Omojo: Building New Relationships is Not Fascinating
Hearty: When you started thinking about plans after school, you must have resolved some plans. Do you mind sharing?
Omojo: I have plans for after school. First, plans as regards my course of study—Microbiology. The first thing we are facing now is the issue of service, NYSC. While also running through the one-year NYSC program, I intend to get busy with some other things. Things like skills, and processing my journey in school. All those experiences I’ve gained. I intend to use them to get some things done during my service year.
Hearty: What were those skills you learned during your course of study apart from the normal course of study in UI
Omojo: Can I skip?
Hearty: Okay, skip
Omojo: Okay, let me paraphrase. Basically one of them is content writing. I intend to take on remote jobs. There’s also room for development. I’m still going to be taking courses on content writing and some other things. I intend to work with it remotely. Another thing I just got into is data analysis. I want to see how I’ll go with that. I’m not necessarily into that tech space. I just took the course because I felt like in every sphere of life, you’ll need that basic knowledge.
Even when I was doing my final year project, we were talking about Data analysis. I think many people got into that crisis. So, when most got into that part of their final year project, they had to start looking for who to do it for them. I just opened my mind to it that this is something that I needed to know since I might need it in the future and I don’t know when exactly I’m going to need the skill. Generally, companies now or workspaces might just need those soft skills. I’m not necessarily a tech-woman, it is just to gain the skill. That’s one thing I want to invest my time in after school…during my service year.
I’m not just going to be serving my country, marching and doing all that “Arise oh compatriot.”
Omojo: I want to be focused on my personal development. There are some other things that I’ve gotten into especially in this phase of final year that I will continue with. I’m working with my friend, my roommate, on her Nutri-health brand. She is a nutritionist and she’s working on this diet plan, juxtaposition with health crises, issues, disorders, and all those things. Those are my short-term plans. These are things that will take my time in the next one or two years.
Hearty: That means you did not have any confusion about what direction to take. You did not have any fear. Nothing was pressuring you.
Omojo: Fear po oh. And, I think it was after my final exams that I started to let things go. Because I’d been thinking, “What next?” ehn, content writing, ehn, my friend’s brand, ehn, everything is now looking fine. So, it became a case of confusion. So, I come from a home where nobody is pressuring me, but I think I’m pressuring myself. I’m looking at my siblings, I’m looking at my parents, I’m thinking what can I begin to contribute now after school?
Of course, everyone says, that when you leave school, you want to have a master’s degree. The first thing on my mind was “Am I going to japa, or am I going to stay back? Alright, I considered my options if I wanted to japa. I considered my academic standing, and financial cost, I considered a whole lot of things. Is Japa feasible currently? It took me a long time before I could come to terms with my conclusion that it wasn’t feasible for now. Thinking about what course I wanted to study at the master’s level was also something
Hearty: Imagine, do we have to be thinking about everything?
Omojo: It is burdensome. It’s not exactly planned. It was something one of my friends was saying that back then, in primary school, once you were done, you were going to secondary school, and then straight to the university. But, after university, some people will be like “Masters is the next”. But it is not that direct. It’s not like that.
So, I was so scared. I was scared about a lot of things. I was scared about personal relationships with people. I was scared about starting all over again. You’re leaving school, you’re leaving everyone you know, you’re leaving relationships, friends. I’m sad about it. Yoruba will say that ogun omode o le sere fun ogun odun. But, it is something that I’ll have to start all over.
I’m going for NYSC; I’m starting all over, I’m leaving NYSC to wherever it is; I’m starting all over. So, it’s not particularly fascinating. I don’t like it. So, I’m scared about personal relationships starting all over, building new friendships and bonds, and at the same time losing some of the bonds and friendships because time is going to come into play, and distance is going to come into play. There’ll be strains, and I might end up losing some of my favorite people.
Some of the people I’ve built connections with. That we’ve evolved together, played together, eaten together…relationships I’ve invested in. Some of them, because of time, and distance may eventually fizzle out. I am not happy about that. I have mixed feelings about graduating. It is bittersweet.
We have God, and that’s why the Bible says those who are led by the spirit of God are the sons of God. But, there’s still that rational part of me that’s still like what if things don’t work out? What if my beautiful grand plans don’t work out? What if I have a slow start?
Hearty: We’re human beings now
Omojo: And, we’re in a generation where we want everything to be fast-paced because the society is not waiting, people are not waiting, people have expectations of you. In fact, the expectations have begun already. I did my project defense and my uncle was already calling me “Is your result out?” Immediately you graduate, they’re already asking “Bring your CV, let’s check it” shey you will not work ni? Shey ko tii rise ni? E je ko lo wase.” You know, even if your nuclear family is not putting you under pressure, the extended, neighbors will. I think It’s just our society. Yoruba will say that it is not one person it takes to train a child, it takes a village. Everybody has something to say, they’ll comment. It’s a burden.
