Bab and Bib were made the same, the idea was to have 1095 days getting used to the planet, 2557 days on preliminary coding, 2192 days on advanced coding, the next 1461 – 2190 days on specialized coding 1 and then an extra 365 to 730 days on specialized coding 2 before beginning the implementation code process that might require other HLSC. Bab always took time off the entire process structure to explore the environment and try other things; the smell of fresh air, the taste of sand and sea water, he tried to fly grow a small farm behind the house (something he really admired from the movies) but alas, he hated it, and when his summer holiday coincided with an uncle’s road trip across the continent, he hopped on the truck and he loved every bit of it; he collected antiques of every kind and culture he ever came across, he was thrilled by them and as he grew older, every summer was spent exploring one land after another.
Bib could not imagine a road trip, it would be too much stress and there could be lions in all those bushes on the lonely road. Bib stuck with the scheduled program and turned out just fine. He knew history from the books, but history was real to Bab because he had travelled the world and seen the artefact it left behind. Bib could teach the next generation with precision because he had studied hard, Bab could show the proofs with his collection of antiques. Bib was not very warm to be around because he had little to say besides what he grabbed from the curriculum; Bab had stories unending and left every conversation with a promise to share more later. They were both successful, but much more than that, Bab was fulfilled, and He had LIVED.
That story had nothing to do with codes and programmes and if you take a second look at the initial numbers based on your first eighteen to twenty years of life, you would find some kind of similarities… Aha! Gotchya! So are you Bib or Bab? Let’s explore another scenario; think of an experience you learned a lot from, one that made you genuinely happy or one you’re really proud of… a story you would like to share if given the opportunity; I’m almost 100% sure it had nothing to do with spending the expected number of years in school or your academic work in itself, if it happened in school, it was definitely something outside the curriculum or an event that would usually not happen to everybody who goes to school, right? Yes, I thought as much.
Like Bib and Bab, we are all inducted into pursuing a pattern of expectations that make us feel disappointed and insufficient every time we fall short or do something outside of the norm. John F. Kenedy said, “Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth”. Exploration is the pathway to discovery, it is in getting involved that we become more aware of ourselves; our strengths, weaknesses, competencies. It’s the way to learn and grow. It’s the way to live. Notice that in your primary school days, you probably wanted to be a doctor, lawyer or accountant like your dad, uncle or some rich banker; that was the much you knew. By the time you were midway into the university, you were almost running crazy because it now felt like you were wasting your time and the fashion industry would have been it for you but you can’t throw away all those years, your father would not hear of it, your mom would kill you, your sponsor would be disappointed, your peers would think you’re crazy, what would people say? Bla, bla bla… Expectations! For everyone present when you were born, the expectations were synonymous; that you should LIVE. The problem is, when life remains in us, we tend to exist as programmed robots instead of engaging the life in us, instead of LIVING.
What if you spent you a holiday in your family doctor’s office as child, seeing his up times and down times, watching him handle patients, even helping out where you could? What if you spent a few months around a fashion house, observing, learning or trying your hands on some fashion business? What if you volunteered at a foundation to have hands on knowledge of how it works? Would your decisions have been different? Do you think differently now? Are you doing anything about it or are you just sitting there and letting life happen to you? It’s for the same reason most of us are too scared to go for NYSC in a distant location; and when we’re forced to go, we do not take time to enjoy the environment or culture because it’s not what we’re used to, we’re too scared, too afraid to live, we’re programmed!
I stumbled on this speech by Prof. Abletor Sedofia from University of Ghana and I just wish I could share it with every human being before they even get into school: “Academic excellence is overrated! I said it. Being top of your class does not necessarily guarantee that you will be at the top of life. You could graduate as the best student in Finance but it doesn’t mean you will make more money than everybody else. The best graduating Law student does not necessarily become the best lawyer. The fact is life requires more than the ability to understand a concept, memorize it and reproduce it in an exam. School rewards people for their memory. Life rewards people for their imagination. School rewards caution, life rewards daring. School hails those who live by the rules. Life exalts those who break the rules and set new ones. So do I mean people shouldn’t study hard in school? Oh, no, you should. But don’t sacrifice every other thing on the altar of First Class.
Don’t limit yourself to the classroom. Do something practical. Take a leadership position. Start a business and fail. That’s a better Entrepreneurship 101. Join or start a club. Contest an election and lose. It will teach you something Political Science 101 will not teach you. Attend a seminar. Read books outside the scope of your course. Go on
missions and win a soul for eternal rewards… Do something you believe in! Think less of becoming an excellent student but think more of becoming an excellent person. Make the world your classroom.”
Lucille Ball opined, I’d rather regret the things I’ve done, than regret the things i haven’t done.” Let each one be adventurous about life, we may just realize our interest after all, we may find love or make a discovery or we may not, but the lessons we’ll learn, the experience, the feelings and memories, no one can take from us (ask the slumdog millionaire). We might make mistakes and learn one or two things early enough when it won’t cause too much damage; great things spring out of mistakes you know. Remember that an employer would rather hire an experienced person than one with all the degrees. Enjoying the details of everyday life is more fulfilling than holding a record for some accomplishment and being unhappy . Don’t wait to do the things in your bucket list when you’re told that you have only a few months to live. Shake off this stereotyped, prim and proper, meet-expectations mentality and come alive. Refuse to merely exist. Choose to live because in the end, “Happiness is not ready-made it comes from our own actions.” (Dalai Lama)
By OBBIE Luya
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