LECTURE: Triumphantly reaching the top, By Dr. Foluso Arowojolu

LECTURE: Triumphantly reaching the top, By Dr. Foluso Arowojolu
Dr. Foluso Agnes Arowojolu

Being full text of a lecture delivered at the 2022 graduation ceremony of Mercyland International Schools, Abeokuta, Ogun State by MRS. FOLUSO AGNES AROWOJOLU, PhD

Introduction

It is my pleasure and delight to be here this morning because I know among many that are here today, I am not the fittest for this assignment but God does as He pleases. Be that as it may, let me make it known to you that                                                                                                                           I am wearing three caps here today. I am proud to say that I am a product of Mercyland International Schools any day and anywhere. Why? I was once a teacher, a parent in this School and today a Guest Speaker at this great and memorable occasion, the 2022 graduation ceremony. Glory to God in the highest! Mercyland was the place where I started my teaching career in the late 90’s. I was a classroom teacher and later became a Sectional Head (Nursery) before I left to take up a government job. I make it bold to say I did not regret my stay in Mercyland. I learnt a couple of things here. I learnt diligence, commitment, confidence and how to multi-task. I want to thank the School Management for the opportunity to serve this great institution in the capacity that I did then and for the honour bestowed on me today.

It is such a wonderful pleasure to share in the intensity of emotions filling this place today. Today marks the end of a task and as well as the beginning of a new chapter in the lives of the graduands. This is because these graduands are going into the world, a place to prosper, a place of achievement and competitions. The next decade of your life is very crucial because there are a lot of decisions you will make that will determine your journey in life.

Do not be in haste than what God has packaged for you or your destiny and do not be sad if things turn slow. In God’s hands, time is a tool.

During the journey of the next decade, you make some choices; what you will become in life, (that is, your career/business), whom to marry, where to settle, the type of home you wish to have, etc. All these desires depend on what you want to be. As you go into the world, my prayer is that you will prosper and achieve great things in life.

I don’t want to be like Socrates who is accustomed to giving long speeches. Let me go straight to the theme of today’s celebration: “Triumphantly Reaching The Top”.

When I got the invitation and I saw the theme of this year’s ceremony, I was happy because the theme is rich in content, timely and appropriate for this season in this era of decadence in a globalized technology age which we are in our nation, Nigeria. This type of topic is for both young and old because everyone wants to reach the top in all our endeavours. However, not everyone is reasoning in reaching the top triumphantly as well as learning to play by the rules. As a student, if you buy your WAEC certificate to get admission into the University, you have not reached the top triumphantly. If you get your wealth by crooked means or by yahoo-yahoo or any of the cybercrimes, you have not reached the top triumphantly.

I want you to know that every one of you has seed of greatness in you. That is, God has destined everyone to be great and be at the top in anything that you do and anywhere you go. However, you may notice that your mates have left you behind or you are experiencing delay in achieving something or you are being ridiculed anywhere you go. Never turn yourself to object of pity or ridicule but always remember that you are destined to be at the top. Learn from Joseph and Daniel in the Holy Book.

What does it mean to triumphantly reach the top? It means getting to the zenith of your ambition victoriously or achievement with great happiness. As the motto of this beautiful School, “Upper Standard” it connotes excellence. The School, since inception, believes in building total and excellent learners in the three domains of learning; cognitive, affective and psychomotor. No wonder, God has taken the School to an enviable height in Ogun State and throughout Nigeria.

Therefore, as graduates of Mercyland International Schools, it behoves on you to let upper standard radiate everywhere you go. However, to triumphantly reach the top calls for some attitudes to imbibe and project because there are so many huddles, challenges that will come your way. The good news is that what you need to surmount the challenges are already inside of you. “The road to success and the road to failure are almost exactly the same” – Collins R. Davies.

To reach the top triumphantly, you need three people in your life; yourself, people, and above all, God. Reaching the top in any sphere of life is the same principle albeit different methods.

  1. You need yourself
  • You need to have an ambition, an aspiration. You also must identify who you are: You are in charge of achieving your ambition. Be committed to your ambition and know who you are and believe in yourself. To do these, you need to do SWAT Analysis of yourself. That is, you need to know your areas of Strengths and Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Identify your talent, that is, what you are good at and what you do that you derive joy anytime you do it. You are the one that knows what you are truly capable of doing and this will make you realize the vision of your life. God has planned somethings for you. In the journey of life, you will accidentally find your purpose in life when you begin to do what you know best how to do. Besides, you must have the mindset of an imaginary trophy of triumph at all times. For me, seeking knowledge has always been my strong point from my childhood days. I love to get education and get to the top academically.
  • Develop your soft skills: Soft skills are social graces, social skills that include emotional intelligence. These skills include intra and inter personal relations endowments. That is, they are skills that can affect and aid your reaching the top. These skills will make you get along with people and get ahead of others or your counterparts. These skills transcend your certificate in the labour market in this 21st century. Intra personal skills are skills that are inside of you while interpersonal skills are the behaviours and tactics a person uses to interact with people effectively. Some people are born with good behaviours but these skills can be learnt, developed and improved upon. These are numerous; examples are; adaptability, team work, resilience, humility, being focused, conflict resolution, communication skills etc.

