What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

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I sincerely hope that the individual that came up with this question has received the punishment they deserve. What does it even mean? It is evil to put such immense pressure on any growing child. When asked this question, I had always replied that I wanted to become an Architect. My dad is an Architect and when I was younger, my sister and I got to go with him on work trips and attend some of his meetings. This was how I got to visit most parts of Nigeria that I would never dream of going to now and a few African countries I would love to visit again. I loved his job and that was what I wanted to do when I got older. Writing this makes me a little sad, as this is no longer the case.

In secondary school, I realized that I had to study science subjects if I wanted to study Architecture. Mathematics was definitely not my forte and I knew there was no way I would do well at subjects such as Physics and Chemistry. I saw no point doing subjects I would struggle with and so I decided to study subjects such as Literature, History and Government instead. That was the end of my Architecture dream and I no longer knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. In school, I loved History and Literature. It was fascinating to learn about the history of Nigeria and Africa and I loved the Literature books we were required to study. I left secondary school not knowing what I wanted to be but I told anyone who asked that I wanted to be a Lawyer. I mean, there was nothing else I could possibly be. I hated Economics and there was no way I was going to consider studying it at university. I still don’t trust anyone who tells me they’re studying Economics. How can you study Economics?

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The received idea in Nigeria is that you have to be a Doctor, Lawyer, Engineer or Banker to make it in life. Basically, you need to have a 9-5 job that ensures job security and the possibility of promotions. Of course this isn’t true as there are many successful individuals in Nigeria who don’t fit into this category but the stereotype remains and has eaten deep into the Nigerian educational system. I’ve never had much faith in this system and so; I’ve never really been swayed by it. Luckily I was not going to university immediately; I was going to do a Foundation course and I had one year to decide what I wanted to spend the rest of my life doing. After some research and tears, I finally decided that I wanted to study European and International Law. Obviously, this never happened, as I am now a dropout. I figured, since I like the idea of traveling to different places and I'm interested in human rights, I could become an International Human Rights lawyer. I can only think of all the education I need for this to happen.  School sucks. If dropping out didn’t get such negative attention in Nigeria, I would have done that without thinking about it. There just aren’t many other routes to a successful career besides going to university, in Nigeria. I can't sing or dance to save my life and I wouldn’t want to end up selling fried yam and roasted plantain by the roadside.

Recently, journalism caught my attention. The plan is to study Law and then go on to become a journalist/writer. I have found that there are numbers of Lawyers turned journalists/writers. Probably, I am to become one of them. This feels like a waste of a Law degree but I can’t bring my self to consider studying something else. I guess I have been affected by the Nigerian career stereotype in a way. The only difference is that I’m not going to go on to actually become a lawyer. Maybe… I don’t know. I do know however, that I don’t want to end up miserable for the rest of my life doing something I hate. I envy those who know exactly what they want. I wish it were that easy but it isn’t. I blame whoever came up with that question for my indecisiveness. Here is a list of all the things I want to be:

  • ·      International Human Rights Lawyer
  • ·      Journalist
  • ·      Documentary Film Maker
  • ·      Writer
  • ·      Beyoncé
  • ·      Superwoman

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And no, I can’t choose one but if all fails, I can always ramble about it on this blog.

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