The Experience 7: Applying The Lessons Learnt

The Experience 7: Applying The Lessons Learnt

apply-lessons

After the test, I walked out of the hall, worried and lost. I was disappointed at my performance and couldn’t believe I was only able to attempt just one out of four questions. It was a disaster and below my expectation. I was devastated. As I took calculated steps towards my hostel, I knew I had to do something to avert the slide. We were heading for an unknown period of school strike no thanks to demands from the National Universities Commission (NUC).

We were taking stocks some weeks ago. I was taking stock of my academic life that fateful day. Have you been able to document your life in different fields? I bet you have taken your time to play back 2016. You smiled at some and frowned at others. You wished for a replay of some events and hoped that some others will never occur again.

Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible. -St. Francis of Assisi

There were some highlights you would love to hold on to for the new season. There were some methods that produced so much fruits. There was a reading pattern that helped you pass your exams. There was a bible app that helped you draw closer. There was a routine that made you healthier and happier. There was something that stood exceptionally glorious. There were friends that brought out the best in you. Hold on to them or still look for further improvement.

There were few that held you down and restricted your flight in some fields. There were colleagues that made you feel less of yourself and had a way of talking you away from your divine goal. There were patterns that hindered your activities. There were some activities that drew you away from God. There were some apps that took much of your time. Prune them. End them. Turn around.

If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. – Matthew 5:29

Back to my opening experience story, I spent the 2 months NUC strike on that course – Engineering Thermodynamics. For the first time, I bought two past question booklets with answers. One was for Engineering Thermodynamics and the other for Computer Studies. I just didn’t understand the latter. I buried myself in these past question booklets, answering them over and over again. I was still dazed by my performance in that test.

It is not enough to be compassionate – you must act. -The Dalai Lama

These are lessons learnt but they are not just for documentation purposes. They are for your improvement. Wouldn’t you like to be better in the New Year, the new season? There is always room for improvement. You shall have no better yesteryears.

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. – Philippians 3:12-15

 


Chibuzor Amos is a graduate of Chemical Engineering from the prestigious Federal University of Technology, Owerri and currently a technical professional in an oil firm. He blogs at Soccergunz and Amoscp’s blog.

The Experience 6: Time to Take Stock

The Experience 6: Time to Take Stock

take-stock

Growing up in the suburbs of Lagos, my mum had a shop – not as big as a supermarket but big enough to cater for the house and provide for normal expenses associated with kids. There was a culture I grew up to learn from my mum and that culture is STOCK TAKING.

After the noisy crossover nights, infested with loud firecrackers and “Happy New Year” shouts, my mum took to the solace of the quietening environment to look back at her shop and make preparations for the New Year. She would take me and any other member of the house and we would assist her in taking stock in her shop. She needed actuals and not mere assumptions, generalizations nor sight deceptions.

Galatians 6:3-5 – For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbour. For each will have to bear his own load.

It was a very serious exercise for her because it gave her the opportunity to know how much goods she had and which of these goods will expire in the next 365 days and the actions thereof to eliminate them. We had our biros and papers and we divided the shop into various sections. Expired goods were disposed. Those that had 30-60 days validity period were marked out for immediate consumption while records were kept and made reference to.

As Christians, it is expected that we take time out to examine our lives and deeds with the objective of running The Race lighter, earnestly contending for The Faith, achieving the divine goal and making improvements where needed. This is usually achieved if we look at our lives into three phases: Past, Present and Future.

II Corinthians 13:5 – Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!

Without the past there will be no lesson learnt. Within the walls of the higher institution, the availability of my result after every session was a catalyst to taking stock of my academic life. Every present result emanated from actions in the past. These past actions have to be closely dissected to draw out lessons learnt in order to make appropriate improvements for the present and the future. If we must change, we must first recognize what is wrong. It requires deep and fearless personal searches without meandering away from the “dark spots”. This inventory has to be done accurately else the result will be skewed wrongly.