*      Resilience: You need to be determined to triumph to the top. Do not be discouraged or give up when you face challenge/s on your way to the top. In the phase of challenge, don’t stop, keep on moving. Challenges do not destroy vision rather, they push you to be creative. Do not allow circumstance to overwhelm you. You need to persist wherever you have failed. It pushes you to become a problem solver. The world is looking for people who are creative and can solve problems.

*      Be focused: FOCUS means F = Follow, O = One, C = Course, U = Until, S = Success. You need to focus on your goal. Do not allow distraction. Devote your time and energy on your goal. Spend time on the pursuit of your goal. Stay clear from bad company because…Aguntan to b aba aja rin, a je igbe.

*      Be disciplined: Do your activities at the right time. As you get to the next level of education, be disciplined, no one will tell you to do some things such as assignments, the time you wake up, chase you to attend classes, etc. Minimize the time you spend on pleasurable activities, i.e. social media.

*      Adaptability: You need to be able to adapt to change. Learn to accept change. Be flexible and open. Life is in seasons.

*      Diligence: You need to study hard if you want to triumph to the top. Learn to go extra miles in all that you do. Invest your time in reading and learning. As you go to the next level academically, attend your classes regularly and be punctual. You need to listen attentively in your classes, revise what you have been taught and do your assignments. Be well prepared for your examinations. The future success belongs to those who prepare for it. Make hay while the sun shines in your preparation to the top.

*Do not compare yourself with anyone.

If you compare yourself with another, there is tendency to misbehave or even commit suicide. In the school of life, there are no classmates, life is a class of one. It is a differentiator. The race is not to the swift nor the battle to the very strong but time, grace and chance happen to them all.

*Learn new things that will sharpen your skill sets. In other words, get ideas, update yourself and learn how to do things differently. We are in the age of technology and to secure a space at the top, you need additional skills. Get computer skills, leadership skills, quality and respectful hand work that can distinguish you or stand you out among many.

  1. You need people

From cradle to grave, you need people. Do not be a-lone-ranger. However, there is a caveat here too. Who are you imitating? Who are your friends? Who is the person that you want to be like or your mentor? Be careful of the people or group that you surround yourself with. There are dream killers and dream makers, people who will assist you in achieving your dreams or goals. Do not journey with losers in life. Different groups will approach you when you get to University be careful of the groups you will join.

Move with the right people, people that can affect your life positively. You must be ready to learn from people and you need humility to do this.

  1. Above all, you need God

This is not a matter of religion. It is not of him that wills or runs but of God that shows mercy. Have faith in God, fear Him and keep His commandments. God wants all His children to excel; that is why a measure of excellent spirit has been deposited in you. You need God to fix you. Acknowledge God in all your ways. Let him know the desires of your heart. Pray radical faith prayers for radical results. Take the limit off God and ask God for your needs. Everyone that will excel must know God. Without Him we can do nothing. Joseph, Daniel knew God and distinguished themselves from the crowd. God distinguished them, exalted them and took them to the top in a strange land.

Finally, Be like Joseph and Daniel who got to the top in a strange land in the Bible. They guarded four things in their lives and they became great in life. These four things are- Faith, boldness in God Almighty, the fear of God, their inate talents, and good character.

Parents

To our esteemed parents, you have roles to play in the lives of these young ones, the leaders of tomorrow in reaching the top triumphantly. Many parents are not taking responsibilities over their children. I want to enjoin you to assist them. Place premium on values, build them up in good character and complement the efforts of the teachers. Do not oppose disciplinary measures put in place by the School authorities, encourage discipline. You need to create or spend time with them (gone are the days of in-loco-parentis), guide them properly in their choice of course to study, train them to be good citizens of Nigeria and remember that you are supposed to be role models to the children. Train them to be good representation of your family anywhere they found themselves.

Teachers

To the teachers, we are potters just like the parents too. We are molding lives. Let us be careful the way we mold the students. Do not see any student as insignificant. Do not use negative words on them. Let words that will proceed out of your mouth to the students be seasoned and words of grace. You never can tell what those students can turn out to be in future!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Conclusion

In conclusion, having done all, remember that everyone in this world works based on their Time Zone. People around you might seem to have gone ahead of you, some might seem to be behind you. Do not envy or mock them. Everyone is running his or her own race in his or her TIME as you are also in yours. So, relax! Do not be in haste than what God has packaged for you or your destiny and do not be sad if things turn slow. In God’s hands, time is a tool. He makes all things beautiful in His time. Do not seek for knowledge without character on your way to the top triumphantly. Finally, Be like Joseph and Daniel who got to the top in a strange land in the Bible. They guarded four things in their lives and they became great in life. These four things are- Faith, boldness in God Almighty, the fear of God, their inate talents, and good character.

I wish you all, best of luck!

Thank you all.