Bumped into old classmates? Shocking changes you likely came across

Whether it was secondary school or university, your last few days at school were likely filled with bittersweet partings and promises to keep in touch(which you probably broke after less than a year). At that point in time, you probably couldn’t imagine a life outside your current circle of friends. But, as time went on and everyone pursued their passions, life got in the way and your communication became limited to liking their pictures on Facebook. Pictures in which all was well with the world and they were leading perfect, manicured lives.

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Perhaps they are. Perhaps they’re not. But I can tell you certainly that bumping into an old classmate whether from secondary school or university, is bound to hold a number of surprises for you. Key phrase : bumping into.

We know all about reunions, but everyone gets a period of time to prepare for that. Most want to impress, to show how far they’ve come. Not a bad thing, especially if you were seen as not likely to succeed back in the school days. In preparation, you could always lose a few kilograms, get an expensive weave installed, go for a facial and a full makeover, or get a shiny car to make everyone green with envy.

But it’s a different ball game when you bump into each other. You are unprepared, physically, mentally  and socially, except you had a genuine friendship with the person, or you really are just that kind of happy, open person. Changes are mostly physical (of course, duh) and career/success wise, and they come in  an expectation-versus-reality kind of comparison that leaves us either mightily awed or totally disappointed.

 

I couldn’t end this article without sharing a few experiences.

Physical.

It adds up: the years and the weight. A moderate number of us added a few kilograms here and there(secondary school classmates) which didn’t look bad in most cases, in fact they mostly look really good, while almost all my uni classmates have added obvious weight. I once bumped into an old uni classmate who had become so big(wide, more like), that for a moment I was actually scared of saying hi to him.  Seeing as skinniness is not particularly a desired trait in our society, I do not say this proudly but I am one of the few who remained almost the same. 53kg in my final year of secondary school, 55kg close to a decade after. Oh well.

Some become unrecognizable. I once saw a lady and wondered at how she looked so eerily familiar. By the time I finally realized who she was, I was shocked as well as curiously awed. She had gone from Viola Davis to Halle Berry within 7 years(at the time) and not in a very attractive way. I have always held a strange curiosity and awe for people who effect drastic changes in their physical appearance without feeling guilty or weird about it all. Of course it was normal for everyone to go one to three shades lighter, being that we were now mostly in control of our lives and hardly had reason to walk under the scorching 3 o’clock sun. We all know that Lagos sun has no pity on day students, especially if you walk to and from school everyday. But doing a skin tone overhaul a la Michael Jackson? Left me gobsmacked. So don’t feel bad if you actually don’t recognize an old classmate. I’ve been told this is the least astonishing thing to see. Imagine realizing that a former classmate had become a criminal. Yeah, I thought  so too. (I actually came up with the criminal part).

Expectation versus reality

Most didn’t turn out to be what everyone had expected. This made me realize that school smart doesn’t equate world success.

Some who we had expected some kind of high flying career from, those who had that lethal beauty+brains combo, ended up settling really comfortably into motherhood and family life.

Some who weren’t so pretty and were mostly invisible and shy, somehow went to the market and bought confidence. Yep. I’ve got one foot in this group.

Some who were super smart and who came from families with good pedigree to boot, ended up doing just, well, average.

Some who had been break-neck beautiful turned out really quite average too. Sometimes even below average. Can’t really understand this one.

Some got wild. I mean from religious or average moral young man/woman to promiscuous living-nightclub hopping-body piercing-tattooed-smoking and drinking-half naked pictures on social media-human. Shame.

Some actually turned out as expected and did very well for themselves in their fields. Vera Chika Ani, who always got almost all the prizes on  prize giving day, went on to bag a first class in engineering and is currently working comfortably somewhere in the United States. Ebunoluwa Taiwo, smart and quick witted, is currently a doctor. Modupe Ola, which most Nigerians know by her stage name of Mo ‘Cheddah, began showing what she would be from those days. Even being in a Catholic all-girls school didn’t stop that. There are many others, these are just a few.

Many, no, A LOT of us ended up practicing in fields as different from what we studied as Biology is different from Economics. Who would have thought?

It helps to know that, you are not alone in the struggle to be something in life. Seeing old classmates makes you realize how far you’ve come, or how far you’ve yet to go. But, never be condescending or overly awed, because in the race of life, overtaking is allowed. The way you look at someone who hasn’t quite achieved as much as you, is the way someone(in your set) higher in accomplishments than you are, will probably look at you. Over and above all, remember that your biggest competition is YOURSELF.

Like I always say, life is one well-spiced pot of jollof rice. 

Feel free to share your own experiences. I can’t wait to hear them all!

Sincerely, Chibugo.

90s chick; nerd, humanitarian; lover of life, family, fashion, food, art and literature; Christian by birth and choice. In short, I’m like jollof rice: you’re gonna love me. 😉

A reader sent this in…. Meanwhile, read to the end.

