‘Which of the favours of your Lord will you deny?’
‘2017, I have a very terrible feeling about you but I still hope you go as planned’ was the last sentence in my 2016 review. 365 days after, I wonder what I was scared of. I was able to effectively convert all the lemons the year threw at me into lemonade and I feel like I succeeded in bending 2017 to my will because so far, it has gone as planned. With an Electrical & Electronic Engineering Bachelor’s degree in the bag, relieved is how I rode into 2017. I took a vacation to England where I met friends I made off Twitter,
visited places I had read about, shopped impulsively, and ate junk to my heart’s content. I also appeased the god of graduate admissions by visiting a couple of universities including one of my dream schools. I made the most of my 21 day holiday which made up for all the stress I went through planning my trip.
‘Endure patiently with beautiful patience’
I got mobilized this year to obey Nigeria’s clarion call and the period during which I was in NYSC camp is easily the worst 21 days of my life. I often reflect on how I made it out alive and disease free. I always give myself credit for being very adaptable but I do not know which was worst among the smell of humanity, the horrible routines, the soldiers, or the male humans who though could not communicate properly attempted to strike conversations with me.
I kept to myself a lot and maintained very minimal human interaction. People did seem to enjoy camp and someone even hoped our stay would be extended to 3 months. If that had happened, I may have been taken out on the 25th day in a body bag.
‘Do people think they’ll be left to say they believe and not be tested?’
‘Verily, with every difficulty, there is relief.’
2017 decided I did not suffer enough in camp and decide to throw me bags of distress during my search for a place of primary assignment (PPA). I redeployed to Lagos immediately after camp and although, I had 2 offers, I just was not satisfied with them. After about a month, some sprinkles of worry, a handful of sadness, a dash of compromise, I finally got settled in my current place of work. So far, excluding the stress at the weekly Community Development Scheme (CDS) it has been a great experience, I have had a chance to meet and interact with really amazing humans.
‘…increase me in knowledge’
2017 travelled with the speed of light and it did not leave room for me to write anything. I blame it on the fact that unlike other years, I was very emotionally stable this year. If you however let me regard my graduate studies application and funding essays, then I wrote about 30 things this year. For all the things I did not write, I made up for by reading.
The book club I joined last year did not make it past the first quarter of this year and so, I had to latch onto self-motivation. As at the time of writing this essay, I had read 54 books in 2017. I know 2018 will be pale compared to 2017 in this regard because I envisage a busy year ahead.
‘Be patient over what befalls you’
I hit new levels of low in 2017 when I struggled with my weight and my skin. This will sound funny to those who know me because in the real sense of it, I am slim and I don’t understand why I felt so insecure. After tubs of salad, series of jogs, intense portion control, NYSC camp, Ramadan fast, and gross reduction of carbohydrates, I went down 6kg to 59kg (to put it in perspective, my height is about 5ft 8”). Due to the intense exposure to the sun at NYSC camp, my face got ruined. It got so dark and rough which made me look like I had a charcoal bath while scrubbing my face with stones. I became a product junkie and spent regrettable amount of resources on skin care products. It is now way better than it was and I am just here hoping the lord of glo up deems my face worthy of a visit in 2018.
‘And whoever puts his trust in God, He will be enough for him’
The last quarter of this year was a mentally and emotionally tortuous one. I had so much to do and it just felt like deadlines were taking turns to laugh at me. When I wasn’t freaking out, I was either worried, or editing essays. All these happened because I was applying for graduate studies and funding. A lot of times during this process, I cried and wondered why I am not from a more privileged background. I was weary and sick of trying because I was struggling to get what some others get on a diamond platter but somehow, I found peace and rolled along. In retrospect, I learnt a lot from the whole process and so far, I have celebrated little wins and little victories. I am writing this paragraph with the hope that the god of rejection mails does not locate me in the coming year.
‘And we have created you in pairs’
Things got a little serious on the relationship front this year. I finally met my ‘internet’ crush from 2016 when I went to England and it has been long distance for almost a year. If I were to take the long walk now, I would choose to walk with this human who has been supportive in unbelievable proportions and is easily the best thing that happened to me this year. Together, we have celebrated little wins and grieved over losses and I find it amazing that we recognize we are best friends before anything else. If this person was not in the picture, I honestly do not know who would have been at the receiving end of catching flaks and listening to my everyday rants. In my yearly reviews, this is the part where I hint about finding the loml. Concisely put, for now, that search has been put on hold because I have found an almost perfect fit.
‘We plan, God also plans but God is the best of planners.’
Adulting hit me a little hard this year. I moved out of my parent’s house just so I could be close to work and let’s just say I have not quite explored the full range of the freedom I now possess. As planned, I started off this year trying to meet more people off Twitter but that did not go past March because social interactions truly stress me out. Also in line with my plans, I started voluntarily teaching Mathematics to young girls in public secondary schools to kick-start my long-term goal of increasing the number of women in STEM. So far, it has been a great experience and has made me reflect on the depth of rot in our education sector and if Nigeria can ever get to Canaan. 2017 is not nearly as eventful as 2016, I had a quiet year and which I achieved almost all I planned to.
‘Indeed, what is to come is better than what has gone by’
Hopefully, 2018 is the year where I kick some more ass by completing my NYSC, getting a job, taking my coding and Qur’an memorization more seriously, starting my Master’s degree (hopefully in my dream school) and following through with all the other plans I have rolled out in my head.
Here are a few lessons I picked up over the last 365 days:
- Sometimes, revenge is more effective than forgiveness
- I can achieve anything as long as I put my mind to it
- It is okay to stand your ground sometimes even with all the odds against you
- Usually, something has to give
- Acknowledge your privilege and be grateful for it
Will it not be rather wrong of me to end this review without some form of acknowledgement?
Unadulterated thanks to God for the little wins, victories and mercies this year.
Grateful to my family for solicited and unsolicited support.
Raheemah and Salamah, we have evolved from being friends to sisters. I hope the bond strengthens with time and 2018 is kind to you both. Sending you love and light.
Gabriella, Idu, and Ope, thank you for lighting up lunch time with amazing conversations.
Ladi Williams, you are my favourite person of 2017. Thank you for coming through on days I was too scared to live. For all you’ve been, all you are, and all you will be, words cannot do justice.
Uncle Suleiman, you are the elder brother we all never had. I am rooting for you and hoping America treats you well. Greatness awaits.
Jibola, I owe you one for all the support and words of encouragement.
Nazira, Kosi, Loveth, Blessing, Chinenye, and Wole, thank you for helping me stay sane in NYSC camp.
Lape Arojo, you went out of your way to be nice to me though you barely know me. May you always find help whenever you seek.
Abdulrahman, Aisha, Toun, and Muqhtar, I hope you all win.
Quora, thank you for been there all these years.
2017, it has been quite a ride. 2018, bring it on.