I remember how, about 4, 5 years ago when BellaNaija made the first call for epilogues, I would log in daily to read people’s experience and tell myself that one day, I’d put out my epilogue too. I don’t know if it was laziness or not knowing what to write that held me back. Well, I’m still not sure I have been in the best mood to assemble my thoughts together and make them into words, but I also want to take this opportunity to reflect on the year, and allow people to learn from my experience just as I have learned from others.
I started 2021 as a youth corp member somewhere in Rivers State. My service year was mostly the COVID-19 period and I would say my service year was mostly uneventful: I never went for CDS, I still don’t even know what is being done in CDS. I had a lot of anxiety about what life after NYSC would be like. My main goal for 2021 had been to secure a scholarship abroad and go back to school by winter session 2021. I had even invested a good chunk of my NYSC savings in writing IELTS around December, and had made an overall band score of 7.5 (not such a bad score, right?). My target was mostly Europe, because I believed I couldn’t pay the application fees US and Canadian schools always required. Ooly if I had known better then. Well, after a lot of applications, drafting essays and calling lecturers to upload recommendation letters and feeling overwhelmed in-between, I got offered a couple of admissions but no scholarship. One very painful experience was a particular Erasmus program. When I wrote to the committee that I was willing to join as a self-funded student and asked for an admission letter since they already made me that offer, the kind of reply I got clearly showed that I wouldn’t even be given an admission letter if I can’t secure an external scholarship on my own. It made me wonder why they offered me admission in the first place. This sounds light now that I’m writing about it, but it was a very sad thing for me: I didn’t achieve my main goal of 2021.
Financially, well, I made a lot of terrible financial decisions this year, in fact, it started towards the end of 2020. I had earlier taken all the money I had saved up from my undergraduate scholarship and invested more than half a million in that particular popular investment company that was based in Port Harcourt. My main motivation was to have a sustaining source of income for when I’m done with NYSC, which was fast approaching then. It was a sort of back up plan, but the company started their problem just a month after my investment and, like many other investors, I lost my money to date; my financial back up plan collapsed before I even needed it.
Then Chymall came along, a very close friend was always preaching about it on his WhatsApp status. A month to my POP, I decided to give it a try. I was very unlucky once again as they started telling stories just a month after. That was how I lost about 54k.
Then the third one (I know, I didn’t learn from experience), I had this undergraduate classmate, a quiet kinda religious guy who was heavily into forex even before we graduated, and had started this forex investment company. A little investment in forex wouldn’t hurt, right? By this time, I was thoroughly broke, but then I had my mum’s money in my possession which I was supposed to keep. Long story short, I started getting excuses three months after I invested my mum’s money. I haven’t even recovered the capital yet. I feel the only decent financial decision I made this year was getting into crypto, I still haven’t made the big bucks from it but I understand the potential and am still exploring it carefully this time.
Career wise, I wrote a lot of aptitude tests this year. I have even travelled from PH to Lagos twice for the recruitment process for a certain big firm, which I still haven’t heard back till today, after more than five months. I’m still pained by the expenses I made for those journeys. Before then, I was fortunate to get an intern position almost immediately after finishing my service year. I earned a fair stipend but unfortunately, I found it very difficult to save anything. Honestly, I understood the meaning of living paycheck to paycheck, however, I learned a lot from my internship experience, in fact, I would credit my personal development of this year to the internship. I learned vital life lessons both from the job and the people I was privileged to work with – it was my first realisation of what real life and paying bills look like. Just towards the end of this year, I got an entry role with a better organisation and the funny part was that the whole process was done virtually, I accepted the offer. I’m grateful that my job-hunt yielded fruit and that I was able to get jobs without knowing anyone. I realised it is possible for anyone; it only requires some hard work.
My spiritual life was just there, it could have been better but it is what it is. Relationship-wise, omo! I follow for people wey no even kiss this year, team ‘heaven is the goal’.
Overall, if I was asked to rate this year on a scale of 1–10, I would give it a 7. I made terrible financial mistakes but honestly, I don’t even regret them now. This was a year I would say I experienced how real-life situations can be, I came to understand what really matters in life, I learned from my failures and mistakes, I’m still learning and still evolving and looking forward to the new year.
For 2022, well, I just want to relocate abroad and study and explore the world, make enough money legally to take care of people that I care about. I’m now considering the option of actually self-funding my education, but no solid strategy yet on how to raise such money before then. Hopefully, I will figure it out soon or maybe my crypto portfolio should just do a hundred thousand percent before then (God, abeg!!!).
I’m looking forward to next year, to experiencing more growth and chasing my dreams, and starting this writing journey that I have been procrastinating since Adam, so help me God.
Thank you Bellanaija for this opportunity, and thank you all for reading my epilogue.