life

IT’S OFFICIAL: I’VE DROPPED OUT

This post is not in any way meant to derive sympathy from anyone. This is my blog and part of what I do here is to share my personal experiences as I journey through life.

About three years ago, a friend called to inform me about my class’ convocation at the university of Lagos. His name was on the list along with most of my other classmates. Of course, my name wasn’t on that list. He was sad that I wouldn’t be able to celebrate the completion of our two-year master’s program and I understood how he felt considering that we had attended classes and studied together.

I don’t have a master’s degree.  Some of my friends don’t know this. They knew when I started the program but I can imagine their surprise when they read this. Did it happen out of laziness? Was I just plainly unserious? You decide by the time I’m done with my story.

At the time I completed my degree in law, I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life but I was sure of one thing, I was not going to practice law. The confusion surrounding my life’s purpose had been a battle since 300level. No doubt, I passed all my courses. I had to anyway but it had nothing to do with passion or interest. Just the fear of failing and returning to school for an extra year.

When I graduated, I reluctantly proceeded to law school. I just wanted to be done with the course and find something that’d interest me. So I joined thousands of other law students for the ten months rigorous training that’ll stamp us certified lawyers.

As part of our training, we were required to work in a chamber for a number of weeks, something like the Industrial training(I.T) you might be familiar with. I was posted to a law chamber in Benin.  I resumed with the hope that somewhere along the line, I’ll be able to connect and find the passion to make good use of my profession. I figured that my six years of training to be a lawyer could not waste like that.

Nothing changed. I got to work daily and wondered if this was what I wanted to spend my life doing. Filing court processes, appearing in court, poring over law reports. I still remembered the day I followed one of the lawyers to court. For more than two hours we sat there and I asked myself, ‘What are you doing here?’

Years after I graduated, I returned to law practice but It was still within the time I was figuring out what the future holds for me. I got out eventually. I packed my wig and gown into my robe bag which I kept in a safe place hoping that somewhere in another phase of my life, I’d find the excitement to pull it out again.

It’s funny how even back in my secondary school days, I was indifferent when two lawyers gave a career talk at the annual success camp organized by the Deeper Life Bible Church.  That day students screamed and shouted at the sight of their regalia. Art students were suddenly caught in the euphoria of studying law and wearing a wig and a gown. I felt nothing.

When I filled my JAMB form, I bluntly refused to put in for law and It wasn’t until I found out that the course I had chosen required that I pick Maths as part of the JAMB combination did I change my mind and settle for a course that had my best subject combination.

Armed with these experiences, why had I gone back to the University to do a masters program in the same field? What for goodness sake was wrong with me? I still remember how I walked into the bank to pay the fees for my master’s program. I left the banking hall shortly after I arrived with the money in my bag. After walking for some minutes, I turned back and returned to the bank. I was so confused and disoriented. I finally paid the money and comforted myself with the fact that at least I’d proudly boast that I had a master’s degree.

For two years, I pushed this. I made distinctions in almost all my course work. But when I got to writing my thesis, I met a roadblock. At this time, I had started exploring creative writing and I was amazed at how much I enjoyed it. Every minute spent writing the first three chapters of my thesis seemed like punishment. I kept my eyes fixed on the number of pages wondering when my work would be bulky enough so I could drop my pen.

I had friends who encouraged and helped me stay focused. I’ll never forget the role Victor Brown played in pushing me to work on days when I felt really tired. The nature of my thesis prevented me from accessing some of the scholarly works I needed because the materials were locked out to Nigerian students. Since Victor was in a recognized university somewhere in Europe, he had access to those articles which he opened and forwarded to me.

All these happened without my supervisor lifting his finger to help me. He had rules. He didn’t want to see our faces. Drop your research work with the porter, he ordered. He’d pick it up from their station on the ground floor of my faculty and after making necessary corrections on our files, we could pick them up from the porter’s lodge. For a lecturer who had his second and third degree outside the country, I was rather shocked at this form of supervision.