Just yesterday, I sat down and took out my journal. I wanted to map out some stuff. This is the time for me to map our strategies to look into things that seem to be engagements that I’ll get into after school. I won’t lie to you, I couldn’t write even just one line. I just had to tell God, to take me anywhere. Because, I wanted to be that “Okay, I’ll do this, I’ll do it like that, this is what I will do with writing, this is what I will do with courses.” It was all in my mind and I just had to put it on paper. And I just heard that, “You, you want to map out your life on paper?” It seemed impossible. So, I just closed it and went to sleep.
There is something called post-sleep clarity. When I sleep and wake up, my brain will reset. When I slept and woke up this morning, I just said, “God, just run am the way you want to run am.” I can’t even say that this is the first step I want to take. I can’t lie to you. Even this NYSC thing, last month, my mum was like “ki won ma gbe e lo sibi to jinna o” That one too is another problem for me. If they carry me to the East, God abeg, who I sabi there? Then, my friend was talking that, is the “August batch..” I was like, I’m not sure I will go with the August batch. I think I still want to be in my comfort zone. I still want to feel safe like I’m in a nest. So, for me to now fly out, fly out to God knows where? So, my friend was like “I want to go with August…I was like “Maybe it is the November batch that I’ll go with.” Like am I ready to break out of this already? I just finished one, let me rest, it’s not too much to ask right?
There was a time when I was thinking “Can one do the master’s before NYSC?” And by the time I had gone through the phase of “I should japa or stay. Eventually, at a point, I decided to stay back and build what I could. Then, I thought of doing my master’s at Unilag. I’m tired of books, but now that I’m still in that student mode, let me just…because that one-year break, if I have to come back and start reading again
Hearty: …after being business-oriented,
Omojo: Career oriented…tee wa ni ki n sese wa gbewee? Aah oribakan, ko straight, o wa blurry. So, I had to understand that it was not possible. You had to do NYSC before your master’s. All these things show confusion. Some people already have straight plans…like, I’ll do this in August, I’ll come back in August, I’ll do this, I’ll do that. If they ask me, Omojo, we want to help you work your NYSC, Which state do you want?
Hearty: I don’t know
Omojo: I don’t know
Hearty: It’s just like a course of choices. Unlike when we were younger, and they just said, “This is the way”
Omojo: And you just follow through. And you just want to ask your parents, “Can you please just continue to plan things for us?”
Hearty: This adulthood thing is something else.
Omojo: I don’t want to leave my comfort zone, but at the same time, I just have to. After masters, what next? Get a job, be doing 9 to 4? That’s not the kind of life I want to live.
Another question is, your BSc, your Msc, when you get it, what do you want to use it for? The university does this thing to students such that they realize that you have other interests apart from your course of study. And, I’ve explored the ways you can work with your certificate in my own field. I just found out that it is quite streamlined. You can work as a research person or lecturer, or you’re working in a food company. And then I got to the final and I discovered that I don’t even necessarily love the food aspect of microbiology. I prefer the genetics parts…and that’s even streamlining me more to research and in the inner recesses of my recesses, I don’t want to sit in a lab from morning till night. Will it even let me explore my other interests? These are the issues. So, even after the MSc certificate, I don’t even know what to do with it yet. Do I want to keep it? Do I want to work with it?
I realized that whatever decision I’m taking right now, it’s going to not just affect me, but also the people around me. The other side of the coin is that other people get to influence every decision I’m going to make.
Why am I so big on “I need to start making money immediately?” apart from the general “I want to live a baby girl lifestyle.” Yeah but then I sat down on a particular day. I looked at my age. Then I looked at the younger ones. I have nephews, a niece, and little cousins. (Imitating baby voice and putting an imaginary phone to her ears) “Aunty Omojo, when are you coming to visit?” I remember that when I was also younger, that was the way I called some of my uncles. “Uncle this, aunty this,” and as that call is dropping, If they come visiting, they’ll put their hand inside their pocket and say “Take”. I’m now like, I’m also getting into that stage, wow.
So, I must begin to make money because, whether I like it or not, I must begin to make money. I can’t be asking my parents to give me money so I can visit my nephews. It just gets to a point that you know that you can’t be asking your parents for this, for that. So, another confusion that some of us might face is this issue of location. Where do you want to settle? So, if you’re settling in the same state as your parents, do you want to stay with them or alone? You might stay with them because of security…food is always settled. But when you look at the other side of it, you can’t flex. Any small thing “Omojo, nibo lo n lo?”