A reader sent an email to me asking me to publish this as he was scammed via betting. I don’t know how this betting thing works, but it would be foolhardy to trust anyone with your money in these harsh times. Be very careful whom you give your money to, everybody’s eyes are red. I have nothing against gambling, but…. In fact let me stop. Get-rich-quick schemes always leave us vulnerable to predators who feed on our greed. Be warned. Here goes :

“Good morning. Great work you have been doing here I must commend, I was scammed by a wonderful Nigerian claiming to have sure games(betnaija, nairabet and co), he always promises to refund both committed fund and stake fund after two consecutive games didn’t play/Check out. I’m not the only one being scammed by him, I’ll like you to publish this to let other bet livers like me not to fall victim to his scam/tricks. Here are his details Ighodaro Osayende 2086744821 Zenith Bank. 08153528956 BBM channel 214 predictions.

Thanks! ”

Meanwhile, another reader sent me a link to free online courses as published last week by the Financial Times, UK. Online courses are really great ways to learn without having to go to any class. It just needs commitment, a laptop with Internet and a Webcam. Believe me, I tried one at the end of last year and I’m much better for it. I have to confess though,  he sent it to me since last week and on trying to post them today, I found out that the compilation had been removed from the site. So I decided to compile some sites myself and share with you. I have to keep the promise I made. Below are links to 5 sites with free and paid courses you could use to better yourself personally and professionally.
5. EdX
There you have them. Go ahead, knock yourself out. No excuses. Data subscription in Nigeria now is cheaper on all networks. Whether it’s to learn something new, or develop that which we already know, what better way to do it than online? Get started! Don’t hoard information, share with friends too.
Sincerely, Chibugo.
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I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.  – Pablo Picasso

90s chick; nerd, humanitarian; lover of life, family, fashion, food, art and literature; Christian by birth and choice. In short, I’m like jollof rice: you’re gonna love me. 😉

Now that NYSC is over, what next? Part 2.

In our last post under this series, we discussed preparatory steps to ensuring that you are employable when eventually you are done with NYSC. Congrats to the newest batch of ex-corps members in the market. I hope your allowee translates into something more tangible in no time.

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Okay, so you have finished NYSC and you’re ready to take the Nigerian employment market by storm, eh? You have edited your resume until it could be edited no more, shoved it in the face of anyone who as much as asked “how are you?”; your applications have been flying out in all directions and now you’ve finally landed an interview, or an exam, at the very least. Read on for tips on how to make sure that you don’t get another degree –  in Jobhunting. 

1. Do your homework well: Every organisation has a system of operation, and this extends into its recruitment process too. Know everything there is to know about the company, and be armed with the kind of information about them, that is useful to your role in the company or industry. Also, know the kind of exam or interview format you’re expecting, so that you don’t go expecting a personality assessment test while the company shortlists using a more detailed approach. If you are in a specific field, be prepared to be tested about anything and everything in your field. You may be asked to make a sales pitch, answer a call in a polite manner, or write a board full of code. Be prepared.

2. Compare what you have to what they’re asking for: While as a fresh graduate, you may not have all the skills listed in your preferred job, check to see that those you do have are in line with what the job description requires. If you are applying for an administrative job and have a problem with keeping records and accounts, or generally being organized, you might want to change careers or adopt a lifestyle change. (The first option may be easier)

3. Prepare responses to all possible questions: when you’re invited to an interview, its usually in a particular field. Check online or brainstorm with any professional in the same field, to find out what kinds of questions you are likely to be asked and prepare adequate responses to them. There are also some questions that are seemingly easy but make people do badly at interviews. For example, “Tell me about yourself”, “What are your interests? “, etc. Good old Google has almost all the answers. Knock yourself out. In addition to this, prepare some questions of your own for them. It shows that you are a candidate who is genuinely interested in the company.

4. Be aware of body language, a.k.a non-verbal communication: A huge amount of what you communicate in interpersonal relations comes from your non verbal communication. Knowing the right thing to say means nothing if you don’t communicate it in the right manner. You may not realize it, but people react to what you don’t say as much as what you do say. Slouching in your seat, frowning, crossing your arms, repeatedly doing something like tapping your foot, twirling your hair, etc, all have interpretations that the human mind immediately translates. No matter how fast your heart is beating or how your nerves are fluttering, maintain a calm front and answer every question the best you can. Project confidence, respect their space(no keeping bottles of water on the table or anything silly like that) be attentive and mindful of their reactions to your responses. Above all, be yourself. Your interviewers are human anyway; the worst they could do is turn you down, not have you for lunch.

