So I decided there is nothing better than to enjoy food and drink and to find satisfaction in work. Then I realized that these pleasures are from the hand of God.
Happy New Year to you. Yes, you.
By this time, you may have tried to use your holiday to catch up with the work you have done in the past weeks. Or you may be feeling so guilty and depressed if you have not managed to get any job done. You may be feeling so hopeful like you can take whatever law school may throw your way this year. Or 2016 may be have been so terrible, you are like ‘whatever’. You may be afraid that you are not just working hard enough – there seems to be no time and the workload is not reducing. You also think you are anxious because you still seem not to have found a study routine. You barely found time between group meetings and classes, and resting – so you are not looking forward to resumption. You imagine you are also scared because you have heard stories about how very smart people fail the Bar finals and you have always been an average student, or you had a good result from Uni, and you just don’t want to be part of the statistics or you just don’t think you are smart enough to repeat same at the NLS. Or you may just be a happy child, like Augustus of ‘The Fault in Our Stars’, who said, ‘I am on a roller coaster that goes only up, My friend!’ One thing is very sure; you can’t wait for it to be all over.
In the next 24 to 32 weeks, yes for the greater part of 2017, I will be privileged to be sharing with you more than 24 reasons why you shouldn’t give up on yourself in the Nigerian Law School. Be excited. The 24 first class students, now lawyers, at the last Call to Bar ceremony held at the ICC would be sharing their stories with you. I hope that you read their stories and get inspired. I hope their stories make sense to you. I hope you are encouraged to believe in yourself. I hope you are able to deal with your fear and anxiety. I hope your uncertainty is converted into determination. I hope your disappointment metamorphoses into faith. I hope your confusion transforms into wisdom to manage your time, and adapt advice to your situation. Most importantly, I hope you come to understand yourself and flourish under the pressure, cherish relationships, make memories and enjoy the labour of your studies.
By the end of the series, you will see that there are no hard and fast rules (I like disclaimers). But I hope you are able to connect with the stories and say, ‘This is somebody who has been where I am, if they did it, then I can do even better.’ Why is it important that these stories are told? I heard Tobi Amoo’s story just before we went for externship. He said something that struck me. He hadn’t been working towards a first class until the externship period. That’s like in the middle of the session, and he finished with a First Class. And that encouraged me. Even though I hadn’t been working towards a first class, I made up my mind that it wasn’t too late for me to make something out of my stay in Law School. The second story is of a lawyer named Fareedah. I met her during court attachment. She said she started preparing properly for exams, three weeks before the exams. That’s all I needed. I was getting overwhelmed then, MCQs were a number of weeks away, and it was like I wasn’t getting anything done. There was just no time. And then I told myself, someone started preparing three weeks before exams, and look what happened. I started way long before then, so I should be able to do better. This is not to say leave all your work to the last-minute. At the time of my chamber attachment, I was in a state of disbelief. The lawyers went on about how law school was so easy. They were full of encouragement and positivity. I was shocked. I was like how come I didn’t hear all these stuff when I was getting in? I would go for meetings, or meet strangers in the elevator, and they would take in my uniform and say, ‘Law school?’ I will say yes. Then they will go ahead to encourage me and tell me how easy law school is. I was in a state of disbelief. Where were this people when I was preparing for law school? By this time, my tension and fear were all gone. There was just optimism and encouragement from every side.
This helped me. I hope these stories counter all the negativity and fear you have been unconsciously fed with. I also hope that you find your resolve the way I found mine after meeting Fareedah and Tobi.
Let’s keep it short. Tell others to join the conversation. #MyBarFinalsTestimony. This year, my #DearAspiranttotheBar, look forward to becoming a member of the esteemed legal profession.