By : LeAmbivert
‘Do the people think they will be left to say ‘we believe’ and not be tested?’
This year started out badly. If you read my 2017 review, I mentioned that I wanted to commence my MSc in 2018 which also had to be fully funded. The first quarter of the year was filled with rejections from certain programmes and funding opportunities. It appeared that the deity of scholarships did not smile at me after all because all I had was admissions without money to attend. It was honestly easier to give up but somehow, I stuck with the more difficult choice. Did it pay off? Well, there is only one way to find out.
‘No soul will be burdened beyond its scope’
This is not the city I hoped to be writing this review from but I took so many giant strides this year which I am grateful to God for. I completed my compulsory national service in April and took a long overdue trip to the United States. America provided a sense of clarity and a break from the struggles of the first part of 2018. I was having so much fun until my trip was cut short by another commitment in Nigeria. Another loss. It seemed like my year could not get any worse.
‘So be patient. Verily, the promise of Allah is true’
Many people thought I was crazy for wanting to pick further studies over a job but at this time in my life, some things are greater than others. I still tried to apply for graduate jobs in Nigeria and had really interesting interviews including two where the recruiters told me not to accept the job because they did not want me to limit myself. I eventually got a job I could have managed. A job whose starting salary would have some people call me deranged for picking a Masters over; but as I said earlier, some things are greater than others.
‘Verily, with every hardship, there is ease’
‘…It may happen that you hate a thing which is good for you, and it may happen that you love a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows, you know not’
My 2018 ‘behind the scenes’ almost drove me crazy. I dined with worry and wined with tears. So many things happened this year whose explanation will significantly lengthen this piece so I will condense the story and go straight to the point. Things started working out in my favour after my trip. It was like God knew I had been starved of good news because I began to be overwhelmed by them. This year, I applied to over 52 graduate programs and scholarships combined, got accepted into 90% of the programs, and won half a dozen scholarships. It felt unreal going from nothing to winning 6 scholarships of which 3 were fully funded (including 2 prestigious British Commonwealth scholarships) all totalling about 200,000 US Dollars. I also got admitted into the University of Cambridge for a highly selective course I thought I could only get into in my wildest dreams. 2018 showed me that wild dreams do come through. Unfortunately, I could not accept my Cambridge offer due to lack of finances. Cambridge is the city I hoped to be writing this review from but God knows best.
‘Read: And thy Lord is the Most Bounteous’
I got bigger on investing in 2018 and while I cannot put my figures out here, I implore everyone who reads this and can afford to invest to do so. Just so you know, it is okay to start small. I also perfected my driving and occasionally hit 100km/h on Third Mainland Bridge (don’t tell my mother). I did not write my regular mainstream things this year for the same reason I did not do so in 2017. However, I wrote about 50 things or more this year relating to graduate admissions and funding and I am glad to have done so because it presented a steep learning curve for me. Up until September, I was able to read 50 books and it went downhill from there because of my severe academic commitments. I also read about 300 articles that Pocket equates to 19 books. These numbers will, unfortunately, dwindle further in the coming year.
‘And we have created you in pairs’
In my previous reviews, I have never made mention of nuptials because my friends had not quite reached that stage yet. 2018 was a spectacular year because four of my friends got married! I attended only 50% of those but it was a truly rewarding and beautiful experience. I got to see people I have known for years take the next big steps in their lives to co-habit with other humans. This has even started paying off because I now get marriage advice for free. Who knew having married friends is a wise investment? Me neither. I am looking forward to the 2019 weddings, most of which I think I will attend via Instagram.
Is 2019 the year I get married? I honestly cannot answer that question at this time due to factors beyond my control. I am truly scared of taking this next step which explains why I have been pushing it for years now. I feel like there is so much I should do before tying the knot. Marriage seems like the pathway to children and that makes it even more frightening. I have no problems with who I have decided to take this long walk with because he is highly supportive and at the risk of sounding cliché, he pushes me to be a better version of myself. This is why I took a huge step on the relationship front this year as my parents and I met our prospective in-laws and as you guessed, they are nothing short of amazing.
‘What is coming is better than what has gone’
As human beings must continue to want and toil, I have begun applying to more opportunities and putting concisely, the end of the tunnel still looks pitch dark. As ever, I am counting on God to come through in infinite proportions. I have not even had a total of 100 rejections this year, I said 100 because that is the point where I say ‘wheew’ but still go again. Now that I am approaching 60, I have no right to be tired. We move.
‘Which of the favours of your Lord will you deny?’
I am currently looking outside my window awaiting the snow and at least thankful that this review is being written far away from a city in the tropics where I have called home for the last decade. In my short time here, I have found and made this place my second home because I truly feel at peace here. With my Master’s degree in progress and friendships with people from places I did not know were places, I am glad to look back with nostalgia and say 2018 was a very rewarding year. There were a lot of losses and lessons but there were much more wins. I’d normally mention my plans for the following year but this time around, I do not want to jinx it. I just hope to secure the bag in 2019.
My 2018 review being no exception, below are the lessons I learnt this year:
- God is sufficient
- Your dreams are valid. Even the wild ones
- Always go again. Fall down twice, rise up thrice
- Everyone needs older friends who have walked in their path to show them the ropes
- Representation is so important
- In all aspects of your life, always show up
I cannot bring myself to end this review without acknowledging certain people.
A heartfelt gratitude to God for infinite mercies and miracles this year. Alhamdulillah rabbil alameen.
Mum and dad, I am glad that more than ever, all the sacrifices you made for my education paid off this year. Thank you for giving me a gift that keeps on giving.
Jibola, Temilade, and Bisola, you outdid yourselves this year. Keep the torch aloft.
Raheemah and Salamah, I consider you to be my sisters from other mothers. God knows where it hurts us all. I hope he sends healing.
Ladi Williams, numbers can’t quantify neither can words qualify how grateful I am for giving me more than 24 hours.
Brother Sulayman, you are still the elder brother we all never had. I am glad you found peace in the US.
Amina Oke, every unmarried (Muslim) woman needs a slice of you in their lives. Thank you for never mincing words.
Umm Nabilah, I have always wished I had an elder sister. Thank you for showing me what that feels like.
Bettye, you are so kind and you have an amazing heart. I hope you keep winning.
Aisha and Samiat, may Allah ease your affairs.
Temi Kalejaiye, you have the most inspiring stories. May your light never dim.
Quadri Adewale, thank you for pushing me to send that email. It changed everything. May Allah grant you goodness.
To everyone else who was part of my year, I wish you love and light.
2018, thank you for the losses, lessons, and wins. 2019, we go again.