The Thing with Growing Up.

Hey, readers!

There isn’t much to say in the way of an introduction to this post, because the tittle is self-explanatory.

There is a thing with the move to adulthood. There is a hidden flaw in growing up. Okay, not a hidden flaw, but we all must admit that on getting to the point of crossing the line of childhood into adulthood, we realise that… IT SOOOO WASN’T WHAT WE IMAGINED IT WOULD BE!

I don’t know about you, though; this is my personal finding.

From the time I was little, I used to say: I hate being a child. I wish I was an adult so I could go out whenever I want and be free.

I remember saying this to my aunties once upon a time. And one of them told me: There are other things attached to being an adult. It’s not just about going out and being free – free, even, to what extent? Being a child is much better than being an adult, so enjoy this time while you have it. Years later, I’m thinking back to her statement and realizing how true it was.

The commitments and stress and hard choices that come with growing up make us realise that we had it way better when we were kids or in our early teens.

I remember, back when I was about seven or so, being obsessed with bras. 😂😂🙈 Whenever my mum or any of my aunties removed their bras and left the room, I would sneak in and wear them. One day, I was caught. But my aunty wasn’t angry at me, she even thought it was funny seeing the oversized bra clasped around my small body. She told me something: You’re eager to wear bra when you don’t even have breasts yet. When you then get breasts what will happen? Don’t rush to wear bras, because a time will come when you’ll even be tired of wearing them.

My inexperienced little mind was flabbergasted at the statement. How could someone ever be tired of wearing a bra?! So I replied her: I’m never going to be tired of wearing bras.

She just told me: Watch and see. One day, you’ll say it with your own mouth that you’re tired of them.

Once again, years later, I really am tired of wearing bras. In fact, I made this same statement just some days ago!

As children and as early teenagers, we want to grow up so quickly. But when we finally get to that border, we begin to appreciate how good we had it back when we were younger.😥

And we can’t reverse it. Once we’re there, we’re there. There’s this pic a friend of mine posted on her WhatsApp status:

Yeah. Sometimes, broken pencils and unfilled homework are far better than the things we experience as we mature. But it’s fine. We always move. Regardless. 💪🏿💪🏿💪🏿

There a handful of cons attached to growing into an adult, there are a lot more responsibilities and stress. But here’s what I’ve got to tell you:

1.Change your viewpoint.

When going through a difficulty, or when you seem stuck in a frustrating situation, it’s completely normal to complain and feel… well, frustrated – and angry, too. But the best way to overcome uncomfortable circumstances is to change your viewpoint. There’s a saying that often comes to mind whenever I’m in sticky situations – I heard it on the radio back in 2017 or so:

When you change the way you see things, the things you see change.

You need to stop and look at things from another angle. Since you’re on the receiving end of the difficulty, why don’t you try stopping and observing the whole thing from an outsider’s point of view?

Doing this really helps, especially when you are in an argument with someone, or find yourself behaving differently to someone as a way of revenge. That kind of attitude weighs you down and makes you unhappy – I know what I’m saying. The unhappiness thus leads to your difficulty and frustration.

Stop and ask questions like you are an outsider: what caused the misunderstanding? What is the story on both sides? Is acting this way really the best? What if I tried handling it this way? And the rest of them.

Remember, in times of difficulty, not just when you have a misunderstanding with someone, always look at things from a new angle. I’m not guaranteeing you that the trouble will end, but it will help you bear it a lot happier.

2.There are always two sides of the story.

A sequel to the previous point. Don’t judge just by what you think you know, or just based on what you feel. Ask, think, and find out the other side of things before concluding or taking actions.

3.Don’t give discouragement way.

Don’t give way to negative vibes. Yes, life’s unfair, and no one is ever really sure of how things’ll turn out. But that doesn’t mean you should sink into pessimism, or listen to those who already have.

Life’s so unfair. Things only go well for a few people in the world, while the rest suffer.

Why bother trying again when all I do is fail?

The divide between the rich and the poor is so wide now. We poor and middle-class people will never have a chance at a comfortable life.

These are pessimistic statements, which should not be listened to, unless if you want to remain stagnant in life.

As you grow and mature, remove from your life all the people who constantly greet you with negative statements and opinions – whether friends or family. The more you do this, the happier you’ll be.

4. In whatever you do, be consistent.

Anything worth doing is worth doing well.

Be consistent in prayer, be consistent in your academics, be consistent in your good side-hustles, be consistent in everything.

5.You’re amazing. Just the way you are.

There’s more than one side to this:

You’re amazing. There are people you might come across in life that don’t just get you. They’ll never be able to understand the kind of person you are. If you are close to that kind of person, their opinions and statements about you and the way you are may begin to bring you down. Don’t let them.

Live your life. Whoever likes you will like you without reserves. You may think that you’re an oddball, or that no one’s ever going to truly like you. Wrong. You just haven’t met them yet. Life is long if you let it. You’re only just beginning.

