My name is Justine T. I am an alumnus of the best university in Nigeria – University of Ibadan, and also of University of Port Harcourt. I am a writer, with some of my works published both on local and foreign publishing firms/journals.
I am a Fellow and recipient of The Tony Elumelu Foundations Award for top performance in academics 2015; a holder of The Victor Onyekwere Memorial Prize for best student in Economics; the Department of Economics Award for the Best Graduating Student (BGS) and the University of Port Harcourt Awards for the Best Graduating Student (BGS) 2015.
I am also the writer of the award-winning CV outlay; winner of the AIESEC Career Fair contest, 2015, and the winner of the intra-faculty debate, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Port Harcourt, with other recognitions. On the 12th of June 2015.
I was the flag bearer of my Department (Economics) as the best graduating student on the convocation ceremony. My journey to success has been based on 5D’s: Desire, Decision, Determination, Discipline and Divine support!
Life’s circumstances made it impossible for me to come this far. I had every reason to settle for the less, and nobody would blame me because the situation I found myself was literally hopeless. However, I chose to push on and not to give up!
I came from a family of eight with my parents. At a tender age, my dad had misfortunes that grounded his business, finances and life, and by extension, grounded the family. He had accidents with his vehicles on different occasions, the last which he barely survived. The entire burden of the family was solely on my mum with her meager salary then as a teacher which was never regular . Life became difficult.
After I managed to finish primary school, it became obvious that I cannot continue with school because I have three elder siblings before me who must proceed with their schooling first; it was more of “rationalized schooling system – first come, first serve”. I also have other two younger ones. Since it was obvious that my turn for schooling may never come, considering the prevailing realities in the family, I opted for ‘hustling’ at the tender age of 11.
I worked as a servant/steward/errand boy for several years in a foster home and was jumping the streets of Lagos for years for survival. I was never given the opportunity of a secondary school education; hence, I didn’t attended any.
But God was gracious enough unto me. He sought me and found me and delivered me from SIN & SATAN while in servitude in my foster home.I was converted! I was regenerated! I was transformed! I became born again! I have CHRIST living in the inside of me. My conversion brought a total turn around in my life . I used to have bitterness for my parents for their inability to afford and send me to secondary school, though it was beyond their control. But my conversion brought a change in my heart and life, and my mindset towards my parents. Very importantly, my orientation about life began to take a new trend. I began to have divine direction and began to see the brighter side of life, and the possibility of having a better life. Honestly, life without Christ is in a mist and full of confusion. Life with Christ is marked with the brighter side of life and life more abundantly.
After over ten years, I saw the necessity of education which I have ever craved. However, it was practically an impossible venture because I do not have what it takes. “How possible could someone at my age think of going back to school after over 10 years out of school, with only primary school experience”, I thought within me. I gave up on the dream, but for a friend.
I took a bold step to register for WASSSCE in 2008 because I couldn’t get enrolled into the secondary school at my age. Through the help and encouragement of this great friend, I resorted to “self-studying”, personal learning and self tutoring, studying all the subjects I were to take in the O’ Level examination right in my room with the assistance of my friend.
After the preparation, I wrote the exam. The result was bad, but I never gave up. I sat for NECO and GCE in 2009 and 2010 respectively, and cleared all my papers with only primary school education experience. I wrote UTME in 2010 also and scored 244. I proceeded to University of Port Harcourt for post-UTME which I scored 254, giving a total of 500 with my UTME score, and an average of 250; with only primary school experience. I was offered admission to study Economics (my course of choice).
Life on campus was filled with different distractions and challenges: financial, academic, emotional and psychological. I had to fight against myself, my mind which kept telling me that I didn’t have what it takes to make any significant outcome. I had to fight against the “crowd” (relatives) who never gave me a chance, knowing where I was coming from—my poor academic background; “can anything good come out of Nazareth?” I had to fight against the feeling of intimidation and inferiority complex among colleagues who have the complete and best education processes to the campus.
Despite all these challenges and battles, God was with me and was gracious unto me. I was determined not to lose focus, with the vow never to allow any of the challenges to deter me from the goal of finishing strong. I equally vowed never to allow anyone know about my poor academic background, especially my colleagues, so that none will take advantage of me. I resorted to divine support for success, studied voraciously, and got involved in God’s work on Campus — for there lies my help!
Four years after, a dream was born and history was made against all odd: BEST GRADUATING STUDENT IN THE DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMICS AND THE SECOND BEST IN THE FACULTY OF SOCIAL SCIENCES, UNIVERSITY OF PORT HARCOURT with only primary school experience; no secondary school experience! It was indeed AWESOME! An experience I will never forget in life!
The experience of my life has taught me never to give up in life because nothing is really impossible to accomplish with Desire, Decision, Determination, Discipline and Divine-support. Not even your background should put your back on the ground. Even if your back is on the ground, you can still arise and rise beyond the horizon and attain the zenith. Only you can stop you!
My experience, I must say, is too little to judge the GREATNESS AND FAITHFULNESS OF THIS GREAT GOD! He is really AWESOME A GOD! He can just do beyond the impossible with you and for you, if you can give Him the chance in your life!
IT IS ONLY YOU THAT CAN STOP YOU!