Having spent over seven years of my life teaching youths and preparing students for the new world of Higher Institution, I find it needful to write to all those who are on their way to the University, Polytechnic or College- or have started the journey already.
And especially to my former students who I have invested in with love, time and energy, I am doing this for you all.
Lest you resume school totally unprepared and face the new challenges without prior warning, I think it will be good for you to know a thing or two.
When I was an undergraduate, I know many persons who dropped out of Medicine and Engineering because they could no longer cope.
I am stating this to emphasize that though you may be intelligent enough to have scored 300 in the UTME and get your dream course, there are other factors outside Intelligence and diligence that determine the course of your journey through the higher institution.
And those are the ones I will try to address.
It is my hope and prayer for you to continue in the good way you have started life and even become better; hence, the need for this composition.
As you take these first steps into the rest of your life, there are some things I must tell you.
I have told you most of these things before now during my classes with you, but I am putting it into writing because the faintest ink is better than the sharpest brain.
Written words are permanent.
I doubt if I will be able to pen everything down but I will try my best.
1. Never, I repeat, never lose your good character and happiness.
Because of the very few times you have encountered great sorrows and seen the evil in men, I believe you still possess a good soul and a free spirit that keeps you happy.
Your character, if you have been trained by good parents, would be largely good and kind but exposure to other characters in school may threaten to change that.
I have seen people who entered into school happy and free as you are, but because of pressure and accusations as well as misunderstanding, they gradually become withdrawn, bitter and sad. Their formerly happy faces became long and worn.
I was accused wrongly, not even once or twice during my stay in school, but I never allowed it steal my happiness and humor.
People will talk.
They will judge, but you own your heart.
Don’t ever let them change your goodness and everything that is good about you ’cause I assure you, character, a good one, is one of the most important things you can have in this life.
Happiness is a most necessary tool in your travel through life; don’t lose it because of anybody or anything. If you do, it will be hard to find.
2. Don’t judge people too quickly.
Most humans only begin to form their mentality and philosophy when they leave their parents’ home and you will soon discover there are a lot of strange characters which you have never thought exist.
The higher institution is a pot of very diverse humans all from different creeds, tribes and backgrounds. There are some whose characters are so unbelievable you have only see them in movies.
Because of this, it will be very easy for you to condemn them and judge them, wondering where and how they came to be so bad.
But you have to remember, it is not everyone who grew up in a godly family, it is not everyone who had the opportunity to have a caring father or mother- some do not even have one at all.
So just give them a chance, look past their faults for a while, try to understand why they are like that and make an effort to influence them for better.
Never give up on people you meet. I’d like to believe there is a reason why you meet.
Leave good and remarkable footprints in their lives such that if you meet after 20 years, they will still be able to remember you for good.
Don’t judge people quickly or join the popular club of hypocritical stone-throwers.
3. Beware of Goats in Sheep’s Clothing.
Many humans are pretenders and actors with a dark heart of ulterior motives well hidden behind smiling faces.
They may come to you as fellow Christians and it may even appear they are more zealous for the things of God.
But don’t be deceived by them.
There is no true Christianity without freedom from sin and Love.
Watch out for those two things, if they are absent, no matter who she or he may be, she is not a christian; he is false.
And when you finally choose your friends, be wary of persons whose focus is far from education.
They may keep inviting you to join a social club or a recreational group, but once it will stand against your focus on books, turn them down.
Because whether you like it or not, you need friends to really make a good success.
I must also tell you this: be firm.
Many people you meet in school, especially those older than you in age will want to become your gods and rule over you; don’t allow them. Never allow them.
When you see people speaking down at you and always trying to force their opinions and choices on you, be stubborn, hold on to your own right belief, never bulge.
Once you change for them once, they will begin to think they can force you to do what they want.
I am not saying you should never accept people’s suggestions and advice; but I trust you know what I mean.
4. Don’t make enemies.
I must quickly point out that no matter how free and kind you may be, there will definitely be people who will rise up against you.
There will surely be frictions especially with people who are close to you- roommates, classmates and church mates.
Anger may rise, tempers flare, hurtful words exchanged; but remember that injunction, let not the sun go down on your anger.
Do not rest until you’ve made your peace with them.
I am telling you right now; in all my years in the University, there is NO single person who I still bear a grudge against till now.
I have made peace with them all.
Yes, we quarrel, but two days at most, I forgive and let it pass.
Don’t make and stay enemies with people you meet over there. Because at the end of it all, fellow humans are what we are left with.
The memories made when we were together will last more than any concept or science we may learn as a course.
Most of the important people I have in my life presently were roommate or classmates or members of my fellowship when I was an undergraduate. And five years later, we are still together.
Never leave people on bad terms.
5. Help People.
This will be one of the greatest achievements you will ever make.
A person you were able to give money and help financially, someone you were able to explain things to- academic help, a person you were able to advise and counsel- mental or emotional help, a person you were able to raise up in prayer and visitation- spiritual help, and every other way you can help people, please do.
When you assist a person, You are quietly but surely writing on the pages of their life with ink, and though the kindness may be forgotten, it will never go unrewarded.
It will come back to you.
You never can tell what tomorrow or the next five years after graduation may hold for you- so plant the seeds of helping hands now.
Life is not a competition and the assistance you render to any other soul will never stand in your way of progress.
Please, always help those who you can.
6. Study Hard.
No matter what anyone may say, the main reason you are in the higher institution is to study: to learn your course of study for the next four or five years.
So read, read more and read again. Don’t concern yourself with the distractions common to guys and ladies of your generation, you can do without them for now.
You had more distinctions and credits in the SSCE and scored a good mark in UTME, and I have been proud of you since then.
Now is the ultimate.
I hope you will do better than this your teacher who had a Second Class upper. You know what that means.
Read for it, pay the price, cover all grounds. Do well.
And by the way, your past average academic score has no effect or bearing whatsoever on your undergraduate results.
So, start anew. Write a new and bright success story.
Bend your back, deny and discipline yourself, suffer, and make it out of school with a result you will forever be proud of.
And make me proud too.
Study well and focus on your books.
7. Remember God, always.
You will be surprised how you will grow to need a rock, someone to lean on.
You will be faced with challenges, questions and decisions. You may even find yourself in some situations and you don’t know where to turn to.
Neither your parents, your pastor, friends, nor I will be there, but God will always be there to cry and pray to.
And how can you pray if you are not a friend of God? How can you be a friend of God if you are not saved from sin? How can you be saved without forgiveness?
I want you to start your walk with God today and get nearer than you ever have.
I only began to see myself and act like a child of God when I became a student of UNIBEN. It was only then did I start my journey.
And once that is settled, all you would need is put your complete trust in God.
And remember this, serve God.
Join the service of God, evangelize, be a full child of God, and His presence will ever be with you.
And a final advice;
Before you resume, hold many pictures and even video of your siblings and parents and keep it stored in your phone.
You may need to watch these videos and stare at these pictures when you are looking for something familiar and refreshing to hold on to.
Don’t neglect your family and friends outside the campus. Reach out to them when you can.
I am also here for you.
And most importantly, God is always there.
There is an empty and limitless future before you, make it count. Fill it with wonderful memories and success stories.
Very empty pages are opened before you; Write a good story that you will be able to tell your children about.
YOUR LIFE STARTS NOW!
Written by your teacher and friend,
Victor James Wahab