And, yes, there are the bad aspects of us. It’s okay to be open to people who caution us about them and give us advice. But maturity comes with having sense, as I would say. So, you should have sense enough to detect when the advice becomes extreme and begins to turn into negativity. We shouldn’t be blind to the bad parts of us, and should try to be better people. But we should be sensible enough to spot bad vibes and zoom.

Your style is your style. Dress as you feel. Dress to your comfort. Yeah, sure, decency is a factor we must always respect, but dressing in a way that makes you feel comfortable and confident is most important, especially at this stage of our lives.

My fashion style is cutesy-comfort with a little extra (of course, it may change as the years go by): oversized sweaters and T-shirts, short, flair skirts (pleated skirts, preferably), sneakers, high flip-flops on a regular day, jean shorts, trousers – shorts are my most comfortable regular-outing wear – some body-hugging tops here and there… It’s plenty. 😂

But generally, my style is cutesy-comfort… with a little extra. 😁

So, yeah. There’s a thing with growing up. The mirage thing. It’s not what it appears to be once you get there. But it’s okay. We’ll get through.

But even after all the serious-serious, philosophical talk, let me also say that: you should enjoy your adulthood!!!

Being an adult only comes once, and after that, marriage and a whole container full of family responsibilities. And from what I know, everything just goes downhill from there. 😔

So just…

Take chances, and sometimes, [just do things on the spur of the moment]; no second, once passed, can ever be brought back… Make lots of memories, and never forget the old ones [because at the end of the day, all we will ever really have to hold on to is our memories of these times].

Vanessa Chidi

Let’s keep the conversation going. For young people just stepping into adulthood, is my point of view about it the same as yours? And if you’re already an adult, is there any advice you can leave for us young adults, or anything you’d like to say in general?

Don’t hesitate to reach out. I’ll be waiting. ⏳

Nostalgic about the good old days, 😥

P.S. There’s this song I’d really love young people, and even adults, to listen to, if you haven’t already. It’s tittled Adulthood by a Nigerian singer, Alade. It’s in line with the theme of this post, and is one of the things that inspired me write this. I first heard it when I was in boarding school. You can watch it on YouTube, or listen to it on your fave music streaming site. 💖

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4 Key Things I’ve Realised about Talents.

I’ve actually wanted to write something like this for some time – since 2020, actually – but it was only an engagement at my workplace that made me sit down and turn my thoughts into writing.

I personally love topics bordering on ‘talents’. I always have, since the time I knew what talents were, because I love showcasing or telling people about my talents.😁 And so, in this post, I’ll be writing on four key things I’ve come to realise about talents.

Will I say etymologically? 🤔 Originally, rather, the content of this post was beefed up from the Bible passage popularly known as The Parable of the Talents – which can be found in Mathew 25: 14-30 🤓. So, references will be made to the Bible story.

 I really don’t need to begin defining what talents are, but for formality’s sake, a talent is a natural ability to do something well.

And so, here’s what I have to say on talents:

1.Everyone has a talent. 🌸

Everyone was born with a talent. It’s like, a constant feature in the manufacturing of humans. Some people have just one talent, some have one outstanding talent and a few other recessive talents, and some have a multiple outstanding talents. Whichever way the combination comes, know that YOU ARE TALENTED. So don’t feel like there’s no natural ability you can offer the world.

2.No talent is too small. 🤏🏿

Taking from the Bible story, the servant given one talent must have felt like he had been cheated, being given one talent, while the others were given two and five talents. And so, he decided to bury his talent, saying that he would give his master his talent just as he had given it to him – no improvement attached.

But what he didn’t know was that his one talent was given to him according to his ability. The master shared the talents according to his servants’ abilities. And that is the same with us.

The fact that we were given one talent shouldn’t make us begin to compare it with a person who has multiple talents. A talent is a talent – big or small. The one we get is ours and ours alone.

3. Your talents won’t showcase themselves. 😏

Okay, okay.

You’ve found out your talents. Check.

You’ve realised that no talent is too small. Double check.

And now, you have to WORK ON YOUR TALENTS.

If you can sing, what are you doing with it? If you can draw, how are you showing what you can do? If you can write, hellllooooooo, where are you on the map? You have talents? Awesome! Now get to work. 😶

There activities you can engage in to bring yourself out, and as well grow your talents. I remember when I first started writing, back in Year 4 (grade/primary 4 for most schools in Nigeria). Fast forward to today, I’m still writing (not for money, though) but my writing is far better than it was back then. Why? Because I keep at it, writing constantly every chance I get. From writing numerous pages of fiction stories to writing ‘foolscap-fulls’ of essays to writing poetry on the sidelines to blogging, writing has carried me throughout the years to this day. I have other talents, but writing is a talent I pride myself on and work on more than all my other talents.

