My hands were slippery; I could barely hold the pen firmly as I signed my name on the register; this seemed too fast, it had barely been a week since I applied for a UK student Visa. The day had started out fairly reasonably, I had woken up and the day had gotten on as normal until I saw the text message on my phone, requiring that I come and pick up my passport from the British Embassy in Lagos. Father was there with me, reassuring and strong- but I was weak. All the thoughts ran through my mind: had I gotten my student visa? In the event of rejection- will I end up in university this cycle? What does the future hold?
The envelope was handed to me; I had barely made it into the car when I ripped out my passport from the envelope. Hurriedly and with no precision whatsoever I searched through all the pages of my passport. There it was, inconspicuously sandwiched between two pages- a UK student visa for the duration of my degree- delight.
All thoughts vanished from my head but one- I am going to University.
Context is necessary. As a person, I have had my fair share of late nights spent with fellow Nigerians discussing all the problems wrong with my country from the corruption to the general lack of will to progress. As a person, the incompetency of the Nigerian government have marched from the law making buildings to the confines of my sitting room- when in between a football match, with pulses racing and heart beating: NEPA (vernacular for the Power Holding Company of Nigeria) had seized the electricity without warning and with no apology expected. I have had to study late in the night, my eyes protesting against me for the lack of sleep but not forgetting to protest against the government for forcing those eyes to peruse lines of textbooks in the pitch darkness, aided only by candle lights- dreams of the candle wax being used for romantic dinners lost for a more functional role in the life of the Nigerian child.
But today, the focus of this essay is not the dysfunctional Nigerian government but rather my Motivation- Papa Dearest.
You see despite the preceding paragraph- I had it easy. Papa was there, I only had to see the rot in the educational system on the pages of newspapers, having been given the best of education; not because it was cheap or of no burden to my dad, but sacrificing countless privileges, so that my siblings and I will not be disadvantaged in life. Indeed, I hear the stories of individuals who their parents also struggled to give them this base- but in so doing sacrificed the relationship with their kids. You see, my papa is not so, making it a point to speak in depth with us daily, calling me from work to ensure I was home, gathering the family for devotionals on Saturdays to ensure that we not only had a strong relationship with our father but had a strong relationship with the FATHER- giving me the Christian background for which I value today. You see, my father loves my mother, setting an example to the sons to value the ladies and showing the daughter what the minimum expectation for a man should be (going by my dad’s example, it is very high). And those days, when as children often do, we messed up- Father was there, ensuring that the voice of reprimand was not far off, discipline not mistaken with brutality ensuring that we understood the love behind the discipline thus imparting in us the knowledge not to do it again; not because we feared future reprimand but because we then understood right from wrong. So you see, in the first paragraph when papa was there with me, I was reassured- because I could trust.
Papa- My Motivation; Why do I work, why do I sweat and why do I study? I do it for papa. Many years ago, father worked hard, to send me to the best of schools, to ensure that there was always food on the table and to ensure that our needs were met (while striking the balance not to spoil us). The alarm rang: 7am in the morning, it was winter time and the temptation bore on me to sleep in that day, as I unfolded the duvet, the cold air punched me in the face, and the warmth beneath the duvet seemed not only as a just alternative but the only alternative. As I made to head back to bed and sleep a little more. The thought came to me- what if so many years ago, father had decided to sleep in- one too many times. Will I have had the opportunities that some only dream for today? I thought further if I decided to sleep in, is that not an insult to the daily grind and struggle of my dad that ensures I have this opportunity. At that, and by a herculean effort, I dragged myself out of bed and, though groggy and disjointed, I pulled myself in the bathroom and got ready to win a new day. As I walked up to the dreary looking library… the words of Eric Thomas echoed in my mind. What is your why? If your why is not strong enough... Then when life hits you, you stay down.
Papa is my why. The stance of the author is that every individual needs to find that factor: the factor that makes you wake up early in the morning in search of your dreams. The factor that ensures that when the reasonable alternative is to lazy about, you instead choose to actualise your dreams. The factor that ensures that you stay grounded and beyond the satisfaction of your actualisation you are doubly satisfied because that factor is behind you; supporting, cheering and rooting for you. The factor for me, my why is my Papa. What is your why?
Mitchell Aghatise is a final year Law student at the University of Leicester. He is deeply passionate about God, and people advancement in his home country Nigeria. He writes on his own blog at www.poetryisborn.wordpress.com and a regular contributor for creativityturf.com. Follow on twitter @mr_mitch_a and linkedin Profile: Mitchell Aghatise.