To the 18th Graduating set of Pharmacists, Olabisi Onabanjo University.
By Adeola Adesina
Just like yesterday, I'd embark on trips to Ago Iwoye to enhance your knowledge on Maths, Chemistry and what have you. But look at you today, PHARMACISTS. What an amazing class you have been. At a point I was closer to you guys than my actual classmates, thanks for being AWESOME. Those late night gists, jesting and parties will live with me forever.
Today, you set forth on the next step in your journey, after writing your last paper, leaving these hallowed halls and heading out into the world.
You must be in euphoria about the journey so far, but before today ends, I want to offer some small pieces of advice that I have learned over the years.
I’m not going to sit somewhere today and tell you what direction to take. I can’t tell you what job you should do and what you should not do. As people who makes such rhetorics will always be in for surprises themselves.
For many months since school, and at many times since pharmacy school, I've been swallowed up in the deep fog of grief — what I think of as the void — an emptiness that fills your heart, your lungs, constricts your ability to think or even to breathe. The outside world is a dead end. The labor market is in its worst condition since the second world war. The future, in my opinion, can't get anymore bleaker than it is at the moment.
Some of you will start internship a day after induction, some six months, some a year, some 2 years. Time and chance happens to them all, said the preacher. Don't get worked up or depressed if it hits you hard. Remember, Joseph was in prison when his brothers were flexing. It's only a phase, it won't last forever.
It’s the rest of your life I want to really talk about. With a little luck you folks will probably live for another 70 or so years.
Enjoy them, for God’s sake! Don’t bore yourself to death with a dull job or a dull partner. Take some risks — I don’t mean speeding at 90 or doing heavy drugs, but take risks to find an interesting, challenging, perhaps difficult profession.
Don’t let money be the primary goal but rather interesting, enlivening activity. …
Learn to take a hit now and then, and brush it off.
Even the King Solomon admonished us saying, there’s nothing better for a man, than to eat and drink and enjoy the fruit of your labor. Attend parties, dance like no one is watching, grab a bottle of beer with a friend or two, go out your way to help someone who can’t help himself, celebrate yourself, yes you’re a big deal. Life, trust me, is not that serious.
Never be scared of failure.
I visited a senior colleague, Pharm. Gbolahan Fabiyi in April. His words have kept replaying in my head like it's some wizkid or davido's lyrics. He said, Deola you need to fail. I've put this in perspective since then and I agree completely.
In the words of Russell Wilson, “When life tells you no, find a way to keep things in perspective. That doesn’t make the painful moments any less painful. But it does mean you don’t have to live forever in the pain. You don’t have to live forever in that ‘no.’
Because if you know what you’re capable of, if you’re always prepared, and you keep things in perspective, then life has a way of turning ‘no’ into ‘yes.’”
You may/will face adversity in your future. You might find yourself on a path that seems fruitful, only to find it’s not what you thought it was.
Make failure part of your narrative and celebrate your rejections, whether you’re speaking on a panel, having dinner with friends, or posting on social media. Let it all hang out. You failed.
Everyone fails. Sharing your failures will help us all stop fearing the ‘f word’ and to start celebrating it. No one’s real life looks the way it does on Instagram. It’s not enough reading the failure stories of Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you need to experience it yourself. Then, you’re on your way to stardom.
On your career, work or job.
A wise man once said, "Work to live, don’t live to work. If you do what you love, you won’t work a day in your life."
Work like you don’t need the money. Love like you’ve never been hurt.
That’s what truly matters in the end. I mean, look at me:
I thought I’d never amount to much. That I couldn’t reach these heights, however small. You have to shut out those voices, and embrace the ones you truly care about.
And remember, if ever the wide world seems too brutal, too harsh, too unforgiving: you can always block out the negativity and come back to where you began.
Invest fully in yourself
“The great photographer Robert Capa, who shot some of the most iconic photos of the Second World War, put it this way: ‘If your pictures aren’t good enough, you aren’t close enough.’ Now rest assured, parents, the message of your child’s graduation speech is not, ‘Go stand in front of a tank,’ or ‘Go report on a civil war.’ But the message is that if you want to have a deep impact on what matters to you, don’t do things at remove. Invest yourself fully. Get close.
Now, what does that even mean? First, getting close means moving beyond approaching an issue through the screen on your laptop or phone, or the filter of someone else’s interpretation, and instead finding a way to get to know the individuals whose lives are impacted.
The times you spend before you get an internship placement is not the time to while away complaining. It's the time heavy investment. Attend seminars, learn a new skill, get a new certification, get politically integrated. Our profession has suffered and is bleeding because we have neglected the political side to being. Start a venture, a business, join a new society, attend meetups, get an IT skill, acquire an online MBA. Just do anything, keep moving, keep learning.
Get a Mentor
Don't get it twisted, love is a beautiful thing. Sorry forget the love part, that's a Dbanj thing, right I know. But don't ever get it twisted, your destiny or success is not tied or doesn't depend on anyone person except YOU. You are the architect of your fate, the captain of your ship.
On your own, your might get to your destination, but with a mentor you'll get there faster. I know you all look up to Pharm Sesan Kareem, but he didn't get there on his own. He's understand fully well the mentorship system and has applied it perfectly.
A mentor is like Googlemap. There are probably so many routes from point A to point B, but Google map allows you get to your destination in the shortest possible time.
Never be spoonfed. Spoon feeding in the long run teaches us nothing but the shape of the spoon.
It's your day, enjoy it. Treat yourself to a lavish dinner. I hope my few words soak the waters of uncertainty and dispels the air of fear. The going is for your take. Times are tough, but you will make it. Remember, when the going gets tough, the tough get going. Congratulations!
Yours in Struggle,