And that should be the same story for you. Whether it’s dancing, baking, crafts, music, or even organizing (yes, people are natural dead-serious organizers and planners! That’s a profitable skill nowadays) you’re naturally good at, you have to find out things to do that will keep you using your abilities so you can keep growing them to your own benefit. 😊

4.You are accountable for your talents. 🧐

This a little part of the preceding point. Our talents were given to us even before birth for our own use and benefit. Someone gave them to us, and He expects us to use them well. The feeling of inferiority in the face of others, or even the feeling of being over-burdened with ‘reality’ and all our ‘more pressing commitments’ can make us think that activities that grow our talents are unimportant. Well they’re not. Talents are important. Talents are tools that can be used to solve your life’s problems if only you change your viewpoint.

There is time for everything. This not only means that everything has its own time and due season, but also that there is always time for something more.

Vanessa Chidi.

Your talents are not unimportant. Yes, there are urgent needs, but there are also essential needs. Make time to grow your talents. It will make you more fulfilled as a person and boost your self-confidence. And don’t forget to be consistent with it.

I’d love to hear from you! Have you discovered your talent/s? What are you doing to grow them? Is blogging one of your talent-nurturing activities? Are You pursuing a career related to your talents? Lemme know in the comments section. Let’s discuss.

Cheers! 🍻

Wriggling Out.

Hey, readers!

Today’s post is taking a little dark turn – depending on how you wish to look it. I simply tittled it wriggling out just because.

It’s recently been hovering around my mind how many people and teens today have fallen into porn addiction, masturbation, and other kinds of such habits. Porn addiction is a destructive habit that makes you lose focus and causes you to misplace your life’s priorities . Masturbation and other forms of outside-the-box sexual acts are simply just physical displays of a life of porn addictions, which all have consequences that could destabilize your life.

It’s always been my motive to inform, inspire and motivate using my blog. So here I have some things one can do to help, for a person who’s addicted to porn and it’s likes.

1.Clear your mind.

Sit down and think about your situation. As long as you’ve consciously accepted to let go of it, you need to sit down and have a little kind of penitence or remorse; give yourself a little scolding or self-punishment. That’ll help your brain realize that you’ve been doing something wrong, and clear up space for change to begin.

2.Fill up your mind with other things.

Of course, porn occupied a space in your mind. And if you were addicted, it would also be etched as part of your daily routine. And when you begin to try to desist from it, there will be a vacuum – in your mind and in the sequence of your actions. You’ll become kind of uneasy and seemingly jobless. And if you don’t find things to replace that space with, your mind and body will just go back to doing what they’re already accustomed to, and you’ll be getting back into bad habits.

And so, you have to fill in the space. As you clear your mind, remind yourself of things like your dream career and why you want to pursue it, remind yourself of the most important people in your life and why you need to stop the bad habits so you can be the best version of yourself for them, think up positive activities you can engage in around your area that’ll keep you busy. Essentially, just make sure you’re always occupied, and that you have a force pulling you away from porn.

3.Erase all the data.

This is very important, because in the stages where you just started letting go of porn, it’ll still be very easy to fall back. And because of this, you must get rid of everything that could possibly remind you of your bad habits: pictures, videos, audios, objects, everything. You have to do this, because even the smallest glimpse of such things can get you back to thinking those thoughts and doing those things you don’t want to do.

And even as you do this, you should also try to purge your mind of all pornographic memories, and also build up the willpower to fight back those kind of thoughts as often as they’ll pop up in those times.

4. Constantly ask for strength and help.

It’s a hard tussle; there WILL always be times you’ll be tempted: just for a minute, your mind would tell you, and many times, you will give in, only to hate yourself for it afterwards.

At a point, you might even begin to ask yourself where the sense is in constantly trying again, when you always give in to the bad habits at the end of the day. You might even sink into despair, telling yourself you’ll never be able to let it go. And then you might be all: what’s the use of it all? and want to quit

It’s in times like these that you need to ask for help from the Greater Power. You may not be religious or anything. Okay. But you should still try and ask for help with your struggle. I assure you, there’s Someone who’s always listening to our requests and prayers – especially the requests of those who’ve made lots of mistakes. He’ll listen to you, guide you as you progress, and lift you up when you fall.

Know you’ll never be in it alone. And remember that:

no matter how many times you try again and fail, you’ll always be a better person than you were when you hadn’t begun to change, as long as you keep trying.

Your progress may be small, but it’s still something.

Letting go of porn addiction, masturbation and other dirty habits is truly a hard thing to. But by reading this article, it’s been brought to your consciousness the things you can do to let go of it if you’re into such.

Know that it’s your willpower that will help you most through it all. It will be that thing that will force you to get up when you’d rather stay down. You need to work on building it up of you really want to wriggle out of porn addiction.

Godspeed. ♥️

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, 😇🙏🏿