Lamentations 3:40 – Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the Lord!

This is the first week of December and it sends different signals to different people. To many, it is the end of the year and a period to round off plans for the year. To others, it is just another month with nothing special other than what we decide to make of it. Make December a month for you to take stock of your life so that the New Year will kick-start on a positive note.

Press the pause button and take stock of your life. Are you on the downslide or on the rise? Take an inventory of your relationship with God, relationship with man, academic pursuit, personal goals, collective goals, family etc. No one knows you better than yourself. Put it down in black and white. It is one of those vital steps to excelling in the nearest future.

What next after taking stock? We would talk about that in the next post. For now, just take stock. Pray for the courage to take an honest assessment of your life.


Chibuzor Amos is a graduate of Chemical Engineering from the prestigious Federal University of Technology, Owerri and currently a technical professional in an oil firm. He blogs at Soccergunz and Amoscp’s blog.

The Experience 5: Don’t Stay Down

The Experience 5: Don’t Stay Down

Quotation-Michael-Jordan-If-you-run-into-a-wall-don-t-turn-around-55-43-82

There comes a time when life throws its weight against you and you are left with two options: keep fighting or just let life have its way. You are left to decide whether to accept fate or refuse to be down.

I had a relatively poor result in my 3rd year of university education and I went back to the drawing board. I switched on the imaginary DVD in my mind and clicked on “My life – 18 months ago”. I chose to watch it in black and white because I had to make some changes. I noted some areas I needed to improve, some actions I needed to take and some paths I needed to avoid. I denied myself of a lot of secular needs in order to make amends for the poor form. I was walking a tight rope and I needed to be top notch to navigate back to my initially desired goal. Things went further south after taking these actions – the next result was worse, my worst. It was a tough time for me.

tightrope

In the Bible, the widow at Zarephath gave her last bread to Elijah and God gave her ceaseless blessings to take care of Elijah, the widow and her son (I Kings 17).

And it came to pass after these things, that the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, fell sick; and his sickness was so sore, that there was no breath left in him. – I Kings 17:17

Sadly, she must have been mad at Elijah and may have even questioned if he was a prophet of God. Sometimes we are tempted to question God, our faith and his deeds. But Elijah restored her son back to life.

And Elijah took the child and brought him down out of the chamber into the house, and delivered him unto his mother: and Elijah said, see, thy son liveth. And the woman said to Elijah, Now by this I know that thou art a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in thy mouth is truth – I Kings 17:23-24

A time comes when you put in your very best, and you get the worst of results. You tarry with the Lord, make atonements, give alms, bring smile to people, win souls for Christ, finish a 40 days dry fasting, sow seeds of faith and the 9 yards but the immediate result has every adornment of discouragement. You begin to question and ponder. Doubt sets in and the will to do more begins to dwindle.

Sometimes you do everything right but that lecturer refuses to treat you fairly. You tick all the boxes but you are not chosen, you have the best of interviews but you are not invited for medicals, you fulfil all righteousness but the goal is missed. Do you give up and stop trying?

The three Hebrew lads were thrown to the hottest of flames for refusing to bow to the gods of Babylon. They didn’t stop worshipping God, they continued. Daniel was thrown into the dungeon for praying to God. Could he have suspended his prayers? Maybe he asked God “why?” or he believed that it was all for good and for the glory of God.

Joseph was disliked by his siblings and sold out to Egypt. He found his way to prison because he refused to what was wrong in the sight of the Lord. He tarried in prison but it was all for good. It must have been the lowest moment of his life.

The widow got her son back, Daniel had a pillow made of lions and was restored. The three Hebrew lads were elevated, Joseph became the prime minister and I had my best result the following year. Worth it?

So Friends, don’t let the bad results of today refrain you from making efforts in reaching your goal. God understands when you ask “Why?” but can you answer his questions in Job 38-41? You must believe that he is in charge and everything was created for him. Don’t just fold your hand and accept defeat. Don’t just accept that poor result and wallow in agony. The milk is spilt, stop crying over it.

