The first time I remember I had to make a choice was when I was to write entrance examination (called JAMB in Nigeria) into the University. After obtaining the form, I was required to select my preferred course of study and thankfully, I had the luxury of parents who would never choose a course for their children.
My mother insisted we chose whatever we wanted to study and only emphasised we made sure we came out with good grades. That was the practice in my family and all my siblings had towed different career paths as they deemed fit.
But my case was slightly different as my elder brother went ahead to fill my JAMB form and chose a course for me and to my greatest surprise he chose Medicine and Surgery, a course I knew I didn’t want to study. Worse still he didn’t consult me before submitting the form and by the time I got to know, there was nothing I could do. That was how I didn’t get into the University that year and had to wait for the next year.
After many months, I remember walking into my mother’s room one day and telling her:
“Mummy, I want to study Pharmacy.”
She looked at me and asked:
“Pharmacy? Where will you study Pharmacy? They don’t offer it at our State University!”
I knew that very well, I had done my research and had spent hours back and forth every page of the JAMB brochure and knew almost all the schools and what they offered. I also understood what my mother meant by that question:
Getting admission into any course was easier at your State University in Nigeria and because we were indigenes, she knew a few buttons to press to get me in, so she was genuinely concerned and didn’t want me to spend another year at home.
Without thinking, I replied: “University of Nigeria, Nsukka. They offer Pharmacy.”
“Hmmmm”! She quipped. “I hope you know what that means, you have to study very hard and get a very high score that will give you admission on merit. I don’t know anybody there o.” She cried.
Well, that was exactly what happened. I got the form and wrote the exam and was offered admission on merit. It was a proud moment for my mother and she has not stopped talking about it.
That was the beginning of my journey into making choices for myself and facing the consequences. My mother made me understand that whatever path I chose in life, I was responsible for the consequences.
It was my duty to make sure I put in the discipline and courage required, not only make a choice but to ‘own it’ and if it doesn’t go well, it was also my responsibility to face the consequences. So for every tough exam I had to write in school, I remembered that: “This was my choice, nobody dragged me into it.”
Everyday in life, you have to make choices; some are big while others are small. For me, I believe every choice is important and must be given careful thought. Choices are doorways through which you walk into your destiny.
The truth is that we all make choices even when we are not aware of them. Some, we make unprepared and mindlessly while others, we think through. Whatever the case, every new day presents us with opportunities that we either turn down or step into. And most times choices are absolute. What do I mean? When you say Yes to something, you are saying No to something else.
For example, I said No to Medicine and Surgery so that I can say Yes to Pharmacy. It was my choice, I couldn’t study both, at least not at the same time.
In the same way, when we choose a path, you embrace all it brings your way and turn your back on other paths. When you choose your friends, life partner, career path or job you are letting go of a lot of other mutually exclusive options to focus on your choice.
No wonder they say: “You can’t have your cake and eat it.”
Once again, everyday is a day to choose. What have you chosen today? This week? This year? That’s the path of destiny you’ll walk in. I want to believe you have chosen a path you’ll look back and be proud of, a path that you can boldly say “I chose it” and be responsible for the outcome. And I pray my guess is right.
Let me also say that there are some things we don’t choose in life, things like our family, country of birth or origin and of course, growing up (#smiles) but we can choose how we react to life and what we make out of these situations.
There’s no need staying bitter about things that are not within your power to change when you can get better by reacting differently, that’s a choice you’ll have to make.
Finally, if you’ve made poor choices in the past, you don’t have to keep going down that path. A turn around is always difficult but not impossible.
It’s time to choose again and this time, I’ll be glad to help if you need someone to talk to. I’ll be waiting for your mail to [email protected] or you can leave a message and I’ll get across to you. It will be my pleasure.
Do have a beautiful week ahead and don’t forget to stay on the best path!