Courtesy: The Shardans
“I am not cursing you; I am wishing you what I wish myself every year. I therefore repeat, may you have a hard time this year, may there be plenty of troubles for you this year! If you are not so sure what you should say back, why not just say, ‘Same to you’? I ask for no more.”
This is the opening paragraph of a renowned African philosopher’s (Tai Solarin) New Year article in 1964, exactly 50 years ago but the wisdom therein remains timeless. It is the thrust of my message to you in the new year bearing in mind that our successes are conditioned by the amount of risk we are ready to take.
Last semester that concluded in December 2013 must have come with its own challenges but remember, lots of uncertainties await you this year. Without writing the last examinations, no student can categorically say that he has successfully passed on into the new semester because his knowledge of what he learnt had not been put to test; he or she has not been subjected to the ‘rough road’.
The big fish is never caught in shallow waters. You have to go into the open sea for it. The biggest businessmen make decisions with lighting speed and carry them out with equal celerity. They do not dare delay or dally. Time would pass them by if they did. The biggest successes are preceded by the greatest of heart-burnings. You should read the stories of the bomber pilots of World War II. The Russian pilot, the German pilot, the American or the British pilot suffered exactly the same physical and mental tension the night before a raid on enemy territory. There were no alternative routes for those who most genuinely believed in victory for their side.
You cannot make omelettes without breaking eggs, throughout the world, there is no paean without pain. Jawaharlal Nehru has put it so well. I am paraphrasing him. He wants to meet his troubles in a frontal attack. He wants to see himself tossed into the aperture between the two horns of the bull. Being there, he determines he is going to win and, therefore, such a fight requires all his faculties.
While thinking about what a rough road will look like in 2014, let’s take 2013 in retrospect very briefly, at least the last semester. For national students, new and old, it was a good semester in a conducive home atmosphere with very minimal violence. It was a good time to interact and burn calories either through mental exercises in the classrooms and library or physical workouts in the fitness centre or sports complex. It was mostly same for foreign students except for the change in environment and the seeming initial discrimination encountered.
Other common grounds for both categories of students irrespective of school or branch are the examination which gave birth to a common saying – ‘out of syllabus.’ Most students complained severally about questions coming from areas that were never taught in class nor are in the teaching itinerary of the faculties. Can we call this part of the rough road of the past year? While pondering, I wish you all the best as you check your results in this opening month of the year.
While welcoming returning students, I also identify with students who stayed back in the hostels throughout the vacation period. It was a period of getting to know each other better in the winter. Winter jackets in different colours and shades beautified the campus scene and most students kept themselves busy with sports, visitations, and quality social interactions amongst opposite sexes. However, the feedback booklet for mess food was not so encouraging. Students’ comments were fluctuating from ‘very good’ to ‘very bad’. Students, especially those in Mandela Hostel have said that the food during the holidays was not up to the usual standard which ordinarily needs to be upgraded except for Christmas day. Hence we urge management to have a word with the caterers/food companies/chefs to bear in mind that the road is rough, thus the need for very good food and most importantly, variety and not rice as always.
Back into the New Year mood, it feels full dry from the winter weather the dry but it is cool and enhances sleep. I wish us all plenty of laughter, plenty of happiness, plenty successes and plenty of praise but we must also expect some measure of unhappiness, failures and abuses. It is impossible to win ultimately without a rich measure of intermixture in such a menu. On a lighter note, there is no reason to bother anyway, there is information that students will have their tabs very soon (how soon, we don’t know!) so we can have a GPS on it to navigate the admixture of smooth and rough roads.
Life would be worthless without the lot. We do not achieve much because we are all so scared of taking risks. We all want the smooth and well-paved roads. While the reason the developed part of the world succeeded so well is that they took such great risks.
“If, therefore, you are out in this New Year 2014, to win any target you have set for yourself, please accept my prayers and your elixir. May your road be rough!”
(Article By: Ayo Aiyesimoju, Student of MJMC, 1st Year. He hails from Nigeria)