Short, really short, interesting, fabulous, unpredictable…a roller coaster – that’s how I would describe this year. Major Agenda – Finish masters, Get a job.
I started out the year buried in school work, 3 months into my masters program and lots of essays to submit. I was still getting to grips with the whole essay writing system of assessment. Some of them turned out great (usually the ones I started early), others were errr… lets just say I passed. Thus went the first half of the year – classes, studying, essays.
By June, it was time for the second part of the course – dissertation. To say I was clueless is an understatement. I choose a department suggested topic, partly because I liked the research area and partly because the lecturer who proposed the topic would offer a lot of guidance. I got the topic but a different lecturer who knew nothing about gamification and could only offer help with process not with content. In short, OYO was my case.
I changed my research direction almost every week after seeing my supervisor and sharing experiences with some classmates. It was a frustrating period. I ended up doing “A Scientometric Analysis of the Gamification Research Area”, sounds cool yh?, that’s because it is! I submitted a day early and I got the best dissertation award! Which in turn helped me get a distinction ( A goal that I already assumed was no longer possible). Yay!
Despite the frustrations, I had a great time. Someday soon, I’ll talk about all the amazing things I learnt while getting a masters degree in “Information Technology, Management and Organisational Change”.
Now lets talk about non-academic matters.
I lived in a 2 bedroom flat with an amazing friend! you see, I’ve always lived in a hostel or with my family. This living on your own life was awesome, I miss it so much. We had a lot of fun and for the first time in my life, I took healthy eating and exercising seriously, I even joined a gym ( gotta keep the stomach flat ). I had a great time doing youtube dancing exercises, a bit of yoga with roomie, learning to twerk (lmao, I cannot twerk to save my life though, smh). I had a wall of goals – big goals and then small ones to help meet them – including getting a distinction, getting the Lancaster award, saving (lol), travelling, getting a job, improving technical skills, to name a few.
I did get the distinction and the Lancaster award. I didn’t save, in fact, I was broke at the end of my masters. I really need to be more financially responsible. I didn’t travel like I should have, I did go to the beautiful city of Dublin twice and a few cities around UK. I also got a few random part-time jobs, I sucked at one, the other one just sucked.
I learnt to swim, you see, this is a big deal! It’s been on my “to learn” for so long. Of course I need to improve, but I can front crawl properly and I am confident enough swim at the deep end. Yay!
All through, a certain amazing human was the wind beneath my wings, he read every essay more than once, offered advice and direction even when I picked fights over my own essay, lol. I honestly do not know how I would have survived without such amazing support. Thank you darling.
Apart from the interesting things I learnt as part of my program, I learnt the value of exposure, the pleasures of living on your own, explored a different culture, attended a predominantly white church and loved it – the sense of fellowship is awesome. I made amazing new friends, watched a lot of comedy series, had amazing results, volunteered a bit and learnt to make my own wig. I learnt the importance of proper plans and preparation as well as the ability to chill because even if things don’t go the way you plan, it doesn’t mean they won’t turn out great anyway.
Then masters ended plus free money. I had a plan, get a contract job to help with money while searching for a permanent job in the Uk or Dublin. You see, I used to be one of the people who think its weird when people search for jobs for as much as 4 months, surely, you must be doing something wrong. Well, I’ve been humbled. The applications began, I got a lot of calls, from a lot of enthusiastic recruiters (I soon grew to dislike them) but once you explain your visa situation, pop goes the weasel.
Then there’s the rejection letters for reasons untold after lengthy application processes, that shit destroys your self esteem. My CV seemed alright and is always iterating but still. I got two interviews only (one contract, one permanent), aced both interviews and got both jobs, then got fired from the contract job (stories and lessons for another day), the other one is in the balance because of visa issues. We’ll see.
I also started freelancing again, improved my skills, fell in love with treehouse, started worked remotely with a Naija start up – simer.ng (Don’t you love the landing page?). I took on a lot, more than I should sometimes. I have learnt that this results in not giving my very best and just makes me frustrated, so I need to start pacing myself and offsetting my optimism bias. Don’t be deceived, somehow my account is still empty, I find this confusing. How person go dey work everyday yet no money? I need to figure out what I’m doing wrong.
It’s been three months that didn’t go the way I expected it to , because I did not get the kind of jobs or opportunities I felt sure I would. So I lost my rose-colored glasses and I became this whiny person that I did not like. Some days, I wake up sad, unwilling to do anything, some other days, the world is amazing. I have learnt to just show up each day, give my best and be happy. My career still confuses me sometimes, am i putting myself in a box?, should I just drop it all and start over? Doesn’t help that all my experience is in one particular area. I would advice people who want to do masters to get some experience first, say 2 years. I think it gives you better chances.
I have had more questions about religion than any other time in my life this year. I have struggled. However, I still believe because I really don’t know how to go through life without God or maybe I just can’t be bothered to do otherwise, what’s the point really? I like God and I don’t like my belief system being destabilised, I may not be perfect or even good all the time, and I will probably always have unanswered questions, but I like believing in the bible, its the basis of a lot of things I believe in, doubting its ‘authenticity’ affects everything, I don’t want that, will not have that.
I believe the bible is inspired by God, given as our guide to life. I believe that the bible can sometimes be culturally influenced because it is written in a particular age/time therefore instead of taking everything that is written literally, one should interpret as inspired by the holy spirit. I believe that your understanding of the bible should be personal as humans sometimes teach the wrong things or teach at the level of their own understanding at that time or use it as a tool for their own gain. Teachings should be aids for your personal understanding not the ultimate. I believe that christianity is more about how you relate with God and live than it is about religion or rules.
I have also become a lot more accepting of other people and their beliefs. It hurts deeply when people do terrible things in the name of religion. Let’s just hold hands and sing kumbaya.
Its Dec 31st, I am recovering from adult chicken pox and I really don’t know where I’ll be at the end of January. I hate the uncertainty, the feeling of living in transit, waiting for something to happen and not being sure what the best move is. However, I am confident that 2015 will be amazing, my plans are being written.
Ultimately, I am grateful for this year. I am grateful for life, the opportunities I’ve had, my amazing family (See, family is everything. Its amazing to know they’ve got your back) and friends. I am especially grateful for my best friend who is also the love of my life, I have latched on to this one. There has been a lot of great news – my friends got great jobs, got engaged or married, one new nephew was added to the family, lots of new projects. I have learnt to show up, live, love, learn and chose to dance every time. I am a better person than I was last year, I have grown in a lot of ways and even when I am whining, I realise that my life is amazing.
I expect 2015 to exceed my expectations in amazing ways. Cheers to new beginnings.