For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again – Proverb 24:16

The low moment is not a period to continue in sin, nor a time to flee from the presence of God. The temptation is there to do as the world especially seeing positive results of their ways. Remember, there is always light at the end of tunnel as far as you are in Christ. Don’t stop praying, don’t stop worshipping, and don’t just stop. Rise up and give it another try.

 


Chibuzor Amos is a graduate of Chemical Engineering from the prestigious Federal University of Technology, Owerri and currently a technical professional in an oil firm. He blogs at Soccergunz and Amoscp’s blog.

The Experience 4 – Where Is The Library?

The Experience 4 – Where Is The Library?

Where is The Library?

 “A university is just a group of buildings gathered around a library.” – Shelby Foote

There are various buildings in a school – the lecture halls, the hostels, the restaurants, the admin blocks, the laboratories, etc. – but none is as important as the library. Of the various facilities I utilized in higher school, the library was among the most crucial.

Wikipedia defines a library as a collection of sources of information and similar resources, made accessible to a defined community for reference or borrowing. But I love Cambridge’s two definitions more:

A building, room, or organization that has a collection, especially of books, for people to read or borrow, usually without payment

A collection or set of books or other things, all produced in the same style or about the same subject:

I looked at my course handbook and perused through the requirements for each of the courses for my very first semester. I was familiar with all but one – Engineering Workshop. I have never encountered such subject in secondary school and I was not a student of metal or wood work. The closest I knew was Technical Drawing which metamorphosed into Engineering Drawing. I needed help before lectures began proper. I could only find one in the library.

The only thing that you absolutely have to know, is the location of the library – Albert Einstein

With a library card, I was able to access the library, perused through the collections and chose a book that answered my questions wholesomely. I read a while in the building but had to borrow the book for further reading. It became the genesis of my constant visit to the library and eventual desire to borrow a book I need to enrich my knowledge.

As Cambridge defined, the use of library is usually without payment. You can say the internet offers more information than the library but how organized are these information gotten from the library? How reliable are the answers google gives to you? Yes, the internet itself is a library, just as you are reading this post but there is a good number of information that is not on the net but is neatly arranged in your school library.

Google can bring you back 100,000 answers, a librarian can bring you back the right one. – Neil Gaiman

Libraries will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no libraries. –Anne Herbert

As a student, you may not have so much money to buy every book needed for a particular course. You may not have so much cash to visit the café. You may not have data to surf the internet on your phone. You may not even be buoyant enough to own a smartphone. So what do you do? Sit, fold your arms and blame your current situation? There is a library in your school, use it. I prefer to read hard copy documents than the electronic ones. There is also the fun of stumbling upon the book the lecturer uses, accessibility to books with easier explanations, past questions, journals, videos, CDs, and whole world of new things.

Everything you need for better future and success has already been written. And guess what? All you have to do is go to the library. –Henri Frederic Amiel

To have a library card, know the location of a library or even own a library is one thing; the usage and application of the knowledge learnt is another thing entirely. The former is of no use if the latter doesn’t come to pass. It is like have a very beautiful bible that is rarely read. It is like hearing God’s words and refusing to do as He says.

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. – James 1:22

There may be no physical library in your community; you can build yours in your room. The bible should be our first piece in our library and is itself a library. It is a collection of God’s words and commandments and a direction to the good life. If you don’t own one, what have you been reading?

This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth; but you shall meditate therein day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall have good success – Joshua 1:8

Build your personnel library. You may not know all things but with a library you have the opportunity to access all things.

Libraries store the energy that fuels the imagination. They open up windows to the world and inspire us to explore and achieve, and contribute to improving our quality of life. –Sidney Sheldon

Written by Chibuzor Amos


Chibuzor Amos is a graduate of Chemical Engineering from the prestigious Federal University of Technology, Owerri and currently a technical professional in an oil firm. He blogs at Soccergunz and Amoscp’s blog.

