Hello! Welcome to another blog post!
Third class in most universities is almost equal to graduating with no degree. It is not the first thing such students want to mention at job interviews or even to their peers or family.
Such students are tagged failures even though for a lot of them, their poor academic performance was only a result of inevitable family/health/financial challenges, failing educational systems, refusal to give into absurd demands of lecturers and many more.
Today, we have a very special, personal and heartwarming post as Ayodele shares his personal journey through university, inevitable failure and his rise up to success again. We’re sure you would be very encouraged!
Wanting to go to University was the biggest quest for most of us after secondary school. And this quest was sectioned into different categories. First, some knew just what they wanted to study and eventually become, then some just wanted to leave secondary school to uni because of the fantasies they had, and the last category was that of those who had their folks define these things for them. Another section was those who were privileged to fly out just immediately to start uni, then those who were privileged enough to go to the private universities or as some would call it “the home for those who couldn’t deal with cut-offs”, and of course finally, those of us who just thank God that we went to school shaa.
Please don’t ask me what section I belonged to… that’s not why I am here. I remember that year very vividly, it was mid-July and we had all just finished secondary school and spent most of our time going to the movies or game center or parties after “jamb lesson” of course. But by September, reality started to hit when the sectioning came to play, people you were in lesson with were catching a flight abroad the next day and ditching jamb, then the private uni admissions came out and another set had left. Lastly, uni admission list came out and for some, it was joy, for others it was the sadness of not getting the desired course and then for some others, it was tears, pure hot tears.
Don’t worry I don’t fall into any of the categories yet because I had to undergo a minor surgery that September so whether the admission came or not, I wasn’t going anywhere. By the time I had recovered, my friends were in school and it was shameful, nothing more, you may or may not be able to relate. But later the year after, I got an admission to study a course I never wanted to study and I spent the next 2 and half years of my life doing it and regretting it. my grades were awful but I could not say at home because my dad wouldn’t have it and my mom had warned me not to enroll for the course since it wasn’t what I wanted but I just wanted to be able to say I was in the university so I just did it.
By the end of my second year, I had a CGPA that couldn’t flash MTN to MTN (yeah, that bad). So I knew it was time to do something about it so I dropped out, and without my parents knowledge too (don’t look at me like that) and while my mates resumed the third year, I was writing jamb to try to start my life over again and by this time I was a lot wiser and knew this was my life and it wasn’t for anyone to be pleased with but me and God and that I had to take some level of responsibility for that life.
I got admission again to study a different course entirely (still not what I wanted but this time it was what I had chosen) and I was joyed and so happy I finally had a clean slate to start over and right my wrongs and do better…. And then it HIT. I had a major setback in my health that needed to be urgently attended to and all that was on my mind was “God why Me”.
While my mates were in classes and gaining knowledge, I was going from Lab to Consulting room monitoring a tumor to know if it was malignant or not, this took a lot of months and I remember not being able to attend classes or do CA because of the critical state my health was in. There was a particular day that I got called out of a test hall to head down for a biopsy and I had only written my name and my matric number, I ended up getting an E in that course and most of my courses that semester and the next 2 semesters that followed because I barely attended classes and did tests, I only did exams with notes and materials that some good friends were able to supply me and rigorous crammings and overloaded study periods.
Later that year, after all, diagnosis of the tumor had been done, it was surgery time, and this surgery was going to be in 2phases over a 6month period. So I finally fully resumed school at the end of the second year and seeing my grades were so depressing and demoralizing, the only consolation was that I did not have any carryovers due to God’s Grace I believe.
