As we go through life, weird things happen we wished had never happened and exciting opportunities do come our way that we wish will always be there for us.
One of such exciting times of my life was in the summer of 2012 around the time I was preparing for my high school finals.
I had 3 outstanding external examinations to write namely: WAEC, NECO and UTME. You can imagine the sleepless nights and stress I underwent to ensure I come out on top in each of these examinations. I set huge goals for myself and went to work to achieve them.
High school was over with all its memories and fun, and we couldn’t wait to leave the confines of our missionary school into the ‘freedom’ of the outside world which is a major feature of tertiary institutions. We longed to graduate immediately so we could live our own lives.
When the time came, most of us took the compulsory Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examinations and some weeks later, the results were out. I scored 244! Some of my mates proceeded to take the Post UTME examinations needed for admission into virtually all Nigerian Universities. Excitement filled the air and everyone was eager to know what course one’s mates wanted to study, what school and their admission status…
….Everyone, except me! I had taller dreams.
I missed the date for my Post UTME exams at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka because I was not serious about it. Like most of us, I did not want to further my education here in Nigeria. Earlier that year two things happened to me that changed my view of myself.
First, I lost my dad in February 2012. It was a sad experience that was enough to destabilise me, considering the examinations I was preparing for. But, I thank God for the supernatural strength He gave me to weather the storm. I became more determined to actualise his hopes for me.
Second, the last excursion my set embarked upon was a trip to a US Embassy Resource Center popularly known as American Corner in Calabar where our facilitator, one Mrs Ann Mbesembe exposed us to a whole lot of things about the USA, the racism struggles of Martin Luther King Jr., the slave trade story and lots more via DVD, books and magazines.
She challenged us to the scholarship opportunities that abound for indigent Nigerian students that want to study in the US. She planted a seed of possibility, excellence and aspiration in me. We got to see a book on the best universities in the US, their admission procedures and hundreds of other materials on life in the US for International Students. That was my first exposure to the international world and believe me, I was hooked, hypnotized and determined to pursue a goal best known to me.
The giant in me was awakened!
Fast forward to the day of our graduation where I was privileged to give the valedictory speech… As my mates worried about how they would fare in their Post UTME exams, I dreamed of SAT, TOEFL, International passport, Scholarship essays and all the other interesting things I had to do in order to secure my admission in the US.
The following day, I began my research of the best universities that offered Architecture. At the same time, I purchased the SAT and TOEFL study texts (N8,000 each), each having hundreds of pages.
I devoted my days and nights to intensive study in preparation for trashing these international examinations. It wasn’t easy but somehow, I developed the resilience to follow through with my study plan – so much that I was able to independently cover the two texts before the examination dates. When the date arrived, I travelled to Lagos to write them.
Some days later on, the results were out and I did fairly well in both of them. I scored 1670 in SAT and 102 in TOEFL. Impressive for a first attempt, aren’t they?
My SAT Test Scores
Immediately, I began to process my admission documents – transcripts, passports, scholarship essays, Financial aid, etc. I sought out a way to offset the total cost of my study through scholarships.
Of the 5 Universities I focused my application efforts on, University of Nebraska, Lincoln was the first to give me an admission. And they did not stop there. One of the Financial aids I applied for worked and I was given a yearly scholarship worth $3,000. Hurray!
My admission email.
Thenceforth, I left no stone unturned in making the ambition to come to pass. Everything went on a rough lane until I was forced to take a detour. I had to shut down everything US and start considering the Nigerian alternatives because of this one thing. Can you guess what that was?
M – O – N – E – Y
Yes! I had to forgo my admission in UNL because I did not have enough money to sponsor my tuition there. The total fee as at that time was around $50,000 and there was simply no way in the whole world I could trash that.
I needed to provide a Financial Statement of $38,025 before I could proceed with the admission details.
I had no ‘well-to-do’ relative to look up to. No inherited family wealth, no investments, no businesses, no shares and no bond that I could turn to. All prayers and fasting was to no avail. In fact , because of the poor mindset I grew up with at that time, I simply believed that I was less privileged, unconnected and a victim of circumstance. Imagine the despair and frustration.
Unfortunately, after having a virtual tour of my prospective Architecture department and falling in love with it already; after all the scholarship essays; after all the rumours and glamour, after all the hard study and sleepless nights training myself on TOEFL’s Reading, Listening, Writing and Speaking tests as well as SAT’s Critical Reading, Maths and Writing tests; after spending close to N200,000 in investment towards the admission process; I was forced to turn down my admission into the University of Nebraska, because of MONEY or the Lack of it.
The Unforgettable FINTEL Lessons I Learnt From Losing The Admission
Well, the thing is that I must have lost the admission, I must have lost time and money, but I definitely did not miss the lessons that experience taught me.
How was this possible? I had learnt early on in life to celebrate my failures and see them as stepping stones to higher breakthroughs.
I am definitely sure that God had a role in the way everything turned out – raising my hopes to the zenith and then letting it come crashing down the rocks. Everything was part of his Divine plan for my life. But I have learned to open my mind to the message He was trying to communicate to me through that experience. Below are just 2 of them:
1. The World Owes Me Nothing:
Sometime in the course of my financial struggles, I got to the point that I gave up trying to look for scholarship and simply HOPED that help will miraculously come from ‘somewhere’ – someone I have never met before would call me to offer me the much-needed scholarship because I deserved it, somehow – you know. Little did I know that miracles do not work that way.
Don’t get me wrong, Grace can speak in one’s favour no doubt, but most times we just have to “work out our own salvation”. Faith without works is DEAD.
You see, the problem must of us have is that we feel our parents, the society, the church or the world owes us a fortune. As a result, you find many people who will fast and pray and then sit back, expecting manna to fall from the sky. It doesn’t work that way. Success takes efforts.
2. You Are Responsible for Your Success:
Ever since I went through this experience, I have learnt that “if it’s gonna be, then it’s up to me”. You owe it to yourself to educate yourself financially and learn to take full advantage of the opportunities that come your way…
For instance, since MONEY was the major barrier to my following through with my admission at UNL, I made up my mind to embark on an Intensive study of the Principles of Money, why it is such a big stuff, why it eludes so many people and how it can be harnessed at will.
It was in the course of my study that I discovered the idea of “Financial Intelligence”. This was when I discovered that due to certain conventional beliefs so many of us are seriously uneducated about money.
I summarised my findings into a PDF Report which you can download for free here.
In conclusion, I wouldn’t say that I entirely regret my turning down the admission. Perhaps, God knew that there were still lots of lessons I needed to learn about taking charge of my destiny, hence he sent me to the learning school. I am currently wrapping up my Architecture studies in the Federal University of Uyo, Nigeria and don’t really know what He has in store for me next after convocation. Anyway, until then…
I want to believe that my story has been a blessing to you and you are inspired to begin to take charge of your future.
If so, please take a few moments to drop your questions and comments so I can know how you were touched.