Thursday, March 19, 2015

You Are Not Your CGPA (Some Advice to Undergrads and Fresh Grads)...

For five years, I have worked with friends to provide pre-employment training in OAU through Beyond Ife. We have gotten amazing results, ranging from my job to the graduates who tell us how Beyond Ife helped chart their course after school. As the sixth season approaches, I wish we could reach more people – so I have decided to share some thoughts publicly.

Here goes.

Care about your CGPA. It may sound unfair, but the world needs a system to classify graduates. Recruiters want to test candidates who are more likely to succeed, so they look to past performance to indicate potential. Business schools and competitive Masters Programs consider CGPA when deciding who to admit, preferring students who have demonstrated ability to manage rigorous academic demands. If you still can, improve your CGPA. Work hard at the courses you dislike. Get the best grades possible. It pays off eventually.

Don’t care about your CGPA. If your graduating CGPA is deemed undesirable by the world of work, disregard it. Your CGPA does not define you. A poor CGPA forces you to creatively consider options outside mainstream employment. You could become specialized at something, seek further education or certifications, or start a small business. Possibilities abound! For example, some of the best and highest earning developers I know graduated at or near the bottom of their class. Think! Create something!

Monday, March 09, 2015

Little Drummer Boy

I am a Christmas junkie. I love, love, love the holiday season. I have loved Christmas for as long as I can remember – even when we did not have new clothes or Christmas chicken. My eyes tear up at the opening bars of White Christmas. Few songs get me moving like Feliz Navidad. But my all-time favourite – is - *drum roll* Little Drummer Boy!
Little Baby, pa rum pum pum pum;
I am a poor boy too, pa rum pum pum pum;
I have no gift to bring, pa rum pum pum pum;
That's fit to give the King, pa rum pum pum pum;
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum;
Shall I play for you, pa rum pum pum pum;
On my drum?
The remixed version of Little Drummer Boy as performed by the Daystar Choir in 2013 took my love for the song to entirely new levels. Admittedly, it does not inspire me like Immortality, This is Our God, or Savior King – but it reminds me of a warm childhood shared with amazing siblings and devoted parents.

One would expect me to play it more often, given the plethora of warm feelings it engenders, but no – until recently, I only played Little Drummer Boy in December. In my previous definition of normal, Little Drummer Boy was a Christmas song, reserved only for the holiday season. I would sometimes play it infrequently, but never as part of a regular playlist during the year.

Until the accident.

I suddenly realized, screw waiting for December. How are you even sure you’ll be here then?

Little Drummer Boy is just a song, but how often do we act likewise with our deepest desires and dreams? We awaken in the mornings and work hard through the days, postponing the fulfillment of our desires until later. We let people tell us when it is fine to pursue our dreams. We believe the half-truth that we can start bigger, if only we wait a little longer.

These days, I often play Little Drummer Boy in my car – on the ride to and from work, church, and everywhere else. Everyone is surprised the first time they hear it, and a few people sometimes say – “But it is only March”! But inevitably, they join in – and we have a merry singalong.

Why wait until Christmas to be happy?

Life is short. Live.

PS: I couldn't find the Daystar version online, but I'll let you watch my copy of the DVD if you drop by someday *wink wink*