2019- ME AND MY KNAPSACK
Hello there and welcome to my 2019 review
I did not feel like writing this year, choosing to just reflect on the memories of the year seemed like a much easier option but if there is anything that this year taught me, it is that easy never does it. So here we are, documenting the pain, process and possibilities that defined 2019.
The end was the beginning- January-March ish
After 5 years + x, I got to leave University (the building at least) and the fear of exams was replaced by a trepidation of what adulting held in store for me. Instead of trying to finish my long essay, I spent it turning up at house parties and hangouts. Shout out to the Cele 69, Quarters Drive and Parakin Drive crew for great memories. Graduation officially came in December and I did not pay or participate in the ceremonies. I don’t know if I regret it yet but I know for sure that I had been mentally done with school a long time before that.
Work wise, I joined Tactica in January, a branding and design company run by my guy Fash. It was a great experience sitting down with the business owners, asking questions and getting creative control to build their brand’s voice from scratch. The entire experience was helped by the commitment to excellence and professionalism that Fash demonstrated. I have been lucky to work on several brands across industries over the year and the thrill is always the same. Thank you Tactica!
I also got to work for the Urban Food Fest crew. Creating content around food was new for me but I got my hands dirty and boy did I learn. I constantly found myself googling food festivals, chefs and restaurants on IG. Man’s badass now and I am grateful for this opportunity.
On the noise making side (My MC gig) I hosted the Blackball and inVictus party and the nights Lagos wanted to kill me, the memories made me smile. Thank you to my partner in crime Malo for always being ready to turn up
So what are your plans? April — June
One of the many mixed blessings of going to school in Obafemi Awolowo University is that you get a totally unnecessary mini gap year before law school. In my case I had about 8 months to do as I pleased. I was still struggling to write my long essay and get done with my obligations to school when the questions started coming in; what’s next for you? where are you interning?
To be honest, I had a plan. I had decided in my final year that I was not going to intern in a law firm, I was going to explore the creative side of me and see if it served any purpose apart from helping me scam my way through boring exams.
I had done a couple of stuff; planned events, written content, pitched to firms and built brands from the ground up but I wanted more. I wanted validation, to see if my work could cut it in the real world. I wanted clarity and certainty to see if there were career paths to build on, I wanted experience, a run at it in structured environment with constructive criticism to get better.
So I started sending out applications to players in the PR, Marketing, and Advertising firms. I slid into DMs, reworked CV and cover letters. In this time, I had escaped to Benin to avoid my mother and the incessant pressure to do something and join my mates in Lagos. My mother came to Benin, she said they had found accommodation for me in Lagos and I should find a job asap . That was about to be the biggest joke of the year but then more than ever I felt the need for a miracle, I needed something to turn up or I was going to have to turn to law firms.
Side Note- If this is you right now, my advice is to stay the course and follow through with your decision. In discovering or breaking into another industry, courses are great, mentors will help a little but nothing beats hands on experience. You would wake up to elevator selfies and pictures of hangouts but you must remember why you chose this lonely path and chase it down every day. Look out for opportunities that allow you to actually work and give insight to clients across a range of industries. The skills you learn will be transferable and prove valuable if you decide to pivot to another industry.
While all this was happening, I still had my long essay hanging over my head, so I headed to school to take another stab at contributing to the body of knowledge in Nigeria. The rumors of a deadline were beginning to become real and at this point I just wanted to pass and be done.
This was when Anakle happened. I had been following the company obsessively for a while after reading about it in an article by one of my Twitter faves, Chydee. I saw a BC about a digital marketing internship, with doubt in my mind and very little information to go on, I sent in my application. I got a call for an interview (the most unusual experience) and that’s when my Lagos story began
EKO MA PA MI NOW
I resumed at Anakle (and life in Lagos) in July taking off the better part of my first week to finish up my long essay and finally close that chapter of my life.
