I learned that I can choose to see failure as the end of the world and as a proof of just how inadequate I am. Or, I can see failing...
It took me a long time to realize that what I magnified in my life soon became reality. As much fun as growing up was, there was a missing link in my life. My life’s first mentor pronounced me an average student because I barely made the tops in my class. It took me much longer time to grab and understand some subjects. I was told to study 8 hours if my friends did 4 hours. I carried this re-echoing line around for quite a while which relegated me to being in the middle and this created fear in me continuously for years. Before I even wrote any exam or tried out any new thing, the fear of failure will crush me on the inside.
Settling into an average life quickly became a constant. Scared and timid this little girl turned into. I became withdrawn and I was very careful with socializing, though on the outside I put on a facade. The worse of it all was that I also became technophobic. Ask me to switch on a television, air conditioner, start a car engine etcetera, I was just practically unsure of anything for the fear of making a mistake and be tagged “average”. I already had enough voices to deal with my head, I didn’t want an extra voice. I was happy whenever I saw my friends winning awards because I wanted to win too.
Mathematics was one subject I didn’t just gel with. Those numbers were not easy to crunch because in my mind, I am average. It wasn’t like I didn’t want to try. I even added Further Mathematics to my list of elective subjects just to prove to myself that I was better than who I thought I was. By mid-second year in Senior High, I stopped attending Further Mathematics class because I had become an average junkie and the best number crunchers were too good at it. WAEC came and on the day of Mathematics, you should have imagined what happened to the average girl, she prepared, got into the exam hall and couldn’t write anything. The pen seemed to have just glued onto the exam paper and wouldn’t move. The clock kept ticking and about 30 minutes to the end of the exam I busted into tears as the exam invigilator made the announcement to start tidying up our sheets and extra sheets when I didn’t even collect one. I tried to write something and voila! Exam was over. When I saw my WAEC grades, I had a D7 in Mathematics and I wasn’t going anywhere as a Science Student without my Mathematics.
I quickly registered for the November GCE and you know what, I failed Mathematics again. I got admissions into the Pre-degree program of the University with my NECO results, though my mentor believed that NECO wasn’t good enough. I had to still write WAEC till I passed Mathematics.
The turning point arrived when I resumed for the first semester of my Pre-degree program and I looked into the mirror and spoke to myself in these words “Dolapo Olajumoke, you are coming out as the best student in this pre-degree program and you must not graduate with anything less than a Second class upper from your Bachelors”. I went on to attend any available tutorial and studied hard. I also learnt from those who knew what I didn’t. My tutor was Abiodun Kolade. Guess what happened, I had the first best result in my lifetime with As and Bs, my name was published on the merit list and I got admitted into the department of my choice.
My approach to life suddenly changed, my confidence levels started rising. I wrote GCE again during my first year exams, this was a different Dolapo combining two exams together. At this point, I passed Mathematics and I had my complete WAEC result finally. My CGPA never went below a second class upper till I graduated, there was no carry over drama, I finished as one of the tops in my class but you know as Oliver Twist was never satisfied, I was unsatisfied. In my head, I was like “Dolapo you would have made a first class if you told yourself to do so”. I went on for my postgraduate program in the UK and I also pursued another certification in the United States concurrently. The climax of both programs was a Merit and a Distinction.
The voices in my head gradually disappeared as my mentor (my biological father) believed so much in me that he would invest his last breathe in me, I started expressing myself without holding back, a new Dolapo emerged filled with confidence, I felt peace in my spirit and I found fulfillment in anything I dreamed of and visualized to achieve. Who would believe that the once perceived to be average little girl would now be a team lead, On Air Nutrition Counselor for a Radio show and the founder of the Nutritious lifestyle.
I am still dreaming because I broke up with fear long ago to become the true version of myself.
I love you Dad and Mum, thanks for never giving up on me; you saw beyond me to bring out the best in me.