It was a Thursday, exactly three years ago. I sat in front of my office computer, tense. I was certain that I needed to make the decision, but I was slightly worried about the effect it would have on the special people in my life. This decision was a long time coming. It had taken me several months of dilly-dallying and weighing all that could go wrong. I had discussed it with some people and even alluded to it a number of times, however, I knew down my heart that the time was right. The moment I clicked the “Send’ button, there was no going back. I had resigned from my job at the bank.
The plan from the first day I walked into the bank as a fresh graduate, a few months after completing NYSC, was to work hard at my job and save up for a Master’s degree in Communication. The dream had always been to pursue a career in Communication, and when I was not selected for an internal vacancy in the Corporate Communication department, I began to intensify my exit plans. But it didn’t happen the way I envisioned. I left abruptly on health grounds.
However, as they say, “life goes on”. As I recuperated, I applied to several institutions for the degree I was pursuing. Apparently, with some support like a scholarship or just a bit of financial aid, I’d pump all my savings into this venture.
This confidence to take a leap at a crucial point in my life is something I would have taken for granted until a conversation made me realise that this calculated risk was facilitated by a word I sometimes hate. Privilege.
I discovered that many firstborns at my age were burdened with the responsibility of their siblings and sometimes, their parents. Whatever income they earned were not to be used totally at their discretion. And even though this culture is not ideal, it is the norm for many families in this part of the world. In the light of that, someone like me would have either not had enough savings to kick off the journey or still be stuck on a job because there are “many mouths to feed”. So, even though I do not quite think of myself as a product of privilege, I cannot deny that things would have turned out differently if I did not come from the kind of family that I did.
This is why as I reflect on the experience these past years, I am grateful for my parents who didn’t make themselves entitled to my income and who reminded me several times that they were committed to taking care of my siblings till they were through with university education. I am grateful that even though they expressed concern as I toyed with the decision, they encouraged and supported me all the way. I also hope that I become the parent who will allow her children the freedom to live for themselves as much as possible.