The Experience 3 – Striking The Balance

The Experience 3 – Striking The Balance

 

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I sat in the midst of other corps members in the NYSC camp in Paiko, Niger state. Rabbi stood at the centre of the gathering, dishing out his points in a debate. At first many were distracted but with time everyone got interested. Guess what got everyone’s attention? It was a cliché that became a tag for Rabbi, my colleague:

You need to strike the balance!!!

Too many times within my 5 years in school, I was caught between two or more of the following: attending fellowship service, watching an Arsenal game, attending lectures, chatting with friends, health needs, financial needs or just loafing around. The ability to prioritise one of these activities at the given time was very important. Often times, especially in my early school years, I skipped fellowship for a live football game but I can’t remember skipping lectures for fellowship or a football game. Although lectures were usually rounded up by 4pm, the clash was minimal. With maturity, I began to ask myself some key questions:

  • Why are you here?
  • Which is more important?
  • Which will forever be missed?
  • What happens if you miss this event?
  • Which will provide you with another opportunity?
  • What is the bigger picture?
  • What are your values?
  • Can you have it all?

Be moderate in order to taste the joys of life in abundance. – Epicurus

As a student of a higher institution, you most likely will be affected and shaped by some or all of the following: Lectures & Academics, Hostel Life, God & Fellowship, Health, Finance and Social Life. How you manage them will determine how balance you will live your life.

I’ve learned that you can’t have everything and do everything at the same time. – Oprah Winfrey

It was not my first time living away from home. I saw it like an extension to the boarding school I attended. I understood that it was a different scope but I had to start from somewhere. In my first two weeks, I was occupied with registration and accreditation – from the department to the various sections of the student affairs unit.  Hostel movement, survey of lecture venues, assessment of bukkas and eateries were top on my agenda. I had identified the fellowship I was to join but it wasn’t until my third/fourth week that I joined.

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven – Ecclesiastes 3:1

There is a particular drama that was always played in front of the new students in the fellowship I attended in school. The drama showcases three types of student:

  1. The unbalanced one – All church activity, no academic activity.
  2. The wayward one – No church activity, no academic activity.
  3. The balanced one – A balance of church activity and academic activity.

These three characters had their unique ends measured in terms of their results. The unbalanced fellow had D’s and E’s. The wayward nigga had E’s and F’s. The balanced man had A’s and B’s.

Are you so heavenly minded that you are no earthy good? Are you so earthly minded that you are no heavenly good? If so, then your spiritual life is out of balance. As a Christian, you need to be mindful of extremism. It is frequently the root cause of false doctrine and division. You need to strike the balance.

Do not be excessively righteous and do not be overly wise. Why should you ruin yourself? – Ecclesiastes 7:16

Who says you can’t be a child of God and be the SUG president? Who said you can’t be in school and do business? Who said you can’t be a pastor and finish as the best in your department? Who said you can’t support Arsenal and win souls for Christ? You Can. Unless you can’t manage it and it makes you imbalanced. Search yourself, seek help and make the right decisions. Don’t be carried away

You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. – II Peter 3:17

If you can manage your life in school and live a balanced life in that period, you most likely will not have issues maintaining a good work-life balance outside school. Rabbi was not wrong that day; you have to find a way to strike the balance.

Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance and order and rhythm and harmony. – Thomas Merton

Written by Chibuzor Amos

 

 

Chibuzor Amos is a graduate of Chemical Engineering from the prestigious Federal University of Technology, Owerri and currently a technical professional in an oil firm. He blogs at Soccergunz and Amoscp’s blog.

 

 

If you missed The Experience 1: Believe and The Experience 2: Decisions, Actions and Reactions on the Experience series, then better late than never to read them up now.

