?🙏🏿

In my view, the most actively religious people in my country are Igbos – our religion widely being Christianity. Igbos believe that a girl can only effectively overcome the challenges she is to face in life if she is actively spiritual.

Not a lot of emphasis on spirituality is laid on boys as it is on girls, because if in a marriage, for example, the wife is actively spiritual, the family is okay. The woman can rub off her spirituality on her husband, or be the one to pray the family out (in a case where the husband fails to pick up).

And girls who are not actively spiritual can most times be said to be ‘loose’ or ‘spoilt’, because it is highly considered that spirituality = morality.

What Our Society Should Really Expect.😊

While I actually commend my society’s rigidity towards the upbringing of young people, especially girls, I still frown at parents who dictate to their children what to do, holding them with an iron fist.

The older generation of Nigeria should learn that the world we live in encourages diversity, and young people, especially girls, should be given the chance to pursue their right, unique aspirations.

Societal groups should stop stereotyping. In Nigeria, when a girl tries to make a statement, tries to be different, tries something new, she is gossiped about and backlashed – and this is seen as normal!

These gossips and side-talks kill our morale and make us doubt who we are and our capabilities. Societal groups, especially women, should learn to give us young girls a chance to express ourselves rightly – not killing our buds before they bloom.

My Advice to Girls Worldwide.🌍

Your expectations are unique and personal, girl. Never waver in whatever you’ve decided to achieve in your lifetime, no matter what. Here are some points I can give to help you out with this:

  • Embrace your diversity. Diversity I mean here is your unique aspirations. Don’t be moved by ‘what everyone expects of me’. The only person that matters is YOU. Do what you love, and those who truly love you will appreciate you for it.
  • Morality is the emphasis. Yes, in my society, it is believed that spirituality = morality, but nowadays I find that that is not always the case. Do what is right, especially in terms of morality and sexuality.

I won’t lie, I’m not a fan of LGBT movements, because I see them as unnatural. But whatever it is you choose, always make sure you do what is right: try to be positive, lend a helping hand whenever you can, and try to put a smile on someone’s face every day.

  • Respect your body. Still linked to the morality point, anyway. I again commend my society for kicking against sexually active teens and unmarried adults.

I’m not against dating, even as a teen, but make sure you’re serious with your relationships. Jumping from one relationship to the other will only distract your attention and make you lose focus.

  • Listen to your heart. We’re girls. We have it going on when it comes to listening to our hearts. Always be sure that every step you take – big or small – is in harmony with your dreams and aspirations. Never do anything you aren’t at peace with.
  • Work hard. Never neglect the steps you need to take to get to where you want to be.

Put your head down and run, girl. Run towards your dreams! 🏃🏿‍♀️

I once again thank Maggie for doing this collab with me. I look forward to doing more collabs with you in the future!

Head on over to her site to read her post on the topic. I bet it’s a really amazing one!

Thanks for reading!

Feeling inspired, 😇🙏🏿

March Wrap-Up + A Blog Makeover.💄

Hey, readers!

Happy new month!

Oooookay, so I’m back at my laptop click-clacking at the keyboard for another blog post. 💻 Did my little blogging fam notice my time out? Well, the whole thing started out with the shock-ING (or is it SHOCK-ing?) number of likes I got for this post.

But all that’ll be discussed later on. Let the wrap-up begin…

Blogging.

Blogggggginnnnnng

Blogggggiiiiiinnnnnggg

Blllloooogggiiiing

Um, I guess for this month I made… one post? Here it is in case you missed out on it:

I felt really bad when, after publishing this post, I headed over to WP to check and only saw one like. One like.

ONE LIKE!

I was like: I have 33 followers, why should a post, ANY post of mine have just ONE like?!

I felt really bad. I felt like I’m just wasting my time and mobile data blogging. I started recalling the fact that my posts don’t even get comments.

A simple ‘Nice post, Vanessa’ will be much appreciated.

HONESTLY SPEAKING TO WHOEVER READS THE ARTICLES I WRITE ON THIS BLOG, I’M FEELING VERY DISCOURAGED. I’M NOT SAYING YOU SHOULD ‘LIKE’ POSTS YOU DON’T REALLY LIKE, BUT FOR THOSE YOU DO REALLY LIKE, YOU CAN ALSO DO WELL BY LEAVING ME A COMMENT TELLING ME HOW MUCH YOU DID LIKE THEM.

P.L.E.A.S.E.

