Growing up Nigerian there are certain career choices that are expected and anything outside that…well…you were looked at as ‘unserious’. This may not be the same for all homes but most and a lot of us could relate to this. It was either you wanted to be a doctor or a lawyer or an engineer. In school presentations, those were the careers they would directly or indirectly tell you to aim at. Even the coloring books would always have a man in a white coat smiling with a stethoscope around his neck. Be a doctor! Be a lawyer! Be an engineer! All those pages would scream at you. Well, I probably had a hearing issue because that was not what I heard.
I was the unconventional child.
I was the odd one out, not for one day did I ever aim for any of those big shiny careers, I was not the best in math or science. In fact, I was one of these children that had my report card decorated in red, like a bad bad Christmas present for my parents.
Anyway, I was that child and in a Nigerian home, that is not very acceptable. My big sister wanted to be a doctor; I wanted to be a nurse because I loved the idea of being close to the patients. Even as a child I saw doctors as being very distant and I felt nurse were the ones that really took care of patients, except the ones that jammed the injections into your veins as if it was a fork in an uncooked stake. Later on, I wanted to be a teacher because I felt they were heroes in their right, but even my teachers did not want to be teachers. At this point, you get the picture. I did not aim for the typical things and I was not typical. My parents could not place me in a box, unlike my sister.
Somehow I could write essays that blew my English teacher away and could draw and paint until the extent I was my art teachers little pet. These were things I thrived in effortlessly but there were not things people saw and thought would make me great someday. Fast forward to university, I was doing great in school but I wanted to be an entrepreneur, I did not want a 9 – 5…..unconventional. Once again, I could see these coloring books of lawyers and doctors as people told me that going into business was not it.
It is sad to say that a lot of us were born from generations that thought this way, and we were born into a new generation that thinks otherwise. Even as doctors, lawyers, or engineers we have thought about doing it different. We have innovations in health today, we have ‘DIYLaw’ an online platform to connect with lawyers and we have so much more. It is only now that I have discovered that being the unconventional child was not bad at all. My joy in writing made me start and run a successful blog, today I have my own business which keeps me so busy while I apply for a 9-5, from my bed I have crafted and birthed so many amazing ideas. The unconventional people will change the world!
I am and always will be an advocate for living and being your best self. Be unconventional, do not place yourself in a box, do not be afraid of your ‘different’. It is what would set you apart in the end.
So share with us below! What is your experience in being an unconventional child in a Nigerian home?