The Experience 2: Decisions, Actions and Reactions

The Experience 2: Decisions, Actions and Reactions

… Choose you this day…

Last time I shared my experience about “Believe” and how it was one key element of my successful college sojourn. But as I said, belief is not enough. It needs action to make it work. These actions are born out of decisions taken as a result of believing. If you simply fold your hands after believing, then you must have slept, slumbered and the poverty of success as in Proverb 6:10-11 will surely be thy greatest companion. images-17

Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: so shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.

One major decision I made in school was that of life – Eternal Life. I knew little about the university but I have been told of the immense freedom being enjoyed by all and sundry. Freedom can be misused and it is usually misused in higher institutions. To help myself, I joined a fellowship that could act as a guardian to my acts. It was a strict fellowship and they were known for condoning little or no nonsense. I took that decision long before I got my admission and I acted in line with it after resumption.

The fellowship you are associated with can make or mar you. It could hinder or enhance your life. It can misinform or under-inform you. You can be misled or properly led. The opportunities are numerous but the choice can be made by consulting the Alpha. Just as you cannot count the number of denominations in Nigeria, there are numerous in the campus. So how do you choose? Which do you join? You have to decide.

Iron sharpeneth iron, so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend – Proverb 27:17

After my life and relationship with God, I focused on my course of study. I had to make decisions about the department and course. I decided I will attend all lecture and ensure that I am not late for any. I decided that I will do all of my assignments and made sure I never missed any test or practical. For a technology school, tests and practicals were key and absence can result in an outright failure even if you get 100% in the exam.

I took actions to make the above decisions a reality but it was not perfect. I missed a couple of classes for reasons ranging from ill health to lack of interest. But I reacted to my failed actions by making sure I was up to date with what I missed from those classes. I missed a test which dented my first year record. I was ill and believed the lecturer for saying that she will not give us a test. Lo and behold, there was a test that Thursday.

Respect the Lord and make careful decisions, for the Lord our God disapproves of injustice, partiality, and bribery. – II Chronicles 19:7 NET

I also made a couple of heady decision. I decided not to buy any past question in school. I had been discouraged by the accuracy of the ones I saw around. Questions were answered wrongly and I was bold to tell one of the vendors that his answers were wrong. He didn’t take it likely but I was scared that many people will buy and follow the wrong steps. That influenced my decision. But I had to get a couple of past questions after writing my first 200 level test. It was Engineering Thermodynamics. I was lost. I couldn’t answer more than one question out of four. It was disastrous. I had no option than to bury my head in the past question throughout the 3 months strike period.

Making the most of your time, because the days are evil – Ephesians 5:16 images-28

Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? – II Corinthians 13:5

An unexamined life is not worth living – Socrates

I had series of personal examination. I had to adjust to avoid sinking my ship by myself. I had to hearken to the advice of the experienced ones to excel at that point. If I was to achieve the goal of getting a 70 in every course, I must adjust my sail and tap in to the wind properly. I got 70 in that course to my surprise.

I decided I will not attend night class nor pay for tutorials, but I will be attentive in class, try examples, use the library, and ask colleagues for help if in difficulty. I tried to read ahead in courses that I had the textbook or knew the pattern of the lecturer. It was a complex society of which I needed to maximize every advantage. I fled from social nights and parties, but had an eye on the politics of the department. I wanted to get it right.

Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin. James 4:17

Enough of my narrations now. The point is that you must take a stand, act towards it, see the consequences, bear the consequences and if possible make adjustments. The man that is open to change will learn faster but our God is unchangeable and thus his values cannot be compromised.

Do not lack diligence; be fervent in spirit; serve the Lord. – Romans 12:11

Be wise and choose your path. It may not be like mine. Let Jesus order your steps and choices and you will not regret it. We work towards perfection daily. Don’t hesitate to run to Him when you have stumbled. Pick up yourself and surge on.

 

Written by Chibuzor Amos


 

Chibuzor Amos is a graduate of Chemical Engineering from the prestigious Federal University of Technology, Owerri and currently a technical professional in an oil firm. He blogs at Soccergunz and Amoscp’s blog.