Stop, who’s chasing you?
Yesterday, I was at the festival of hope that held in Vancouver with some people from church I was not well acquainted with. So, I decided to let go of my introversion for the night and mingle with them. We got talking and they, having obtained their undergraduate degree here in Canada wanted to know what it was like for me that obtained mine in Nigeria.
I completed my undergraduate degree in Nigeria last year and I moved to Canada to pursue a masters degree. I decided to take some undergraduate courses in my first semester so as to experience both worlds because I had heard so much about how schooling abroad was by far better and more rewarding than schooling in Nigeria. So much fuss was made about it and so I got really curious.
After two months of schooling here, I discovered two things:
- Schooling abroad is actually worth the fuss
- I was running but no one was chasing me
I’m going to focus mainly on the second point because that was what prompted me to write this post.
Getting into the university for my undergraduate degree, all I wanted was just to graduate with good grades, make lasting connections and learn some skills. The educational system of Nigeria supported this as the system is not flexible at all, and you can’t even take a week off that is termed here as a “reading break”, talk less about taking an entire semester off.
So here am I, observing the undergraduate students here and how relaxed they are and I am doubting the validity and reality of my undergraduate experience, because I spent most of it rushing to be done and graduate. I noticed here that they take their time, and they are not in a rush to get out of the university. They take like two to five courses every semester, as opposed to the average of eight courses I took every semester back in Nigeria. This was a great culture shock to me as the system was so flexible it had me confused for a while.
I am an eighteen years old university graduate and while that may be very impressive to some people, its really not all that. Having skipped four grades and always being the youngest, I was not so outspoken because people thought “I was too young to understand” so I spent most of my time listening to these “older” people and being looked down upon. This made me always want to prove myself and show my worth to these people, and that is all I have been doing for the past six years.
Upon sober reflection at the end of February 2017, I found out I was too much in a haste to do something with my life and prove to people that I am more than that eighteen years old I have always been seen as. Coming from Nigeria, all we just want as youths after graduation is to get a big job in some big company or start a business that blows, make money and live life lavish. That is the beginning of this chase.
I originally planned to take a gap year right after graduation to chill and catch my breath, but when I saw that my friends were working in some big companies and I saw that some others had already begun their masters program, I got intimidated. I then began to feel like if I stayed back to complete the gap year, I would be left behind while my friends got money or another degree and they would eventually leave me in the race of life.
I am sure I am not the only one that has ever felt that way. I’m sure at some point you have seen one of your friends or someone doing something with their lives or earning more than you and you felt that if you didn’t start doing something with your life or get a job that pays better, you’ll be left behind and you’ll become the lesser friend. And so you made a dumb decision or started putting unnecessary pressure on yourself so you would not be left behind in the race of life. The question I have for you is what race? And who started this race?
We have become so engrossed in and driven by the need to be better than 0ur neighbors that we forget real things that matter. We are so obsessed with the future that we forget to live in the moment. And this right here is the problem. There is no race and no one is chasing after anyone. Don’t rush into things because everyone is doing something, don’t pressurize yourself unnecessarily. All these things just bring stress and cause depression. Be contented with what you have, who you are and where you are at each point. Don’t be in such a haste to succeed. There is no rush. Wait, no one is chasing you.
Life is in phases and men are in sizes. Stop comparing yourself with your neighbor, you don’t know who he really is and what he is really doing. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t do something with your life, but don’t be in a haste. Enjoy every phase of your life as it comes. Enjoy every phase of your journey to greatness. Work hard, have fun, take care of yourself, build healthy relationships, spoil yourself from time to time and surround yourself with positive vibes only. Down times will come in life but don’t let it get to you down. Tough times don’t last, only tough people do. If you fall, pick yourself back up. If you fail, try again. Thomas Edison when questioned on the numerous failures he experienced when he was attempting to build an electric bulb said;
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”
So be patient, because no one is chasing you.