Before I resumed 3rd year, I had spoken to everyone who counsels me about the state of my grades and how poor they were, and even with all my calculations, If I had 5.0 in every semester that I had left, I wasn’t going to be able to graduate with a smashing grade. So, all the suggestions came in, the most popular being “just keep thanking God you’re alive”. But someone mentioned professional courses and certifications to me and I started to look around the line of what I was studying and had some interest in amongst all the courses available and I found and fell for HSE (Health, Safety, and the Environment) and I paid for it and went for the classes over the holidays and aced the exams as well. By the time I resumed 3rd year, I returned with a lot more clarity and less concern about my grades because I had something else going on for me and by the time we were mandated to go for a 3month internship at the end of 3rd year, I was one of the few people from my class that had the best internship offer and opportunity and it had nothing to do with my grades in school (I was on a 3rd class at the time). I worked in a very amazing multinational organization and it opened me up to many more possibilities and hope that were way bigger and better than what I had imagined for myself when I left secondary school. Interacting with older colleagues, I was told not to stop at the level of the professional certifications I had and was told to go international, so by the time I returned to school for my final year, I knew that channeling a career path was not limited to the grades from school, so I planned to take the international professional course NEBOSH which is a furtherance from the basic one I had done before, let’s say the basic HSE was a foundation, NEBOSH served more like the pillars for my current career path. I finished in October 2018 with a second-class lower grade and by mid-November, I was already attending classes for my NEBOSH, and had the exams done later. In February 2019, barely 4 months after I finished my finals (before graduation and NYSC) I had earned myself an internship with another company within the same industry that I had worked before (oilfield servicing) but an indigenous company, not a multinational this time. I worked there till June when I had to go to Plateau state for NYSC camp, I returned from there about a month after and resumed work (not anymore as an intern) at the same company I was before I left for camp and it has been amazing. Just in December, I got a recommendation from my boss to take on another internationally recognized certification in a quality management course and by the time I was done and resumed work this January, my job role and responsibilities have changed and trust me, I have not had a day to spare to go pick up my university certificate from school throughout this whole process. (don’t worry, I plan to go next week). NYSC ends in a few months and I cannot even imagine what is out there for me, I can say to an extent by faith that I am ready.
Now your journey will surely be different from mine and this is not me downplaying the essence of good grades, I honestly wish I did better and all that, but I’m just here to encourage you that not so great grades are not the death of you, neither do they indicate you to be a failure in life, what you choose to do from where you currently stand is all that matters.
The state of your grades may be caused by you not taking your academics seriously early enough, it may be because you’re not studying something you like or want, it may be caused by health-related issues, or whatever reason there may be. But please don’t stay down there, there is hope and many possibilities too. And maybe just like me, your failures and downtimes will be the roadmaps that will lead you right to the center of your purpose and Gods will for you because it was in my seasons that I found God and what he really created me to both be and do, and I hope that as you read this, you will both be hopeful and encouraged, knowing that all things are working together for your good.
• Talk to people that have gone ahead of you and take good counsel (I didn’t keep to myself or think I could figure it all out)
• No matter where you are now, fight to get the best you can still possibly get (I fought to move to the next possible best from a 3rd class)
• Don’t sit and sulk, instead stop and search (for opportunities and alternatives)
• Don’t work with the clock of another, own your process (make it your goal to become the best you there can be, not someone else)
• Do all you can to invest in yourself (professional courses are not very cheap, especially the internationally-recognized ones)
• Don’t be too big or woke to start with small jobs and internships (especially the little or “no paying ones”)
• “Everyman is a product of his choices” and sometimes its not a case of right or wrong choice (you will have to make some hard choices that only you will understand, knowing whats best for you).
• Believe that all the days of your life are written and ordained (Psalm 139:16-17, Jer 29:11, Eph 2:10)
– Ayodele Okegbenro.
Ayodele Okegbenro is a graduate of geography & planning from the university of Lagos, a young and budding Quality & Operational Excellence professional in the oilfield servicing industry, who started his career with a passion for Occupational Health & Safety. He has quite a number of certifications and learning experiences to his name which have helped him to sail through various opportunities withing a short time.
When not working or taking a course, Ayodele can be found teaching the word of God as he both pastors a youth church and leads other faith based youth fellowships.
He believes that opportunities are not given but taken and that nowhere is too low to rise from.
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