My lockdown story is not just any ordinary story. It is a story about survival.
First of all, I like to say that I am a very adventurous person. I am the 3rd child in a family of 4 children. My parents were secondary school teachers and I was born in Nsukka, a suburban area in Enugu state, Nigeria. My town also play host to the University of Nigeria, one of the first generation universities in Nigeria.
Growing up, I didn’t quite consider studying in University of Nigeria, amidst it’s proximity and high academic standard. I convinced myself that since I had spent almost 18 years of my life in Nsukka, that it only makes sense for me to attend University at another state in the country, at least not just for the education but to meet new people, learn new language and culture and get more exposed.
Eventually after series of argument at home and consultations I settled to apply for University of Benin, in Edo state of Nigeria, where I got admitted in 2012 and I bagged my Doctor of Pharmacy degree in 2018
I was inducted into the Pharmacy profession On June, 2019. Two days after, I left Benin City and came to Lagos Nigeria. Lagos, is the busiest and most populated city in West Africa, with lots of disorderliness and insane ways of living. It is also the city with most opportunities in Nigeria and I was determined to survive in this city. I told myself that if people make it on this street then I can too; I became my own motivation.
Luckily or if I may say Miraculously, I got an opportunity to intern with Chevron Nigeria Limited. I said miraculously because to get an offer from a multinational company in Nigeria (and most African countries) usually requires some level of lobby.
But mine (together with that of Jurist, my classmate), came in as just a phone call. We had just finished induction and we were invited for medicals for passing their aptitude test. Pharm (Mrs) Ejoor who conducted that aptitude test deserves all the accolades for insisting on a merit scheme. Sometimes I wonder where I would’ve interned with high rate of corruption in Nigerian civil service scheme, bearing in mind I come an average background with absolutely no ‘connection’
Be that as it may, resuming internship with Chevron Nigeria on 1st July, 2019 fulfilled my dreams but also ushered in other problems and challenges, typical to living in Lagos, Nigeria.
The first of those problems was traffic and high cost of transportation. Sometimes, I would wake up by 4.30am in the morning to beat traffic (which I may still get caught up in) and while coming back I would spend a fortune to get home. It was indeed telling on me financially, so I had to get a locum job in a community pharmacy.
The second and most spectacular problem I had was accommodation. I was squatting with a couple of ‘friends’ from my town. They were extremely impatient with my plans of raising enough money to get my own place. They gave me lots of nasty attitudes and will eventually have me evicted from the house as you would see in this story.
In the second week of February 2020, I was due for a 3 weeks leave. I was excited about the leave for two reasons. First, I wanted to go home and see my parents. It had been over a year since I went home. Secondly it was my sister’s wedding too and I was indeed elated.
Read Also – Tips for purchasing drugs in a pharmacy
I took a leave too from my locum job and in a bid to compensate for my time off, I brought in a friend I knew all the way back from school (a final year student pharmacist), to cover for me in the community pharmacy where I did the part time job.
The agreement I had with my employer at my locum space was for my friend to cover the remaining days in February and the whole of March, while I resume in April.
Well, I came back from my leave on 15th March 2020, to meet part of my properties outside. It was a difficult Sunday and I knew it was about time to look for a new house. It was also at this time that Nigeria was managing her index case of Corona virus.
The next day which is Monday, 16th March, 2020 I set out on one of the most difficult tasks in Lagos, Nigeria- Searching for an apartment.
Luckily with the help of a pharmacy assistant colleague at the community pharmacy where I did locum, I found a house same day. Not just a comfortable one but also an affordable one.
Eventually, I successfully moved into my new apartment just two days before the announced lockdown. That was the beginning of my lockdown story; the story about survival, feeling down and rising up.
The first thing that happened to me in the first week of lockdown was a total mental breakdown. First I was in a new neighborhood where I basically knew no one, I was lonely and many miles away from home. I was bored to the marrow and I wanted to breakaway
The second cause of the mental break down was realizing that I was already replaced at my locum with the same person I brought in to cover for me while I was on leave. This complicated the whole lockdown story for me
At first I felt like I did something wrong that my employer didn’t want to tell me. But on talking to a few friends I understood it wasn’t my fault after all. At least if I did something wrong, he wouldn’t take someone based on my recommendation. Also my former boss was paying the person that replaced me lesser than he did to me; who wouldn’t want to cut cost in his business?
I felt betrayed and used, but I learnt a lesson of life. First is to trust no one, especially when it comes to job (and money). Secondly anyone can be replaced or displaced from his job, irrespective of how many extra working hours you put in. Again, we should all try to maintain a good social and mental balance even as we work, because when the chips are down, you may just be all you’ve got.
My preliminary lockdown story should remind the following;
- Nobody owes you anything; Fight for your survival. My relations didn’t owe me a place to sleep in Lagos. Though I felt I was evicted unjustly and for no reason, I still don’t have anything against them
- Don’t kill yourself for a job, you can be easily replaced. In my last locum I feel I gave too much. I didn’t have a ‘me time’, it was all work and work even on Sundays. How did that end up again? Replacement with not just anyone but your own friend
- Do not call someone who is not capable of keeping the bro code, a friend. A friend shouldn’t under any circumstance or offer come in to a place to cover you and end up taking your job. Acts as such defiles every definition of friendship
- Your mental health is important. Guard it jealously.
In earnest, lockdown for me was a period of recollection and self-examination. I took out the time to learn and appreciate life. I have made new resolutions and I am charting a new way forward. The aim is to come back strong post-COVID, so help me God.
Full lockdown story comes up in part two. Stay tuned……
Kindly Click here to follow our updates and interact with us