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Navigating Extra Year In A Nigerian University Humbles You

Hi sweets. Welcome to the coolest month of the year! You don't have to argue. June is the coolest month of the year. Say "kool" and then, say "joon". Got you!

I will be hitting the big three-0 on the 26th day of the coolest month. And like I told you last week, I will be sharing lessons from being a 20-something just before my journey into 30s begins.

This is the first lesson. I hope it inspires you in some way. Happy reading!

Extra Year Experience

Navigating extra year in the university

At 20, I was to graduate from the university of Nigeria, Nsukka but I failed two final-year courses that kept me back in school.

I still claim to have graduated at 20 whenever I'm asked because technically speaking. . .yeah?

Nearly all my course mates had graduated and were moving on for NYSC when I found myself in the exam hall with a pen and paper writing ACC411 and ACC401. (Or, was it ACC402? I can't even remember. Lol). I am laughing about it right now but it wasn't funny at 21.

At 21, having an extra year was a severe experience. Knowing that I had never failed an exam before getting into the university, I was almost losing it.

I was so sad. So depressed. So confused. I thought God didn't love me anymore. I felt isolated, too.


Then I took the exams. Results were released. I passed. My name was out on the convocation list.

I remember refusing to attend my convocation ceremony at the time. Not because I wasn't proud of my second class result, but because I saw no need to go. I had no motivation. And that's still one of my biggest regrets. If not for anything but for the pictures I didn't take in my academic gown and cap.

Ah, extra year?!? Me?!?

I was too pained.

I was too embarrassed.

I wanted to shave all of my hair. I didn't see the need to look good. Look good for who? Dress up for what?

I lost the zeal to live. I literally wanted to kill myself. Like, I attempted to commit suicide.

Now, this is what I will tell anyone having an extra year in the university:

First and foremost, having an extra is not the worst thing that can happen to you. It only presents you an opportunity to better yourself.

DON'T kill yourself.

DON'T isolate yourself.

DON'T stay away from home or those you love. Let your parents know that you are having an extra year. There is no need to lie or pretend. Find the courage to tell those who matter, and not those who would spread a gossip.

Second, having an extra year does not determine your future. In fact, it has absolutely nothing to do with how far you would go in life.

Do you know there are first class graduates and masters degree holders still wandering on the streets? Stop thinking and worrying about how to get a job with a second class or third class. Start thinking about how you will make the best of your life. Your journey. Your story.

Life is more than going to school, graduating with a good grade and getting a job. 

A successful life is not absolutely dependent on your school certificate. Check out the great guys out there, they failed several times before achieving success! This is not me saying you should not take school seriously, in fact, your priority should be to finish school. I'm saying there is more to life.

Not many people know the reason for education, they only think it's about going to school and getting a job. However, it's more about developing your self and equipping your mind towards your purpose and passion.

As a matter of fact, I have never used my school certificate to get a job.

Yes, it's mentioned on my curriculum vitae that I studied Accounting at the university but it had not been a prerequisite for the job(s) I got. Maybe someday, it will.

Today, I own and run a business — AMAKAMEDIA PRODUCTIONS, a fast growing creative network producing and directing content across diverse mediums for brands that have their customers at heart.

Me at 21.

It's okay to feel down and low because you are having an extra year. Brace yourself and face your extra year with poise and grace. It's not about how far or how fast but how well you are able to stand tall through it all.

You are not dumb. You are intelligent. You are smart. You will do great things. 

Finally, FIND out what you are passionate about and throw yourself into it while waiting. During my extra year, I attended certification and non-certification training programmes. Thanks to my mum and boyfriend at the time (I told you about him in my book, He Wasn't My Husband) who encouraged and pushed me.

Having an extra year toughened me. 

I can boldly say that an extra year is an extra time for you to amend whatever is needed to be fixed in your mindset, on your path to fulfilling purpose. It took an extra year to make me a bit more humble (God is still working in me).

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
— Romans 8:28

I'm thankful for the extra year I had. And I am so excited for what's in store for me in my 30s. Oh God! 

* * * *

This is the first piece of #20Pieces. We'll have the second piece tomorrow. 🙂

Let me know in the comment box if you have had any similar experience. Let's learn from you.

Stay inspired.
Stay positive.
Stay lovely.

Written by Nwamaka Onyekachi
Let's connect on Twitter: @Amakamedia
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Heart Rays . . . giving light.

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