5. Pay attention to your appearance: I know the power situation of the country is at an all time low; as a matter of fact I haven’t had power at home in days now. Regardless, you, my dear applicant, have no excuse to come to an interview in rumpled clothes. It is unacceptable. For a token fee, you could have your clothes ironed at any laundry shop. Its a really small price to pay to look presentable. If you’re male, keep a clean haircut(no dada please, unless you’re interviewing for some artsy role)  and for the ladies, no overly long weaves or braids all over the place. Keep your hair away from your face so it doesn’t distract from the purpose of the interview. For those of us with natural hair, its no excuse to look untidy. Put it in a neat bun or any other neat protective style, and if the company has an anti natural hair policy, put it in a wig for crying out loud! It’s a shame that many corporate organizations do not want natural haired ladies in their company, but changing their minds about it is not a battle that will be won overnight by aggressiveness. Wig it! Better wigged than jobless, I think.

6. Follow up: While this is not compulsory, it is sometimes a advantage especially in roles that require someone who has good skills in correspondence. Some recruiters may not find it funny though, so it would be nice if you asked them how they would feel if you contacted them to follow up on the interview, before placing any calls or sending any emails.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, and while I wish whoever reads this good luck, if you have any bits of advice to add, do add them in the comments section. You may be helping someone.

 

90s chick; nerd, humanitarian; lover of life, family, fashion, food, art and literature; Christian by birth and choice. In short, I’m like jollof rice: you’re gonna love me. 😉

Three lessons you could learn from basketballer Stephen Curry

You don’t need to know basketball to know Stephen Curry. He’s that popular. Lets learn a bit about his background. Born on March 14 1988 into the home of NBA player Wardell Curry, young Steph began playing as soon as he could but his father seeing his many weaknesses, groomed him to be a better player. This was not enough though, because he had the “disadvantage” of being slighter than most athletes in his game. As a matter of fact he was often overlooked in selection because of this when he was younger . This however spurred him on to perfect the skills that have earned him the name “baby faced assassin” today. So, three years ago, he wasn’t even an all star; four years ago he had chronic ankle problems that threatened his career and kept everyone on edge. How did he then go from that to being NBA’s most valuable player of 2015? Here are some lessons I have gathered from Stephen Curry’s journey, which I think everyone could learn a thing or two from

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Be the best version of yourself ;every single day! @stephencurry30 on Instagram

1. Never be regular; exceed your former self: Stephen had his fair share of rejections, especially at the beginning when he was younger. That drove him to look to creative means to work around his lightweight and stature. But that’s one of the things that are great about Steph: his work ethic. He is full of talent, but hear this: he’s always in court long before training begins, and by the time others get in, he would have worked up a sweat and would be ready for whatever. After the session, he would remain behind and wouldn’t leave until he had scored five free throws in a row. If he scored four and missed the fifth, it didn’t qualify. It had to be five in a row. Even in this time of great fame, he spends much of his off season time honing his skills so that he’s in excellent form. Now that’s what I call commitment to improvement. Having a disadvantage turned into a blessing can only come from commitment to making it so. He is in the same league now as much bigger and heavier guys like LeBron James (250 pounds, 6 ft 8, and Kevin Durant, 240 pounds, 6 ft 9 ; both great champions in their own right. On a good day, Stephen weighs 185 pounds and his height is at 6 ft 3. Therefore he knows that every throw matters, every dribble, every back pass, every single move has to be honed to perfection so that he’s a lithe monster on the court.

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Like the saying goes “the only room that is never full, is the room for improvement”.

2. When success comes, do not forget what drove you at the beginning: Stephen has always been outspoken about his faith, and used to write 4:13 on his sneakers when he played in his college team. (Philipians 4:13 –  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me). When he got a deal with Under Armour who makes his shoes now, he had it printed on it. After every winning shot, he often beats his chest and points to heaven, as a reminder that he’s playing for God. He’s 28, but is married to his college sweetheart, Ayesha Curry, whom he met in church years ago, and they have two daughters. How does he do it? You may ask. His value system. I don’t know the details of how he balances pro basketball with a family, but he’s doing it, and doing great at it! He has an example in his father Dell, who played pro basketball for 16 seasons but was blessed with a family that stayed together. He says he wasn’t afraid to take the plunge! That’s what faith and a good family will do for you. I believe it would be the same even if he wasn’t famous. Do not forget what drove you at the beginning.

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3. Give back to society: Stephen has been involved with the UN’s nothing but nets campaign, which they use as a platform to provide aid to countries still battling with malaria. Stephen pledged that for every three pointer he makes, he would donate three nets to the cause. He is involved in many other charities. We could learn from this, since here in Nigeria, it seems to be the unspoken rule to succeed alone. You can read more about Stephen Curry here, here, and Here.

I hope this inspires you to go beyond the discouragements and obstacles. Number one lesson is probably the most important advice us young people need today. Here’s to the success of the dreams we’re working hard at. May we all succeed.

90s chick; nerd, humanitarian; lover of life, family, fashion, food, art and literature; Christian by birth and choice. In short, I’m like jollof rice: you’re gonna love me. 😉