Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Career Talks: Dare to be different

Hey Lovelies
For today's post, I am bringing another of my plenty tales from my days in Hungary.
Those years really shaped me a lot.

I resumed school later than most people, most of them were coming from all around Europe and I was coming from far away Africa. By the time I resumed, I had a talk with the registrar who told me I was so far behind on the course load and I would need to work twice as hard to ensure I wasn't left behind.

I ran off from there telling myself I could do it. I locked myself up and started studying like crazy. By the time I got to school, I realized everyone that was in school was basically focusing on orientation programmes, socializing and more things that screamed a massive "fun, fun, fun".
"What was that registrar taking about?" I asked myself again. I was way ahead of everyone in the class, it was so apparent. I loved how easy it was to follow the lectures, since I was up to date with the  revisions for the topics that were taught the previous weeks. For some, I even read the things that were not yet taught. I loved the feeling and I decided to keep it; I kept the habit of preparing for the classes before time.

When I attended my very first class, the teacher took us up on a challenge. We were supposed to have twelve weeks of study for different topics he considered extremely relevant and he said he would give a short assessment at the end of each topic. He promised that anyone who could pass all twelve tests would be exempted from the final exams. According to him, he wanted to ensure that we were well acquainted with these topics and it was very important for us to prove that, either before or during the real exams. Now the final exams would be made up of like mashed up questions from all twelve topics, while the weekly assessments only focused on one. "How could that not be easier?" I thought to myself. I braced up to the challenge and gave it my all.

The first semester, I concentrated on passing all the tests. It was very funny. Just after the first few tests, my colleagues were talking about trying to confront the teacher about putting up such a high standard. They were sure no one was going to make it. We were all working hard, but it was looking like I was the only one who hadn't failed any test thus far. One of the very "wannabe smart" ones approached me about it. He wanted me to show solidarity and fail the tests. I looked him in the face and told him there was no way I would deliberately fail a course I knew I could pass, especially one he would give anything to pass. I remember how everyone struggled to make the tests and they only resolved to that after they tried hard at it to no avail, so what was he talking about?

The first day my problem started was when the teacher announced that someone made it.
And it was the "quiet black girl" that people would readily not consider relevant. Hey might I add, from a third world country - Nigeria. I just had to rub that in, pardon me :)

Our anatomy teacher also offered to break the upper and lower extremities into two sections and offered to exempt anyone who was able to score up to 15/20 in the assessments for each part before the final exams and guess who also made it?
Right there I had two less exams to worry about, two very important ones and most importantly, they were already certified grade 5. The highest grade in my school grading system. Did this set everyone on fire? Oh you bet!
Then I had the class divided into confused admirers and people who were smart enough to come ask me how I did it. Then the confused admirers started to tell everyone how I had no social life. They would invite me for parties every night and I would turn them down every time. On a normal day, I am not even a party buddy. If I did one welcome one for the semester and one at the end, I was more than satisfied. Do I look like the type that would want to go out every Friday night? I didn't need to please anyone, so I kept to what I was comfortable with.
 They would look for anything to use against me. They said I was leading a lifestyle that shouldn't be recommended for any student and anyone trying to compete with that was jeopardizing their health. They went as far as inciting some of the teachers against me and said that I was cheating. I would have those confused teachers check me over and over again to ensure I wasn't cheating during exams. Rather distracting and condescending sometimes. I don't blame them, what would you do if you were them?
I still kept my cool and knew I didn't need to change any part of my strategy. Well, according to most people, it wasn't convenient but I was ok with it. One of my classmates started being really close and would watch me sit for several hours straight reading, and went and told everyone I really was a psycho. What's my business? The next semester came, I swept all the exemptions again.
They knew I meant business. Fast forward to the beginning of the 3rd year, I had more people wanting to play my team. No matter how many teachers tried to act like stumbling blocks, I was always at the very top of my game and somehow my colleagues understood my strategy was it. You know what they say, if you can't beat them? I can say categorically that even before the end of my first year's first semester, they knew better than to mistake my quietness for foolishness; it just took them so long to understand exactly how to react to that fact.
By the 3rd year, most of the unnecessary parties had been halted. Almost everyone understood they had to be bookworms somehow. If they were waiting to protest to the teachers to lower the standards, I wasn't and they understood they had to step up their games.

