Day 21: Umar Farouk

In the beginning, I was clueless. Of course we all were clueless; no one had any idea what fruits the New Year would bear. Or what we would be thankful for at the end, but I remembered how in 2014 I scored success upon success, how I passed my 2nd professional exam in medical school, how I won the election to become the General Secretary of the Medical Student Association and so on. 

I obviously expected 2015 to be like that too, a piece of cake, a stroll in the park so to say. So nothing could have ever prepared me for the vigorously swinging pendulum that was my life in 2015, the roller coaster of my life that traveled earnestly up and  down without ever caring for what I, its passenger felt.  My 2015 journey actually has too many episodes to fit into just one article but for Pero and you amazing readers, I would turn on my mojo and work something out.

It started out with heartbreak, with the collapse of a relationship I invested carefully in, but like they say, for a star to be born a gaseous nebula must collapse and thus a robust giant of a relationship, built on love and mutual trust and support, emerged of the ashes of my past one. Therefore this is the first thing I am thankful for in 2015.

I assumed the office of the General Secretary in earnest in the first month of the year, started to bond with the rest of the executives and they are a set of amazing people, by turn annoying and loving. We had differences of course, huge fat ones, as would be expected when 10 intensely sapient people work together, oh 9 really, minus me of course. But in the end we were able to saunter around one another and bring out the best in the other person. We had an assertive president, we all know how Banji can be, but also a visionary one, and one that cared deeply about each executive on his board and the people he served in his own African patriarchal way. I also got a huge load of support from my ever illustrious Assistant General Secretary.  So am I thankful for these people who started out as colleagues and morphed into friends and then family, absolutely. And yes it was a beautiful year for the association, just ask any AMSULITE.

Life as a General Secretary was demanding, at times the office asked too much of my person but I met its demands with courage and bravery, at least I tried. Responsibility had never felt more real but I am a better person for it. I have learnt firsthand such things as heavy multitasking, time management and sacrifice, things that make a man great. I like to think that I made some impact in my own little way on the community of medical students I served, and I hope I’m not deluded.  There were moments when I considered throwing in the towel and resigning and all sorts of nonsense but giving up is one habit I never picked up. After some 12 rough and eventful months, I was voted as the most outstanding executive for the executive year; I was elated as I felt the late nights, the wakaabout under the sun, the getting insulted while sourcing for money, the criticisms for exam brethren that was too little, was finally rewarded. More importantly though, I am only grateful for the opportunity to have served and to have worked with other outstanding people.

It would be an understatement to say 2015 was a busy year for me; I was also involved in other bodies like the Muslim Student Society where I was responsible for planning the annual Islam Propagation week, which I almost failed at if not for the altruistic efforts of people like Savage and Fuad and KB and Yusuf and Scholar etcetera. I was also an executive of the Orators club, the most fitting club for anyone trying to improve their day to day speaking abilities. All this I have combined well with my rigorous academic schedule, 500Level is not chilling!

The floodgate of defeats was opened very early on in the year too. First, I must mention that 2015 has got to be the worst financial year in all of my adult life. If anything, it has taught me that the Nigerian Government is not one you want to rely on for your livelihood. Some of you might not care enough or be incredulous when you hear on the news that some state governments owed their workers 9 months’ salaries, 6 months’ wages and all sorts, but we the children of those workers can tell you what true anguish is.

I was also on the quiz team of AMSUL when we lost out in the Quarter finals of the biennial Dokita Quiz, undoubtedly the most prestigious intercollegiate quiz competition among Nigerian medical schools. This defeat was particularly painful as we prepared hard for it, but in the world of competition some days are for you and some just aren’t.

Traveling is my first love and I did a lot of that in 2015, to ‘exotic’ places like Abuja and Port Harcourt. I attended a Doctors’ conference in Ondo State, where I saw once again Nigeria’s wasted tourism potential.  If I had more resources to travel, I’m sure you all will not see me again.  I met lots of wonderful people, my famzing skills grew exponentially, I have moved on from famzing provosts to famzing ministers and lawmakers.

As a writer, I have disappointed myself. I did not write as much as I would have loved, I can count the number of times my fingers connected with my keyboard on one hand. I was even worse as a reader. My dreams of kick starting my photography career was almost lost in the rubble of 2015, but after some dogged wiggling and jiggling I am sure that Al Farouk Photography (I don’t know if this is cool enough though) will be up and running by the time you read this.  

I laughed and smiled a lot in 2015. Furrows and deep lines of sadness also set into my face. I hurt people and I was hurt too. I made new friends but I lost many old ones too, not to death or sickness, but to my not being there. Like gardens untended, many old friendships withered away.

I discovered new things about myself or maybe I changed. I did generous noble things and a bunch of deeds I am not proud of and wished I had not done. I have surprised myself over and over again; sometimes I’m so smart, sometimes not so much. In 2015, I have learnt to accept myself for the mere mortal that I really am, even though I’m still in the business of figuring myself out as I remain an enigma, even to myself. 

There is no telling what the next year will bring but I have learnt to take the moment as a present; and this present is what I’m most thankful for in 2015.

P.S Thank you Adepero for the opportunity.
Thank you to my amazing mama for being such an amazon.

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