And, I was talking to someone, I was saying that this moment that we are stepping into, we are in our twenties. Some early twenties, some mid-twenties, some late twenties. If you want to be intentional about relationships, you will have to be physically present. So, I’m based in Lagos, Let’s say one of those days you who are based in Ibadan, come to Lagos. “You’re like, Omojo, I’m in Lagos oh, shey make we link up?” and you’re like “Who is that friend that you’re going to see? You know, you cannot trust human beings.”
Hearty: Actually, people also change.
Omojo: It’s true too. So that such a person cannot carry you away. But, if you’re being optimistic, honestly, there’s no way, first, “Let’s link up”, you no dey available, second “Let’s link up” you no dey. That friendship would break. I feel like, at this age that we are, we should use a bit of mobility. We can’t just stay in one place. A lot of things would not work. In fact, it would cause you to lose more friendships.
Sometimes, I look at how friends from university carry themselves. They use a lot of mobility. They visit you here, visit you there. It doesn’t have to be every week. But you know that there’s a time when you want to see someone, then you go visiting. It could be interstate…you know, just go see them. Make those little little sacrifices. It’s a lot to think about. You can’t think about everything. There’s a lot you will just realize when you get out there.
Na only God fit do am. I don’t see how you want to sustain relationships, make money, go about your personal development, be there for your family, face your academic journey at the same time, and your spiritual growth.
And, there’s this subjective point of view that society has of us ladies. Many of us are just expected to get married. Just get a rich guy to get married to and you’re settled. It doesn’t matter if you have a lot of things you want to contribute to society before getting married. And, somehow, they have a valid explanation of the biological clock. They might be a little lenient on the guys in this stage of life, or let’s just say they have it differently as their main focus is on making money.
But, that expectation and the obvious submission to that expectation kills initiative. You might just feel “Now, I’m settled” because, as long as you dey alright, I’m okay. At the end of the day, you find that the women are not giving their best. They are not in their best form because they just feel like if I’m getting some form of security from my husband, then I’m fine. So, if I’m mid, it’s still okay because my husband is not mid. That biological thing is a crazy deal.
Hearty: It is actually the reality
Omojo: They will not give us that space of time to do what you want to do. You graduate now if you dare think that maybe you’ll settle down in the next ten years. Your parents will tell you that “soo mo age e sha?” Just yesterday, I was on a phone call with my mum and my roommate was making jokes that “Omojo ti she tan nisin, ka maa mura oko loku,” My dad was laughing. He was like ‘oko wo? ko lo study’ but my mum’s “Amen” was just fii, fii. This is how you know their hearts. Her prayer has just been “amen, amen oh jare. Oshey omo daadaa beeni, amen” In my head, I was like, what exactly are we doing amen to gan gan? So, that thing is. In fact, gan. We are growing, our taste is increasing, it is changing. If you ask me. In fact gan, I think I know the kind of man I want sha. Because (laughter) in all sincerity, I don’t think I want to marry a ministry person. I’ve been a ministry daughter. I’m not sure I want to be a ministry wife. Mo ti try. Like, marrying a ministry brother, I’m not sure. But, if God now says…shey you will now say no. In fact, the way that God is going to do it for you is after both of you have been joined together in the presence of God and man, God will now say, “Both of you, you’re welcome, this is what I’ve prepared for you”. You’ll now be like, we didn’t plan this, no no no. It’s a whole lot to think of. But, with the number of questions, you don’t have definite answers.
And, another thing about relationships, I used to say this thing that if you’re leaving school with a relationship, it is best that you have established the relationship because of the issue of time and distance. You can be friends with someone, feelings are involved, and you’re graduating. You’re worried “What do I do?” You have a conversation, and the person’s after-school plans can be different from yours. So, you need to know the feasibility of your relationship after school. You need to know if you can carry each other through your transition phase. If your relationship is established, at least there is a foundation. Whenever the wind is blowing, you can still stand.
Hearty: What’s your present state, concerning the whole issue of your transitioning from being a normal undergraduate to graduate? Are you calm, even despite everything, the pressure, and all you’ve been thinking about?
Omojo: I’m quite calm because I know that at the end of the day, whatever God says is the ultimate. So, if God says “My dear, these are your plans for after school. I understand the pressure, but this is what I have in stock for you.” There is a way he will pilot me and let my steps align with his own. Growing up, I have seen God work in ways I didn’t expect. I’ve seen him do certain things at that time, I didn’t understand what he was doing. But, later in the future, I’ll be like “Oh, so, this is what you did” If God didn’t do it like this, I wouldn’t be getting this right now.
