The months of July and August each year are the months that most universities conduct their graduation ceremonies. I read many stories about students overcoming difficult circumstances to achieve their dreams. As teachers, we try to encourage our students, but it can be difficult to touch every student in the way that may impact their lives.
As we plan for the new academic year, I have been wondering about what to do or how best to encourage the students that will come into my classrooms this year. Their backgrounds will be vast, their reasons, circumstances and motivations for being at the university just as varied.
What was obvious from the multitude of postings on social media is that some of us with the ability to guide and encourage students have either knowing or unknowingly damaged their confidence. We have told some of these students that they have only a small chance of succeeding in life. Those things were probably said in the ‘fit of anger’ or in the ‘heat of the moment’ when the students might have misbehaved. In some cases, such statements have not only stayed with the learners at the receiving end, but hopefully become their motivation in achieving greatness. On the other hand, one can only imagine how many dreams have been crushed by such careless or unguided statements.
The advice to all those people who have been told they cannot achieve something is to ignore the opinion of those individuals, such statements only show the limitations of the people who made them. They should be a springboard for encouraging you to perform better. Find a way to motivate yourself and there are enough speeches, people and stories on YouTube and books to encourage you that anything is possible.
Entrepreneurs must also be willing to accept that not everyone will be enthusiastic about their ideas. It is left for the entrepreneurs with their own beliefs to continue to strive to enlighten others about their vision. Imagine someone pitching an idea of selling books online twenty years ago at a time when fewer people were reading books. Must have sounded like a very stupid business idea (Amazon) or the concept of people exchange pictures on line (Facebook) or recording and sharing videos ( YouTube).
Keep striving, keep believing in your dreams and keep ignoring people who believe that you cannot achieve greatness.
Dr.Ade Otukoya B.Sc, LLB, FCCA, MBA, PhD