One of the days when I went to pick my file, I noticed he commented on the chapters I’d worked on. ‘This is a beautiful read.’ That statement was like finding a stream after days of walking in the desert. It greatly encouraged me to move on. He included that I work on a certain area which I did and sent back to him. He returned it, giving me further instructions that I didn’t quite understand.

I decided I was going to see him, at least to understand what exactly he wanted. But the day I was lucky to meet him in the office, he chased me out. For months, I stared at papers and journals, downcast. Writing stories became a place where my darkness lifted, where all my academic problems didn’t matter, at least at those moments.

Then I lost my references in the process of transit to another location and I knew the only solution was to start all over.

I became depressed. Only few people knew about it. It’s funny how those times, I was already active on social media, writing stuff yet I was dying inside, feeling like a failure and disappointment to my parents and those around me. This was coupled with some other issues I was battling with at that time. I felt like life was gradually being snuffed out of me. Everything was so dark. God just seemed so far away.

Somehow, I came out of it. Then I noticed that every time I tried to pick up that research work, I felt a cloud of darkness spread over my heart.

One day, I decided it was time to let it go. I didn’t care what anyone thought about me. What they say cannot define who I am or what my future is going to look like. I considered It wasn’t worth sticking my neck out by starting all over with that thesis. I wasn’t enjoying it and it was more like a torture, so what’s the point?

I know what I want to do with my life now and even though it will require so much work, I am ready to focus on the things that interests me.

While I am very particular about finishing at least a first degree, I am of the opinion that no one is under any obligation to continue to follow a path they have absolutely no interest in. I understand the place of paying bills, but the truth is, if you have found your purpose and it is way out of line with what you studied in school, it’s only a matter of time before you become an authority if you sharpen your axe and get established in that area.

I still work as a legal counsel, although in an area of law I find tolerable. That’s what pays my bills. But I am vigorously developing myself in my area of calling where my future lies.

I believe with all my heart that there is always the seed sowing and harvest time. I encourage myself regularly with the fact that those who go forth bearing precious seed will doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing sheaves with them.

I have learnt too that, this life is too short to be envious of others. My friend has a first class with two masters’ degree and a strong plan for her Ph.D. I’m happy for her but that’s not my path. We are unique in our own ways.

I have met people who kicked off their businesses, while others yielded to the call of God to full time ministry.

I have a friend, a very talented graphics designer, whose father’s position can get him great connections but he told me he’ll never take a secular job. He works full time in a ministry.

I believe this world is big enough for us to carve out our space and dance to the music playing in our hearts. Before us lies that place where God has apportioned for us to thrive. If it requires that we take a pause and reflect on whether we are living or existing, won’t it be worth it?

To some, it may seem I’m making little or no progress, but I’m enjoying the path I’m on.

I am living.

To my friends who pleaded with me to pick up that course again after three years, I know you love and care about me. But this is my choice. I have decided to let it go. I have considered it one of the mistakes I’ve made in my journey in life. I have figured It’ll be profitable pursuing things I love and I’m passionate about. I’ve accepted this but I’ve moved on. There’s no going back.

Read: When I was an unemployed graduate

My Cote I’voire experience: What I learnt from my host mother

Your certificate should not define you: Pursue fulfilment

24 thoughts on “IT’S OFFICIAL: I’VE DROPPED OUT”

  1. Oh wow.. Seriously, I greatly admire your courage to share this.

    I can only say that joy and fulfillment will forever trail the path you have chosen.

    It’s not easy trying to be on that path you know you are meant to follow by God’s guidance. Not forgetting the pressures that comes from et al. But I know with God by your side, you will come out well.

    Thanks for encouraging me sis.

    God bless the work of your hands!

  2. Yeah Right Sis…

    I’m glad I read this.. Thanks so much for encouraging me…

    May heaven help our hearts to stay firm in that which he has put in us to do!