To whom it may concern.

So, it was that feeling and my second term exams / WAEC mock exams (also being my last official exams in secondary school 😭) that kept me from WP and from blogging for about three weeks.

And I believe I’ll also go on another timeout, ‘cause JAMB mock exams start on April 9th soooo, yeah. And I also have to start preparing my things for my two-and-a-half months stay in boarding school for my WAEC exams.

Yeah, you hrrd right: I’ll be going to boarding school for my senior school exams! 🚶🏿‍♀️ 🧳🛏 It’s just a little heads up.

But when I checked out WP on April 1st, the day we finished our exams, I saw some really cheery comments some bloggers that found my blog during my break left me. They cheered me up and encouraged me in the measure they could. 🌻☀🌞

The amazing people are 🧡:

  • Elisha – I really would have followed you, but I don’t really follow story or writing blogs, because I lose interest in them after a while. So, to keep things honest, I didn’t.
  • Justjubi – When I followed their link, I found the person’s site had been deleted, soooo no link.

At last, I found a new blogger this month. And shii izz:

And at last’s last, I gave my blog a makeover 🎨💄🎀 – a rather small one, actually. I just tweaked up things like colours and added some new… stuff. I wanted to wait till my blog’s 1-year anniversary to change my blog’s appearance, but that’ll be by November, and that’s too long a wait. 😑 So head over to my site if you’re viewing this in the Reader, and please tell me what you think of it in the comments!

Sorry this segment turned out to be so long.

My Spiritual Life.

In this part of my life last month, I was fairly neutral. Falling and getting up, falling and getting up. I believe it was an improvement when compared to last month.

A 4/10, I believe.

I’m beginning to see, as I grow and get into new situations that being godly isn’t as easy as it used to be when I was younger. It takes constant effort, when you fail even when after said you’d try to never fail that badly again, to not give up on yourself. It takes bravery to talk to God when you’re going through hurt, because most times we think we can think out the pain-killer ourselves… but we can’t.

This month, after going to church on Sundays, I would feel really motivated to write a You and God post, but when I do get time to write it, I feel inadequate, like an impostor, like I’m not worthy, like a hypocrite that says one thing and does another. I know we are made worthy by God’s grace, but I had always decided to wait till I was back firmly on my feet, so that the articles I wrote would not condemn me.

But as I write this now, I realise that the articles I write should not condemn me. Rather, they should caution me. Caution me to live as I preach, reminding me that I have an audience that grabs on to the words I write concerning Christian living. So, guys, get ready for You and God articles in April.

My Personal Life.

My personal life was as well neutral, I guess. With my boyfriend, I’ve learnt some more lessons about trusting him: I can. Notwithstanding the palaver of him looking for trouble, and me giving him trouble of my own, February was blissful for us, actually. 💕

The other part of my personal life concerns my family, my friends and classmates. It’s safe to say I bore my burdens well this month, and didn’t have any serious emotional breakdowns.

*hehehe*

Again, I realised this month that I have an amazing friend who has and (hopefully) will always have my back.

And the person I used to call my close friend showed me that he was never really even an acquaintance, after all these years.😥

*mixed feelings*

School Life.

I guess the only part of my life that I actively worked at this month was my school life. This is the first time in my life that my exam scores ACTUALLY determine my future.

Maybe I didn’t put that right.

I just mean that not reaching the required cut-off mark for my dream university is going to be a big blow to me, y’know. So I’m all jittery, trying my best to study, take away distractions, and am constantly scolding myself when I fail to reach a goal.

I’m. Just. Tryna. Be. Focused. And. Serious. And. All.

Wish me luck with exams, guys!

And I promise to formally inform you (for all who care) …

*harsh… but true*

… when I’ll be going on my break for my JAMB mock exams and when I’ll be going to boarding school.

Still waiting for my WAEC mock exam results…

*ankshoussss 😬*

So that’s my March recap. I really loved reading Evin’s March wrap-up. She tagged it: a summary of march ‘2022 🍃 ‘cause she didn’t want to use the usual ‘… wrap-up’ format. I really love her posts. She’s not posting so frequently nowadays, but her writing style remains the same: she’s cool, mature and artistic. And also my biggest encouragement to keep on blogging.

I really want to hear what you think of my blog adjustments, and of the post in general! So please leave your comments, readers!

Thanks for reading.

😐

P.S Don’t you just uh-dore this pic? It’s the featured image I made myself for my February Wrap-Up, and I can’t stop loving it! 😍

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, 💋

February Wrap-Up.

