Tuesday, 3 December 2013

No one told me! By Amir Abdullahi

The really important lessons in life aren’t taught in any school. Come to think of it, they are the lessons no one will ever bother telling you about. Perhaps if they did, we wouldn’t go through life wondering why everything we do seems like a chore.

Growing up, people often told me how intelligent I was. Somehow, whenever they mentioned that, I couldn’t help but feel uneasy. I was just doing things by routine. As long as I got high marks, everyone was happy, right? Scoring a perfect on a test felt good. There was no denying that. Unfortunately, I never stopped to ask myself what I wanted to do at that point. I was barely filling out the JAMB form before everyone told me to register for medicine.

I survived the first year of pre-clinicals intact. It was just another year of science courses after all. It took me barely a month of second year to realise I was in the wrong place. Medicine just wasn’t the course for me. I had imagined things will work out as they always did but they didn’t. One week of anatomy was enough to show me I was not where I wanted to be.

The mistake I made was, in all that time when I was busy earning high marks for someone else’s approval, I never stopped to probe my own personality and figure out the things I really wanted to do with my life. Seeing through the looking glass was a process that began really late for me and the consequences still hurt me to this day.

The most precious commodity in the world is time and I ended up wasting three years of mine just because I hadn’t figured out what I wanted from life, hadn’t discovered what my interests were.

Teachers can teach you chemistry, history, physics or literature but none of them will teach you to ask yourself what your goal is. I drifted through almost a decade trying to please other people. That it took a very jarring and painful academic process to awaken me to the truth that I had missed the road a long time ago. No one can turn back the hand of time but if I had the insight into my own mind and personality that I do now, I would have made vastly different choices. I can’t know if they would have turned out for the better but I would have been doing what I wanted to do.

Very soon, I will be a quarter of a century old and I’m still doing catch up for those years I wasted and opportunities I failed to take. At an age when some of my mates are starting their adult lives, I just awakened to my interests.

No one in school will teach you this. If you have still not run headlong into the years between youth and adulthood, then take a deep breath and pause to figure out the things you like and what you expect from life. See if you can see that desire reflected in what you choose to do whether as a University student or elsewhere. Trust me, the choices you make in your teenage years may seem simple but they can haunt your life for a long time to come. That yoke is not easy to shake off.

Amir Abdullahi

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