I wasn’t supposed to be in UI at all. I was supposed to be in Unilorin, based on what my family wanted at the time. It was a Unilorin parole. I don’t know if it was the stubbornness of the child, I entered the cybercafé where they are filling JAMB forms, and I put in UI.
Hearty: That’s something
Omojo: At that very tender age. It sparked up a “Why would you?” and, I filled out the form, Let me just go and write the JAMB and it was a case of “Iru omo wo leleyii” Unilorin ni everybody deal pelu. My parents were standing outside the cybercafé. I just entered, because the cybercafé was congested and the guy said ‘Shebi she’s the one that wants to fill out the form, let her just come inside, you people should stay outside. I entered, and they asked me which University, and I looked around and said “University of Ibadan” I didn’t know anybody in UI, I had not been there. Like, where did UI come from? And the rest is history.
I remember going back home, and they’ll be like Ibadan bawo? Kinni kan kinni kan. Then, it might look like this is the stubbornness of a child. And the bible said “were n be laya omode, egba la maa fi le bota. It said, “There’s foolishness in a child, and it is cane…” At that time, it felt like foolishness, it felt like stubbornness. They were like “What is this?”
Right now, I’m counting my blessings. UI for me is probably one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I don’t know what I would have gotten if I went to Unilorin, maybe I would have gotten something more, maybe something less. But, that’s just maybe.
I feel that coming to UI is according to divine direction. And, it is in the sense that even back then, after the JAMB exam, that was when I got to hear that Unilorin does not take anybody less than 16. And by the time of my JAMB, I was 15. That would have been an automatic waste of my JAMB result. And I got to UI, and UI deferred it for me. And you know how hard it is to write JAMB over and over. If I had picked Unilorin, I would need to resit that exam. Maybe if I did, I would score higher. Or, maybe I would score lower. Or just need to resit three times? All those things are maybe in another world, we will be using a camera to see, maybe if she had gone to Unilorin, maybe this, this, this…But currently, I feel like that was the first proof of God that I am involved in this UI decision. You won’t need to sit for JAMB twice. I deferred it and when I turned 16, they said, come and resume, and I resumed.
Everything I’ve gotten from UI has just been God, God, God. I see his hand, I see his ways. From the very beginning, na him dey run things for me. There are some steps that I will even take and it would be like “iru omo wo leleyii?” but somehow, he just tries to make me not regret it in the future. Because in the future, I just see that he was involved in everything. It might not have seemed like it then. But he was involved.
Right now, I’m calm because it is a lot to think about. It gets me down at times. Sometimes I think that where I’m supposed to be in November is not where I would be. But I know that wherever it is that I am in November, God is involved. And it might be in the next four years that I begin to see the benefits of where I was in November 2023 and I’m like “God, thank you for putting me in this place at this time.” So, that’s just it. I decided to just let it go. I cannot map out my destiny on paper. I cannot decide, I just have to let God do his thing.
Hearty: Thanks for this long but interesting conversation. See you at the top!
This is the final episode of Life After School: Once Upon a Finalist. Let’s wrap everything up with a reassuring song, Sparrows by Cory Asbury.
Japa: Travel out of the country.
Ogun omode o le sere fun ogun odun: Twenty children cannot be together for twenty years.
Shey ko tii rise ni? E je ko lo wase: Hasn’t she gotten a job? Let her start looking for a job.
Ki won ma gbe e lo sibi to jinna o: You shouldn’t be posted far away.
Tee wa ni ki n sese wa gbewee? Aah oribakan, ko straight, o wa blurry: You’re only now asking me to keep studying? It is somehow, It is not straight, it looks blurry.
Nibo lo n lo?: Where are you going?
Shey make we link up?: Should we meet?
You no dey available: You are not available
Omojo ti shey tan nisin, ka maa mura oko loku: Omojo is done now, we should be getting ready for her marriage.
Oko wo?, ko lo study: Which husband? She should go and study.
Oshey omo daadaa: Thank you good child
Mo ti try: I have tried
Shey: Used at the start of a question
Shebi: Used to affirm a question
Iru omo wo leleyii: What kind of child is this?
Ibadan bawo? Kinni kan kinni kan: Why Ibadan?
Were n be laya omode, egba la maa fi le bota: There is foolishness in the heart of a child, you chase it out with a cane.
Run am: Do it
Who I sabi: Who do I know?
Na only God fit do am: Only God can do it
Dey alright: Be alright
Soo mo age e sha: Do you know your age?