So remember that accommodation that was supposed to be sorted, it turned out to be audio accommodation, promises, pictures and deadlines faded away and I kept foolishly hoping that it would come through for the better part of my internship It never happened and that shit f*cked me up
But we move in all things innit? So while still hoping for this accommodation to come through, I took up residence in a Guest house/ Short time/Lodge. The deal was simple, I sorted the manager every week and in return, I got a place to sleep and have my bath every day. I got lucky most times, getting a room to crash with the manager, other times, I was a resident couch potato across several rooms in the building. I felt unsafe throughout this period, constantly waking up in the night to anxiety attacks and barely getting any sleep. In ways I can’t explain. This messed with my mind in so many ways I can’t put into words.
Pro tip- The bucket and bowl will never fail you. Always keep it full. Also make friends with gate men, they will save your life a couple of times.
Work was my escape in all this. I headed to work every morning and watched it all fade away. I laughed, bantered and met the most exciting people. Sometimes the stress of my life broke through that space and power naps broke the hour gap, I lost my temper, was not in the right head space et al but did I die? Not even when my bus lost its tire on 3rd mainland and took me close, Not throughout my midnight trips to Ibadan or when my manager paddy left his job and had me clueless as to what to do, I survived.
Special shout out to everybody that knowingly or unknowingly gave me a place to crash; Church folks for the secondary school dormitory, Alfa for the beach house, Tolu for that night when I had no options, Segun for the Sangotedo hookup, Otiga for the Peka Pilgrimage, the Kories for taking me in on weekends and anywhere else I missed out, the body remembers.
THE ANAKLE EXPERIENCE
How do you write about something that is a feeling yet tangible all at once, that’s how hard it is to describe my Anakle experience? Remember all those questions I had? I got answers to them in hours of work, conversations, and tasks.
The world is full of so many talented people who just need an opportunity to express themselves and build a career. That’s what the Anakle experience is about; a bridge without toll for shaping raw talent, passion and energy no matter your background or social status.
All this is of course made possible by the incredible people who work there. There are too many people to mention and I fear that just like my closing presentation, I might get overly emotional if I start. so I’ll just let the pictures do the talking. Shout out to the Class of 2019; Ko ni ever baje.
Some quick lessons
1 Talent is great but be ready to put in the work. Stretch yourself!
2 People matter everywhere and mentors are key, I was privileged to have the very best guiding me
3 Have conversations beyond work, build relationships and listen to stories of growth, in them you will find answers and inspiration.
FEEL FREE TO ABSOLUTELY SKIP THIS PART (This where I write all the emotional stuff I put down in my notes make e no go waste)
A part of 2019 left me feeling like I had not cracked the leadership code. Leaving school and leadership positions was a reminder that I had not found a way to bring people behind purpose, be overtly inspiring or charismatic. I had the best ideas but also the tendency to lead power plays and undermine leadership.
This concern was resolved during my Anakle stint. I learnt that there were different ways to lead and how to constantly stay aware of your teams needs and motivate them. In the end, the goal is to consciously learn to submit when I need to and step up to the plate to lead too. A creative person without these traits can easily crash and burn.
I also figured that I don’t want the CEO lifestyle — building a brand, I just want to be the creative plug, project leader and henchman driving the process at a place where I can get rewarding work done.
Nothing much to report here. This year was about realizing too late an unrelenting ability to be a shitty person when it came to emotional commitments. I am slowly retracing my steps and building broken bridges in the new year. Shout out to family for pushing through and holding it down in 2019, Mamosky, Mrs E, Sisto,Dr Bobo.
Another year, another pledge to do better, so help me God
The goal is to have it all together;GOD (This did not go well in 2019), family, work, fulfillment and joy on repeat. I refuse to believe that it is impossible, I have followed stories of people who have cracked this code in spite of challenges. Maybe it requires a certain degree of forcefulness or selfishness but on God, I would not stop until everything comes full circle.
That being said, I am hopefully headed to the law school in January 2020, so if you miss me, it’s because my head is buried in books trying to conquer Nigerian education again.
Insha allah, we will start next year’s review with a sweet picture of me in a wig and gown which would be swiftly abandoned thereafter.
Until then, let the words from my guy Stannis Baratheon keep you company
‘’We march to victory or we march to defeat, But we go forward, Only forward’’