  3. Oh sis… I applaud your courage and willingness to let God chart your life’s path. He won’t let you miss it.

    The future holds greater things for you.

    Keep soaring!

    Thanks for letting your life encourage us.

    More grace.

  4. This left me in tears. I am proud of you. In fact, I owe you a long hug.

    Masters degree or no Masters Degree, what really masters if fulfilling destiny and doing your passion.

    This has even given me a rethink. God will help you dearest. And your fame will spread abroad by God.

  5. I’m just experiencing this issue now, I completed my course work and when I tried to start my thesis it felt like a terrible burden, I’ve struggled not to let anyone down but seeing your writeup is just comforting, God bless you Ife🙏🏾.

  6. Thank you for sharing.. A whole lot of people are depressed while pursuing degrees especially if it’s not where their passion lies.

  7. Thanks for this writeup. It reminds me of my own experience: I dropped out of a funded Ph.D. in Clinical research. Sometimes I feel bad it but other times I believe its Gods purpose because I felt unexplainable peace. Do you get this unexplainable peace after you have tried your best and things didn’t improve?

  8. Wow! It’s better to pursue one’s dream as God leads, rather than trying to follow or do as people say.

    When we do God’s will, he’s ever there to assist when we’re confused,

    It’s not about amassing certificate, it about doing what God wants us to do, and being at the right place.

    God will continue to help you, the sky is your starting point.

  9. Wow! Thanks for courageously sharing this and I’m glad I read.
    The greatest feat is in relentlessly pursuing what truly brings us joy despite all odds.
    Not many are lucky to find this strength or find it early enough.
    May the light of Christ keep guiding your path on to perfect fulfilment.

    With love, always.

  10. Wow! Thanks so much sis for letting it out. ‘You don’t pursue a path because of what people will say but because you find fulfilment in it’. Thanks.

  11. Thanks for sharing your story with all sincerity and openness. I’m really encouraged.
    May the Lord order your steps aright and make you fulfill purpose in your desired prospect in life. Every blessings!

  12. This is quite encouraging. There are some of us who are not passionate about what we presently do but hold on for the fear of what people will say or think about us. I look forward to sharing my story In the nearest future. I’m proud of you Sis.

  13. Felt sad you didn’t finish…

    But I’m happy you’re following God’s call on your life…

    I sense that someday if God wills, you will still get a higher degree or maybe an honorary doctorate… Who knows 🤷🏻‍♂😁

  14. Thanks for sharing. God willing you may still do post graduate program in creative writing, the area of your natural inclination. My God bless your endeavors.

  15. Sis Priase God for his inspiration on your life. I am a level 300 nursing student with a heavy course load hanging on me, as I write this comment I am seated in a lecture hall with no interest to what is been taught but also with the consciousness that I must pass the course. I have been battling with how to reconcile my course of study and my passion in life so much that I decided to talk about it to my mentor, and ma I can say the feeling kills. But reading this I am honestly encouraged and happy that I read it. God bless you ma.

  16. Thanks sis for sharing. Your storyspeaks loads of wisdom. GOD bless you ma ant take you to greater heights beyond your expectations in JESUS name. Amen

  17. You just nailed it with your narrative, Ife-Grace!
    Bagging a Masters degree, a PhD or a Professorship is not the only way & platform to being fulfilled in life. Rather, FULFILMENT lies in discovering the PATH where lies one’s passion, interest & satisfaction.

    Bill Gates, found his passion & dropped out of Uni, today he’s wealthy, famous & meeting the needs of numerous people.
    Christiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Neyma, Okocha, Kanu, found their passion in Football, they’re wealthy & famous.

    Don moen, CeceWinans, Michael Jordan, Olajuwon, Kobe Bryant, etc. all found their different path & passion through which they’re impacting lives.
    May God help us all

    God bless you real good.
    you’ve greatly encouraged & inspired many through this no-holds-barred story of yours.

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