Everyone in one way or the other has been faced with various adversities in their lives and I am not an exception in this area. I have had my share of adversities and looking back, for some of them, I am grateful for them and yet others, I do not wish it on anyone else. I am going to tell you one story of an adversity and share this quote with you: “All children are born geniuses. However, 9,999 out of every 10,000 are swiftly and inadvertently degeniusized by grownups”- Buckminster Fuller. I am going to tell you a story. A story of how a girl grew from being hopeless, helpless and feeling like a failure to becoming hopeful and a dealer in hope and possibilities that lies in people. Roberto Rivera defines Education in Greek term as meaning ‘to bring out that that is already there.’ This can mean bringing out hope, pain, passion, purpose, dreams and many more. The story I am going to tell you revolves around the education of a girl, a girl I will call Ajoke. Ajoke grew up in Nigeria and at the ripe age of ten, she was posed with the question, what do you want to become when you grow up? At first, she wondered what exactly does that mean when I grow up and what will I become? When she asked that, what does growing up and becoming exactly means? She was told, when you grow older, you can become a doctor, a lawyer, an engineer or a banker! Those were the only choices presented to her. When she asked, what does each of these things entail? After a brief explanation of each field of study, she thought to herself, I am going to become a doctor. She spoke it out loud and announced to the people who asked her, I will become a doctor, she got a pat on her back and everyone was happy. As Ajoke grew older, she went on to Senior Secondary School (S.S.S) holding on to the hope of becoming a medical doctor. Her first year in s.s.s was not as dandy as she hoped for; she struggled through understanding Chemistry, Physics, and Biology. No matter how much she tried and how hard she worked and how many private teachers her parent got her, her grade and performances in these subjects did not change. At the end of the school year, when the results were posted, Ajoke got the bad news that; she had to repeat S.S 1! She failed these core subjects and was held back from proceeding forward. When she heard the news, she felt like her life was over. How could she go back to the school and face the teachers again, the incoming students from the junior class. What would she tell them when they ask her if she was a transfer student because she was definitely not with them last year? These questions and many more clouded her mind. When the awaited dreaded resumption date came, Ajoke had to face the music of returning to her old school to repeat her S.S 1. She became the laughing stock in her school among the people she knew who went on to S.S 2 while she stayed behind. People that were supposed to be her friends became the very people who laughed the most at her, pointed fingers at her and made a ridicule of her whenever she passes through their area to get to her class. She felt like a failure, a loser and she was called the word she dreaded the most, ‘a repeater’. That became the sing song for the people who taunt her. Thankfully for Ajoke, at home, she had a very supportive and loving family who believed in her despite what was going on and her so called failure. Her parents encouraged her and told her that she can do whatever she put her mind to and that come what may, they believe she is capable and she should not let the setback of staying back destroy her dreams and hope for the future. The year Ajoke had to stay back, she grew a lot and got to meet two amazing people who took her under their wings and decided to mentor and pour into her life in every areas. These two nameless heroes invested the time, energy and resources to get to know Ajoke beyond just her school grade, they searched out who she was and helped her discover what she was made of.vTo cut the story short, because these individuals and her parents took the time to see Ajoke beyond her test scores, she went on to study in the United States in one of the best liberal arts colleges for her undergraduate education. She became the best student of the year in her course of study while she was at college. She was awarded ‘Who is Who among American Colleges and University Students’, a feast and honor that is only granted to 25 people in each colleges and universities in the United States. To crown it all, she got accepted Ivy Leagues schools for her Master’s degree and ended up going to the number one University for her course of study in the United States and arguably in the world. You might be wondering, who is this Ajoke and how come you know so much about her? I know this Ajoke so well because she no other than me the writer of this post. This is my story and I bet there are many more me out there who despite the odds, challenges and setbacks that were in the way, broke free and made something out of what most people would believe nothing would come out of. Indeed, everyone has a place, for me, my place was definitely not in science or being a medical doctor. Assuming I had stayed on that path, I would have become a terrible and miserable doctor who would not have added any value to the field or the people that I am supposed to serve. I found my place in social science, in a field I love because I get to work with people because people are my passion, not medicine, not a fancy title of being a medical doctor. My place was not to be a medical doctor and I did not know that when I was growing up. I got drawn into the drama and belief system that the society I lived in at that time told me that I could only be successful if I become a doctor, a lawyer, an engineer or a banker. No other choices were considered good enough, honorable enough or successful enough. I bought into the lie that money and prestige were more important than working in my strengths and my calling. That was why I never thrived no matter how hard I worked and how much I studied. In the end, I always ended being at the bottom of my class. Once I found people who believed in me, who saw beyond my test scores and saw my potential, I began to thrive and succeed without trying so hard. As I began to work in the areas of my gifting’s, my excellence began to manifest and within a short period of time, I was achieving things I thought were impossible. The point of this stroy is that, every child is born with a gift they have to offer to the world. Often times, the world, the society and environment around dictate for these children who they can be and cannot be. No consideration is taken to discover the areas of gifting these children have and more often than not, a path that should not be for the children is thrust upon them because the older adult is either trying to live the dreams of their own through the children or they lack the patience to help the children grow and discover what they are made to do. I firmly believe that everyone has a place and finding that place and nourishing it is where things go wrong. I am thankful that I found people who cared about me beyond my test scores and invested the time and energy to help me nurture and grow in the areas I was gifted.
When You Are Down & Out