Joke Adekunle’s note to 18-year old self
Dear 18-year old Joke Adekunle,
I want to let you know that you’ve done so much for yourself. Life may seem confusing for you at this point, you’ll constantly feel like you haven’t done enough. It probably feels like such a stressful period of your life, but I want you to know that there is going to be so much more that’s going to happen and a lot of it you’ll be thankful for.
I encourage you to not think you’ve missed out on opportunities. You are in one the most prestigious Nigerian Universities, that’s something to be thankful for. The friends you meet and keep are the ones that’ll influence some aspects of your life; your career most importantly, be intentional about finding friends that challenge you, that help you grow and that share in your small successes. Your path is going to be so bright, you have so much determination and drive, and that is one thing you need to go places.
You are here today because you’ve been a curious person and I want you to appreciate yourself every day for that single gift. All of the things that you’ll eventually do will start as a result of that. Never be afraid to speak your mind, to say things how you think they should be and most importantly, be in the driver’s seat to steer your future in the direction you want it to go.
Curiosity, determination, drive and a firm belief in yourself and your abilities – these traits will open doors for you because, you’ll find yourself constantly in a world where people are pressured to sound the same, where people think it’s okay to follow the crowd. But that’s not who you are.
You are unique, capitalize on that. The things that you love, follow them. It’s not the most encouraged advice to follow your passion. People also say,
Find one thing and focus on it.
But I’ll say be fluid like water. What drives and excites you today might not tomorrow and that’s okay, feel free to follow the thing that drives your curiosity about the world around you.
I encourage you to find that thing that makes you grow. Find that thing that makes you uncomfortable. Again, whenever you’re confused, find something that you’re constantly curious about. Find something that constantly challenges you to solve problems, because the world needs people solving problems – big or small.
It won’t always be easy. There are harder things you’ll encounter, I can assure you, it’s only a passing phase. You’ll be fine. You will do well
All of the things you want to do, keep writing. Keep writing your dreams, keep writing your ambitions, keep writing where you see yourself in the next couple years, because the things you write are a good stepping stone to the place you want to be.
Take more risks. The things that you feel will happen, will happen, and when they don’t, you’ll learn from it, but take a lot more risks.
Dye your hair grey, you want to pierce your nose, do it. Go with your life choices and own them.
Be in the circle of people who continuously inspire you.
Do not think that because you’ve spent all your life growing amongst men, they are the only people you can blend with. You’ll meet amazing women. There are so many amazing women in the world you can grow with, build with and learn from, when you look, you’ll find them.There are role models out there;women and men, who are willing to help you become the very best version of yourself. You’re amazing. You always have been. You’ll still be amazing. So relax.Take it easy, but keep going with that drive you’ve always had.
I always love you. I’m always rooting for you.
(A digital entrepreneur and the founder of The African Tech Woman)