No matter what happened, I was already steadily on a very high GPA and by the time they understood to buckle up and get on a competition with me, I was far ahead. Remember the teacher I told you about in this post? He told me it would be so unheard of for a black person to top the class filled with white people. I told him I wasn't trying to top the class. I just wanted very good grades because I was looking at going out with nothing less than a first class. I told him he should help anyone he considered worthy to be the best, even if it was a .01 difference and make the best student, as long as I had my highly coveted first class, I was okay.
The fact was I knew what I wanted and I kept at it. No one really understood my struggles and how I wanted to get good grades so badly.

Summary: Know what you want and even if it is not what everyone is going for, don't be afraid to take on the lonely paths.

"The person who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The person who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever seen before" --- Albert Einstein

Love Always
Twitter/Instagram: @janylbenyl

Photo credit: Source

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  1. Know what you want indeed and go for it. True Talk!! Thanks for the pep talk. I needed it to be engrossed in my soul. On a lighter note - someone actually approached u and asked you to purposely fail? Unheard of!! I am always suspicious of such gang ups cos not everyone who agrees to fail will actually do so....... LOL!!


  2. Why fit in when you were born to stand out. - Dr. Seuss
    Couldn't have put it better myself, dear. :)

  3. love the story,
    love the comments

    you go girl!
    dem think say you come Hungary to count snowflakes ni? :D

  4. Your post just made my day. Today is just one of those days when I say to myself "it doesn't matter" especially when I am thinking about my career. I have to keep moving ....there's no stopping me. Thanks for sharing your post, you made the right choices.

  5. Its interesting how you always "NEVER" fall short of inspiring me... Funny thing yeah, is that I know a certain 23 years 4 months and 18 days old child who went through seemingly same.. But hey! Thats gist for a "DONT LOOSE THE LIGHT POST' I guess :) SO this line had me go "Huh?!" (hehehehe Bush Me just learnt this expression.. hehehe and i am going to abuse it like kilode hehehehe )

    "They said I was leading a lifestyle that shouldn't be recommended for any student "

    Really?! They said that?! Nawa oh! They must have been high on Adulterated Shisha mixed with salt and Pepper plus Cheap Drugs mixed with Banana Peel or someRRin.. Thats a totally stupidly false statement nah :(.. Janyl, Life is teaching me that there is nothing better than setting a goal and going all out for it.. I mean many will not understand your drive, your desire, your reason for 'Painful sacrifices' called your reality.. But as long as you are willing to ghen-ghenly go all out for it.. Then at the end it will pay you.. This was a very ghen ghen read Biko.. Its funny how people hate what they cannot understand nor match up to.. In my case they said i was the class Snitch SMH.. And mehn all those Color statements are just plane wrong.. I mean i cant Deal (lemme form Onyibo Jando English small) I haf not Kuku experienced it before.. But if anyboRRy and i mean ANYBORRY tries that shi wit me ehhhnnn.. Na Buhari go seperate our Fight.. **Calm Down Nonso.. Breath.. Breathe.. Biko I cannot be disturbed nor allowed to be intimidated...

    **Clears Throat.. One kind kweshion though mother.. **Covers face out of shyness.. Did a certain someboRRy finally get her First class?! **Winks.. We shall be waiting for the highly needed response oh! heheheh Cheers Mama... And happy Last day of the month.. Oh! You did not PaRRY during Uni... **Scratches head.. ReallY?! Wow! Interesting :) Oooooossssshhhheeeey Turn uP!

  6. Efiko l'omo. E no easy. I love your determination jare, and so glad it paid off in the end.

    Atilola's World

  7. Mama, remember how you taught me to give value to my writing?! Well I am trying.... There is something wrong with Esther as her last Challenge post e get as e be... in the light of purpose mama, and having that the 15 for 15 challenge isnt just another competion, but a bond like thingy, i thought you could drop a kind comment on that post to bring her alive again... you know the way you do for me... Pretty please Janyl... here is the link: :). You Rock Blog mother, aswear you do...


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  9. I'm always impressed by how focused and dedicated you were/are to your goals. Unfortunately, I find it hard to be that serious with academic goals (because I am taking a well-earned long sabbatical from studying at the moment), but this inspires me to press on with my many many other life goals. So yeah, thank you!

  10. I can totally relate with this as I was also tagged 'the book worm'. Always stay focused to your goals u'd never have any regrets. Nice one Janyl..I certainly enjoyed this post.


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