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#BeInspired Mondays: Dealing with Societal Pressure



Stephanie is a good looking undergraduate in one of the universities in Nigeria. She’s had some carry-overs (a reality among many Nigerian students – including the “scholars”), but in her final year, she discovered that she was going to spend an extra year in school. She has to complete and pass all the courses she could not complete within the four-year traditional university education duration.

Well, no summer school or post-semester remedial classes and exams for her school, and she had reached the maximum course load limit for that session. Long story short, she committed suicide. Apparently, she concluded that not being available on earth was a better option than facing the rejection, discrimination, and shame of spending an extra year as a university student.

Now, that is a true life story, all facts, no fiction. Some of you will say, “Just one year; only one year oh and she took her life”. Don’t be quick to blame her or say “there’s more to it”. I’m sure you must have heard or experienced situations were people took their lives (and those of their loved ones) because they lost all their money. Not that they ran into debt, but because they have no more (or not much) money than they used to; and this loss happened so fast.

Research shows that anxiety, pressure, and depression have risen significantly from just a few decades ago. With the increase in meritocracy and the dwindling of aristocracy, one cannot help but concede to the conclusions of these researches, even without experimentation. Before now, you remain in the social class of which you were born till the day you die, but the reality is changing now as people, through the use of skills, determination, diligence, and hardwork have been able to move up the social class from where they were born.

Meritocracy has set its foot on the ground. With that came increase in pressure to be like the other fellow who rose from the slum to the class of elites. We cover this pressure with words like “I’m inspired by that guy’s story”. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good to be inspired, in fact, essential; but the point I want to make is that there is the hidden pressure to perform like, or outperform your neighbor.

Society has created different milestones for us to meet, and if you do not meet them, you may be called ‘socially maladjusted’.

‘You must be married at 30/25’ (for men and women respectively, and this one particularly, is going down by the year); ‘You must have a house 35-40’; ‘You must have kids between 26-40’; ‘You should be riding your own car at 24’. Society gives you list of things to do to make you show that you are a ‘normal human’. Where then is the time to live the life you so desire? When will you discover your unique self and live it?

Society measures success by what you have that they can see (you can’t blame anybody for that: ‘man looks at the outward appearance’), not by what you have that they cannot see.

Many people (celebrities) who had all that society demanded took their own lives for reasons such as depression, a feeling of emptiness, loneliness, etc. The world will move on the next second if you leave now, why not make sure you leave happy, contented with what you have, and fulfilled?

We want to fit in, to be accepted, to be recognized; they are all good, but they must succumb to the need for exploration of interests; fishing out of talents and things you suck at; developing the discovered talents; and making a contribution to the improvement of other people’s lives.

You should dictate how you live your life.

Have thoughts and contributions on this? Please share.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime


  1. GraceOfGOD

    January 30, 2017 at 2:31 pm

    @IK Nwosu,

    Good afternoon Sir. Just to say a VERY BIG THANK YOU. May GOD bless you for this SUPERB and TIMELY article 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • IK Nwosu

      January 30, 2017 at 4:17 pm

      Thank you! Thank you! This means a lot to me

  2. Iknowbetternow

    January 30, 2017 at 2:55 pm

    The more you people write about these things the more you contribute to the pressure and make us remember what we want to forget.
    The first paragraph resonates with me. I discovered i had 2 extra years after my 4th year and judging by the way i struggled financially in my supposed final year, there was seemingly no chance in hell that i would be able to do that 2 extra years.
    The society was judgemental, the university and learning environment was hostile, the lecturers saddists emeritus and i had no assurance of financial support as father had lost his job and struggling to provide for family. Also i was dealing with so many self esteem issues then.
    I had the option to commit suicide too, but instead i committed to walking away from school and the rest they say is history.
    I regret that i had to abandon the completion of my degree program i had put so much in but if i had means of support and a less judgemental society the story would have been different today.

    • IK Nwosu

      January 30, 2017 at 4:23 pm

      Hi Iknowbetternow.

      Thank you for reading. Sorry for all you went through.

      We write to encourage those going through situations like this.

      I’ve had my own share of depression and I must say, it’s difficult to forget the event(s) that led to it. I made up my mind not to allow it affect me as all that is gone now. It’s difficult but not impossible.

      P.S: You can still do/achieve ANYTHING you set your mind to do.

      It can only get better. Cheers!

  3. Taiwo Emayosanlomo

    January 30, 2017 at 3:56 pm

    Hi Ik,

    Thanks for coming up with this wonderful article. The assertions you made here are not far from the truth. We live in a society that conditions, and indirectly compels us to live in a certain. When you live a life that negates those set standards, we are perceived as a misfit. It takes a strong courage and mental toughness to live in a society where everyone thinks they know better how you should live your life.
    Thanks for sharing.

    • IK Nwosu

      January 30, 2017 at 4:24 pm

      You hit the nail on the head Taiwo. Thanks for reading.

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