In the beginning….
Once upon a time, a tiny baby girl – Precious Adaeze – was born to Daniel and Irene in the small town of Ilorin, somewhere in Western Nigeria. She grew up in the first six years, with her four brothers (Uchenna, Howard, Chima, and Izunna) and wanted nothing more than becoming a newscaster just like her dad. She would watch him on NTV Ilorin read the news under the pseudonym ‘Dan Zuru’ (short form for Daniel Onwuzuruike …lol) and dream of becoming just like him.
Fast forward Sixteen years, she’d lost her eldest brother and gained two younger sisters (Chioma and Uchechi), gotten her high school diploma, and was ready to study Mass Communications at the University of Lagos. She was going to be the best graduating student, just like her dad. Alas, dad will not have it!
“You need to have a solid foundation in Philosophy, Sociology, or Psychology and
then have a second degree in Mass Communications,” He said. “I see you like the finer things of life, and I fear Journalism will not fulfil you. You’ll be more respected when you have industry experience”. I felt crushed!
If you are non-Nigerian, you may wonder why I couldn’t just go ahead and do what I wanted. Well, the Nigerian society doesn’t work that way. Most children are under their parent’s care until they ‘find their feet.’ During that time, parents house, feed, and foot the bills. This care usually came with veto power.
But I digress!
So, my journey to destiny began — first, an advanced diploma in Banking and Finance, and then a bachelor’s in public administration. I can’t remember how I went through both programs, but I can tell you for free that my grades were mediocre.
Lesson One: No Passion, No Excellence.
The jobs came, first as a customer service officer then office manager. They were okay. They paid the bills (I was now partially living on my own). I honestly wasn’t engaged with either role, and there was no attachment to the organization.
After marriage and having my first child, I decided to quit my job and stay home with my baby. Then she happened…Ms. Emma Clark – Bless her!
My family attended the same church as Ms. Clark. She’d invited us to her birthday party and observed me conversing with a guest. Ms. Clark would approach me after service a week later to ask me to join her team. She was impressed with how I interacted with guests and believed that I was born a communicator.
I agreed to work with her part-time around my baby’s schedule and facilitated the communication skills module. Adaeze was reborn. It was like I found my zing (Ref: Hotel Transylvania)!
I enjoyed researching and creating the lesson plans, telling stories and just watching the attendees grow in confidence as they practiced each skill. With each class, I fell more in love with what I was born to do, and then I knew what I had to do.
Lesson Two: Say YES to timely opportunities that cost you nothing.
Years later, I went back to full-time employment, took quick steps up the corporate ladder, had a fabulous boss and a star team. It was a great time in my career, yet; something was missing.
Yes, I am a natural communicator, but I still wanted my dream. I wanted to be Dan Zuru, have my communications degree, be the best graduating student…. okay, go back to the beginning of the story for a list of the other wants.
So, my search began for the ideal program and school at the right cost. Many of my Nigerian-based mentors had attended the School of Media and Communications at Pan-Atlantic University.
The school had a solid reputation for structure as well as teaching the theory, creativity, and rigour of communication. I decided to do it!
A two years journey with a family of 4 and a full-time job began. The passion was higher than the inconvenience. I drove 110 km every Saturday, was attacked by machete-wielding robbers only two months into the program, but these were mere distractions.
I found out I was expecting my third child at the start of my third semester. Nothing was going to stop me. This was my calling; my destiny, and it was apparent to those closest to me. They made room for me and helped to catch any falling balls.
Lesson Three: When you find your purpose, you step into rest
As my bump grew, I was advised by many to defer the program, but it didn’t feel right. I’d waited over fifteen years to fulfil this dream, and I did not want it delayed. Every course was my most interesting; consistent light bulbs flashing, non-stop eureka moments. Ha, bliss!
And then, these words, “Madam, I can’t let you leave this hospital, you have pre-eclampsia” from my doctor humbled me.
I had gone to get my fit-to-fly certificate from my doctor because I was going to travel to have my baby and come back in time for my final exams in July. I had it all planned out down to the dates and even prayed the universe to push out my baby before her due date. However, this new complication threw a spanner in the wheel of my grand plan.
Lesson Four: Trials must come to you
While admitted to the hospital, hooked up to all sorts, I still dialled into the class through a course mates help – Thanks Toyin – because you had to fulfil attendance to take exams. My class notes were sent to me by Kemi and Dayo; I owe them a lot.
Despite my best efforts, it became health-threatening to dial into class, and the nurses took away my gadgets. This was not before I sent an email to the school, explaining my unique circumstance and assuring that I would be available to write my final exams.
My baby was born on June 3, 2017, and though I was ecstatic that we both made it alive, my mind was still on my program. Every time I called my course mates, they’d tell me to look after myself and forget about school for now.
One of them joked that if I didn’t graduate with my classmates that my baby will not hear the last of it. He wasn’t far from the truth because I was determined to see this journey through.
Six weeks later, on Friday, July 14, I came back to the country with my little one, and the next morning, my kind neighbour drove my mum, baby, and I down to the school to write my first two exams.
Still very sore from delivery, the journey to school aggravated both the baby and me. Reading on my way to school, between feeding time and the bumps on the road, wasn’t working too well either. I had to do this for two weeks! It wasn’t easy, but I wasn’t giving up.
Lesson Five: Always leverage your support system and accept help when it’s offered
The Happy Ending
I wrote my exams, and a month later, handed in my final dissertation, then the wait for my result began. My grades before now were stellar. Still, nothing was excellent about the situation leading up to my final exams, so I wasn’t the most confident.
When the results came out, I would have a C in my favourite course – Public Relations – yet it was my most memorable grade because it took grit to get those 57 points. Every A before this was by my strength and intelligence. This C was super special and validated my belief that the heavens heard and aligned with all my affirmations.
December 2, 2017, speaking on behalf of the graduating class with a final CGPA of 4.2/5, my dad beamed with pride, announcing to all that the lady on the podium is his daughter. I had come full circle. I cried, heck I’m crying as I write this, and promised to put my journey to paper as soon as I felt comfortable doing so.
Are You Next?!
I wrote this story because of you, and I don’t know why you were led to read it. The one thing I know is that the universe is kind to those that are tenacious about what they want. You don’t know your capacity until you stretch yourself and great things happen on the other side of comfort.
Your dreams are valid and are worthy of pursuit because you won’t feel fulfilled until you step into your calling. It doesn’t matter how long it takes if you want it, then go for it. Lines will fall into place, and helpers will be raised to get you to your destination.
Don’t allow mild inconveniences or even tough ones deter you. Surround yourself with people that will support your dreams even if they don’t exactly understand it.
Lesson Six: Never stop dreaming big and raising the bar for yourself
Finally, when you smash that dream, don’t stop there. There are still so many more grounds to gain. As for me, bigger things are in the pipeline for this communicator, and I’ll be asking you to watch my space. *Wink*