Hey, readers!

Happy new month!

As the tittle reveals, this is my wrap-up post for the month of February (AKA the month of looooove💕)!

In the absence of further preambles, here is the run-down of my Feh-bu-ah-ree (as a majority say in Nigeria – including me):

Blogging

I believe that, all things being fair, I was active in the blogging fam this month. This month, my followers count moved up to 29 followers.

And some other ✨exciting news:✨this month, I got nominated for my first blogger tag/award! The tag was named The Remarkable Blogger Tag. It was started by Selina of The Never-Ending Writes. If you’d like to check out the post, click here

Uuuuummm, I don’t think I found any new blogs this month – no, wait. Yes, I did.

I actually found two new blogs this month. They are:

They’re both really amazing blogs which I believe you’ll like.

And in case you missed any of my posts this month, here’s a rundown of them all:

Wow. That’s a loooot of posts. Probably the most I’ve ever posted in a whole month. February did me good on this side, I guess.👏🏿

Spiritual Life

This month, my spirituality was floaty. It felt like I was just going with the motions. I still prayed and talked to God, but it didn’t really feel concrete and heartfelt – it felt like it was done out of habit. 😥

And I believe this ‘down-ness’ was the reason why I didn’t write any post in the You and God category of Ọlaedo this month.😢

I really hate it that I’m down more often than I’m up. I fall a lot. But y’know what they say: when you fall, you rise up again; the downfall of a man is not the end of his life.

So, I’m optimistic that I’ll be better in my spirituality in March. Having already begun making plans and setting goals (with God’s help), I believe March will be better.

Personal Life

There isn’t really much to say here for this month. Most of my personal life was influenced by my School Life. Aside from (trying) to read for my exams, I’m still learning a lot about trust, what it means to care about those important to you before yourself, and keeping my mouth under control.

???

I mean, it’s not like I’m talkative or anything, but it’s just that I need to learn to mind the way I talk. I’m a victim of this because I normally don’t talk much, so I feel like if I have to censor out even the handful I say, then I’m ‘letting other people determine my words’. And this just makes me feel like I’m being controlled.

But then I remember some verses from Proverbs:

A wise man holds his tongue. Only a fool blurts out everything he knows; that only leads to sorrow and trouble.

Proverbs 10:14. The Living Bible

From a wise mind comes careful and persuasive speech.

Proverbs 16:23. The Living Bible

I’m still learning a lot of things on the Personal side, but I believe I’m making progress. And I’m thankful that I have amazing people in my life who will always tell me the truth and point me to the right thing.

School Life

I guess it’s okay to say that I’m now officially a JAMBITE. This means that I’m now a candidate of JAMB UTME (Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination).

🎊✨🎉🎈🥳

Not yet, emojis. Not yet.

*emojis whine and quietly hop back*

The heart of the journey is yet to come. My classmates and I often solve past JAMB and WASSCE (West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examination) questions. WAEC questions are okay, doable. But JAMB questions are hard.

I really need to intensify my study efforts. There’s a classmate of mine who wants to study pharmacy. She’s begun private home lessons and has bought all the books required for the exams. I don’t think I will be able to do private lessons, but I will read – hard.

Many times I think I should drop blogging just till my exams are over (by July). But I worry about how much my blog will suffer.

And then a voice asks me: Your blog and passing your exams, which one is more important?

My exams, I answer

So what do you think you should do?

Prioritize. Make time for them both, according to their levels of importance.

That’s what I’ve resolved to do. Is it okay? Or should I focus entirely on my exams? I’d really love to hear from you in the comments.

So, that’s about it. I hope you enjoyed reading the wrap-up of my February. Please give me your advice on my approach to my exams and blogging. And some study tips will also be very welcome! 😊

But I hate it that no amount of study tips given will ever work until you consistently put them into action.

*snort*

There’s that 99% action and 1% idea again.

*rolls eyes and huffs*

Anyway, thanks for reading. And thanks again to all my new followers and viewers. But I hugely thank all to my active readers, the peeps who always like my posts, and comment when they can. Your actions are very heartfelt, and I believe my words are making an impact.

🌹🌻🌼🌷

Ciao, 💋

P.S Hope you like my featured image. 😊 I would never have made it as beautifully as I did if it weren’t for Evin’s post, How I Make My Featured Images // Tutorial. It’s a 100% recommended read.