2015 was a funny year, and yes I’m laughing but I ain’t playing. I’m laughing because that is eventually the natural response to stuff, because you cannot afford to look like what you’ve been through; so because I said that this year was funny doesn’t mean it wasn’t tough, because you know sometimes, life happens or in my case, school happens. I am Uche Emordi and my year started in an upbeat mode prey much; I was already in school by the 10th of January and that is how it has always been; as you start to enjoy the reverie of back to back celebrations of Christmas and New Year, you’re slapped back into the rude reality of real life. School wouldn’t be so hard if I wasn’t living in it. It’s funny but literally that is the Genesis of my problems. My father wouldn’t hear the last of me and my two brothers staying off campus so I’ve had to stay in the hostel so far throughout my schooling campaign. So back to my story, I was moving to a whole different class or level as we call it and getting to school we were asked to stay in the girl’s hostel temporarily before the modalities were worked out for where we’d stay permanently. Girls occupied the boys’ hostel too, so it would be easy for them to send us all out and not risk people adamantly staying behind and ‘colonizing’ bed spaces when permanent accommodations were given.
That day when we got to school, we had no beds to sleep on. We kept our beds at the SUG (Student Union Government) room, and coming back they weren’t around, so we couldn’t get access to it. To be honest, dad gave us money to stay over in the guest house for a while but we would rather save it. That night my brothers and I slept on the hard concrete floor; huge rats scurrying inside the wardrobes and the ceiling boards scaring the hell out of us. This happened for a few days till we finally got our beds, or ‘mattresses’…
The result of all of this was, here was I trying to catch up with the curriculum, trying to adjust to my new class, and then all of a sudden we were evicted from that hostel (the girls’ one). On that day I got a call and had to leave class to go pack my things. The Dean of students had ordered that we be chased out of the hostel, by force if necessary. You see they were chasing us out because according to them they had provided permanent accommodations for everyone so we were expected to move to our various respective hostels but as there were numerous problems encountered in the process, everyone was not adequately catered for, and I and my brothers were part of them. So we were basically kicked out and left in clueless limbo.
If you would have ever told me that there would come a me in my life were I would have no idea where I was going to sleep for the night, I wouldn’t have believed you. And get this; it was not as if the hostels were that stellar; they were a mess! So there we were outside watching the sun set in despair, until my brother got a flash of genius. He called a friend for a favour and we were able to smuggle ourselves and our things to squat with that friend that was eventually ‘colonizing’…. Surprisingly.
So we stayed at the second floor of a four storeyed hostel building and within days we got a permanent space, actually we bought, from someone. It was another hostel, this one with just one floor, and we had to undertake the arduous task of carrying all our things over there again!
Within the period of all these, moving here, moving there, mosquito bites, headaches, trekking to classes, I fell seriously ill, so ill that I was basically living on just glucose and energy drinks at some point. It was hard, I had to ask my brother to help me buy food, I couldn’t even go buy food and I was sll trying to meet up with classes. God, it was a really terrible period.
But, so many good things happened this year though; you know after the dust eventually settled. I joined a global organisaon at school; Enactus Uniben. Enactus is all about enabling progress through entrepreneurial action. We attended conferences in Eki and Lagos states and I got introduced to a large pool of talented students, business leaders, professors. I got to meet and know the Unilever ambassadors on campus, Google ambassador on campus, Fayrouz and Truppr ambassadors and Managers of Google developer’s group, Sabi hub. So many interesting people. I joined the Google Students Ambassadors group where I had the opportunity to engage in a compeon and run an Ad words campaign for a Lagos start-up Wara Cake for three weeks. I mean, I just love Google; there are so many prospects on there; compeons, travels, rewards, awards and all that. If you are an undergrad you should totally consider joining the Google Students Ambassadors in your school.
After that experience with Google, I still got to engage in marketing in a much broader perspective; Internet marketing! Was able to learn from the likes of Ope Banwo, Steven Akintayo, they did a conference in school, David Dada of Digital Space, he did a conference in GRA, yeah a bit pricy but cool, then I have a friend, already into internet Marketing; he gave me several materials worth hundreds of thousands of Naira; books, podcasts, videos by Akin Alabi, Ope Banwo, Alex Jeffreys, Mike Filsame, Toyin, etc so this year, I was basically introduced into the world of internet business and it is very, very cool! Working with Unilever I was part of the inial group of students to organise for markeng their Rexona product on campus. With Sabihub, an open data group we had this data + drinks meet up, where we talked on data, data analyses, data garnering etc. And of course they gave us food, and they convinced me to join them.
With all my exposure to data, programming, marketing, I eventually decided to create my own website! I just felt that I had to put all my exposure and experience to work on www.ucheonair.com. My classmate and friend Kizito helped me in designing and hosting it for free!
Finally I still have the music thing going on for me; started a music band, Uche and Team overdo. In retrospect, this year was really tough, and school took the most part of it but I’ve realized that you eventually forget how hard it was. It was hell when I was passing through some of those challenges but now it’s all so easy from the comfort of my room wring this and trying to use the most apt imagery to enable you understand and vicariously feel my what I’ve been through. It doesn’t seem so bad now, and no I don’t want to experience some of those things ever again, but I’m glad I made it to the end of this year smiling, like I haven’t a care in the world, because you know, you cannot look like what you’ve been through. The best part is; the great parts of this year have outweighed the bad parts. Looking forward to a much better 2016.