I remember at the beginning of 2019, I got invited to a BBC conference in Abuja. What a great way to start the year, I thought! This got me excited that it was going to be my best year yet, not knowing it was going to be full of surprises…
January was a great month. Was just three months from finishing school (or so I thought?) I was head of events for my hall week, I was in charge of multiple 6 figure digital marketing campaigns. February was great too, then on Valentines Day, a setback hit…
My Twitter account got suspended. Some may ask, wasn’t it just an account? I loved Twitter, this was one that I’d grown to become formidable on Twitter NG for 6 years, one I’d made millions from. I’d hit 100k+ followers then (would’ve been more than 420k now according to socialblade). It was so big of a deal that blogs like Linda Ikeja, Techpoint & more published the news. Also lost some deals and friends. Then, was a depressing time. Didn’t have so much time for the app again ‘cause I was in my final year and was dealing with final year workload/ project
Months passed, then the Sunday before Easter, I travelled from Ibadan to Lagos late in the night & posted that the coming week might be one the most stressful of my life. Most people and I myself didn’t understand the full extent. My week then continued
My British passport had expired a month before. (I’d just properly found out earlier in the year that I was British too) (Interesting story for another day lmao)
And my cousin’s wedding was in Spain on Friday that week, so I’d planned to travel to clear my head after the intense stress of school. I had my final year project defense on Wednesday, my project was to make a drone which I hadn’t gotten to fly yet. Monday, had to go go the British consulate for an interview for my emergency travel certificate. Had to start traveling back to UI (Ibadan) to finish my project.
Got to Ibadan, went home, had my bath, ran to the lab and stayed overnight for two days. Wednesday came, I had my project defense and also a flight to Turkey then Spain to catch that same day. Hadn’t even properly packed my bags because I hadn’t been at home. On that same Wednesday, Immediately had to start travelling from Ibadan to Lagos and despite the thick traffic and amidst our fears we made our flight. The flight time was the first time i’d gotten sleep in days. I got to Turkey then entered Spain Thursday evening.
Remember hundreds of reactions after posting a picture, some like “still saw you suited for project defense hours ago, Bruh! how are you in Spain?!” 😂
To me, it also felt like a movie!
Got to Malaga, had to order a 2hr Uber ride with mum and Uncle to Estepona where cousin’s pre-wedding dinner was taking place. Family was too surprised to see us there in Spain.
Next day was the destination wedding by the beach with about 80 people present. Perfect setting!
Next 3 days were spent exploring the beautiful Estepona. Got lost a few times and during that time learnt little Spanish. Tuesday, it was time to leave for Manchester. Immediately I landed, dropped my bags & booked a coach going to London 4 hrs away.
I’d been to Manchester a few times in the past but never been to London. Cousin that was meant to pick me at the coach station had issues he was dealing with at that moment so he could not. I’d just entered London and I was alone and lost!!!
Was so close to sleeping on the streets, lmao, but got it sorted. Stayed in Balham mansions for 4 days. Thank God for Google Maps. Each day I picked a part of the city to explore, South, Central, North London. Had fun with friends and went back to Manchester.
Days into my stay in Manchester, got a call from Nigeria that I was going to have an extra year in school.
I broke down! I’d initially planned to stay in the United Kingdom but plans had to change. Called a close cousin & he told me to come to the US that weekend. Even decided to pay for my flight. Days later, I was in New York. It had been a while I had been in NYC & I was excited to be there despite the circumstances then (the extra year). Went on Eventbrite and registered for a few events/ conferences. Though I wanted to enjoy NYC to the max, I also didn’t just want time to waste away there.
To digress a bit, 2 marks & an avoidable error got me an extra semester. Failed a course in 300L. Most times our results aren’t given till later, just GPA shown. Didn’t know about it till later. My 400L & 500L course supervisors signed my course form saying everything was alright
When it was time to clear, they said I had to come back to school to retake the course. I was devastated. Never imagined that would happen to me. It was made an extra semester instead of year when the school realized that it wasn’t totally my fault, but had to take 5 courses.
Got to New York, attended another of my cousin’s wedding, explored the main city of Brooklyn and Manhattan numerous times. Did online courses, learnt a whole lot, Artificial Intelligence Machine Learning and more experience on Digital Marketing. Also was really involved in hands on Real Estate through my cousin, Daniel. Had amazing memories for that month. Went back to UK for a few days and everyone was just shocked!
Stayed a day in Turkey using a Turkish visa I got. Came back to Nigeria after two months of tireless journeys and intense fun. One of my most painful moments was when I got back into Nigeria and realized they broke the lock on my bag and made away with an iPhone 7+ and Galaxy buds. Wrote mails to the airline authorities but sadly, there wasn’t any reply. But I’d taken 16 different flights and travelled between 5 countries in 4 continents in two months. Two days after I entered, I had an event in Lagos with Tosin Akinbo and Mide which was a massive success.
I remember going back to classes, was a depressing time. Hid this from the world but there were a few friends I confided in that kept me going
Recently got my result & GUESS WHAT?! Got more A’s in the extra semester courses I did than I got in 4 years of normal school life. Wow!
That year I started two brands Shawnife Travels (One that organizes and curates contents from travels, to get as many people as possible get to see the world) and The Shawn Merch. I became one of Google Nigeria’s select team of Influencers, for when there’s a launch event/ press briefing. I had my Travel pictures showcased in two different exhibitions in two cities… Was involved in many major events. Worked at Cool FM Nigeria as The Event Coordinator and Communications Lead, took tens of relevant online courses & learnt a lot of new skills that I’ve used to make more of myself and gain more connections.
2019 was a rollercoaster ride for me and I realized that everything happens for a reason. I’m also forever thankful for the insights, the amazing experiences, the wonderful people in my life and new friends I made then