All You Gotta Do is Believe!
I personally don't think it's a G move to admit on the internet that you were crying lol. So this is the only post where I'd be doing that. Only reason being, there might be someone out there that might relate to this. But rest assured, my final year involved a lot of stress- especially when you're the captain of the last minute committee! But I'd say this- all the hard work paid off in the end! And if I could go back to Uni and go through all that stress again knowing that it would give me the same outcome, I would do it again. Remember this, "Pain is temporary, it may last for a minute, a day or in some cases a year, but eventually something greater will take its place! but if you quit however, it will last for a lifetime. To be successful, you have to be willing to sacrifice what you are for what you will become." Don't sacrifice something as permanent as your degree for something else that's temporary.
There’s this saying that, “the battle starts in the mind” but what does this mean exactly? I learnt the significance of this saying in my final year. To excel at University, you need to believe that you can do it. To make something a fact, there has to be evidence. For the words ‘I can do it’ to become a fact that can’t be shaken by anyone else’s opinions or thoughts, there has to be evidence- concrete evidence. And what is that evidence? The fact that there is a God that can do greater than anything you could ever imagine. However, I’d be lying if I said the journey to this point was easy. It definitely wasn’t. There were so many times during my degree where this fact was tested or shaken by the circumstances around me, and I started to lose sight of the evidence- that God is greater. As a university graduate, I know too well that one thing that can shake your confidence in your abilities is ‘time’. So you might think, “…yes God can do it, but I have only two days left so how is that gonna happen?" Believe me I’ve been there, and in fact I’m going to share this particular experience to show you that, while the words “All you gotta do is believe” sound easier to say than do; I assure you that the moment you get to the point where you finally believe that you can do it! You will be UNSTOPPABLE.
So in the first semester of my final year, I was taking four modules- two of them were exam assessed, so I had two exams and two courseworks all due in January. We had just the Christmas break to prepare, and we all know too well that with the Christmas breaks, you’d think you have time until you have just one week left and you’re left wondering where all the time went. My two courseworks were Commercial Law and Jurisprudence, and boy they took ALL my time! I gave the courseworks my all- I edited each one so many times until they were perfect. I finally submitted my courseworks in January. I remember handing them in on a Monday and being so relieved, I was working on them up until the day before they were due. While I was so relieved about handing my courseworks in, the only problem was that I had an Evidence Exam that Wednesday (only TWO DAYS later), and I hadn’t started revising.
Thankfully, I had attended all my Evidence lectures that semester and I had studied parts of the course during the semester. I also had a few notes which made me believe that two days would be enough to revise. I remember it like it was yesterday. It was a Monday afternoon and I was in the library on the second floor in the law section, going through my Evidence textbook and everything looked so foreign and new. I remember thinking, “…wait, I’ve read some of these topics before, why can’t I recognise anything?” I felt like I was being introduced to Evidence Law for the first time in my life. I couldn’t remember the topics I had read before because I had read them so early in the semester, and I still had many more topics I hadn’t touched at all and I had just two days.
So I started reading that Monday afternoon, the course had ten topics and each one was so broad with so many cases and statutes to remember. I remember thinking I could do it, but time just kept on flying and before I knew it, it was about seven in the evening. And when I looked at the time, reality started to hit me, the first day was almost over and I was still on the first topic and I had ten topics and my exam was in less than two days. At that point, I started panicking and I had to leave the library to get some air. One of my friends was studying in the library too. She had always been so inspirational and positive, so I texted her and I told her I really needed to speak to her. She told me to meet her on the ground floor bathroom because that was one of the few places you could have a conversation in the library.
She showed up and asked me what was wrong and I just broke down into tears, I actually couldn’t speak and she just brought out her arms and hugged me. If you haven’t reached this point with your law degree; you are not strong, you are a SOLDIER! I tried to speak but I really couldn’t and she was like, 'it’s okay, I understand.' She quickly figured it was exam stress. I told her I had an exam in two days and I just started studying and I didn’t have any more time. She looked at me so confidently and she said “Tunrie, two days is more than enough.” Now there are two kinds of advice, you have advice that just sounds like the person is just trying to make you feel better and you have advice that is sincere and honest and sure. She was sure. She wasn’t lying. I was like, “no I have a lot to read, there are so many topics” and she said “Tunrie, there are 24 hours in a day, you have 48 hours, that’s a lot” Now wait a minute, she wasn’t just saying I had time, she was saying I had a LOT of time and she believed it, she was sure. She told me to make use of the time I had and that she was sure I could do it, she told me she would check on me later that evening to know how far I had gone.
Now I said earlier that the words “the battle starts in the mind” imply having the fact that “you can do it” being backed up by the evidence you know to be true, and that sometimes life happens and we start to doubt the evidence that we have. And the facts we thought we had, start to seem like alternative facts. What my friend did that day was to back up my facts with concrete evidence so I could believe them again, she told me there were 24 hours in a day and I had two days making 48 hours (lol so smart of me), which meant I had a lot of time. She was right, I did have time, there were 24 hours in a day and all I had to do was use it wisely. So I went back to the library, believing that “two days was more than enough.”
So I sat down, I wasn’t panicking anymore. There were six questions on the exam and we were going to answer two questions out of six. We had ten topics; this meant that there were four topics that wouldn’t be on the exam. But I only had time to read just two topics. Reading just two topics was very risky, what if those topics were part of the four topics that were not on the exam, what would I do then? So I just prayed, I was like God just guide me to the topics to read, the two topics that would be on the exam, God just give me a sign! So I decided to read two topics, ‘Child witnesses’ and ‘Presumption of innocence’ I read Child witnesses that Monday and I made summarised notes of the topic on a piece of paper.
I went to bed that Monday surprisingly very calm. I don’t know, I just felt like God was with me. The following day, which was a Tuesday, I read ‘Presumption of innocence’. When I say believing in yourself is easier said than done, I’m not lying. By that evening, I had read two topics and I started to feel scared all of a sudden. How could I take such a huge risk in my final year? - the year that counted the most. I had pulled a similar stunt in my second year for another exam, I had read only three topics and only one of those topics ended up being on the exam. I was in tears after that exam. Like I hadn’t learnt anything after that experience, now I wasn’t reading three topics, oh no, I was reading two! Whoa! How could I take such a risk?! It seemed like I had been living in dreamland for the past two days and now reality was suddenly hitting me. I started panicking again. This time I didn’t need Evidence, I needed a sign! (omg I’m just realising I’ve been talking about evidence a lot and the name of my exam was also evidence! mahn! This post was meant to be! Lol) Back to what I was saying, I needed a sign that I was on the right path, I was like God give me a sign, are my two topics enough, should I add one more, but there’s no time to add one more #studentproblems
So for some reason, I went on youtube. I wanted to watch something encouraging because I needed some encouragement at that point, so I searched ‘TD Jakes’ and I started watching the first video that came up. I had moved to the eating area on the first floor to watch it so I wouldn’t disturb anyone. So I started watching. The video was so long! So at some point, I became very distracted. I was also quite tired as I had been in the library all day. But I kept on watching the video regardless. At some point, I was like "omg I really should be paying more attention if I want some motivation.” As I straightened up my sitting position to be a bit more alert, TD Jakes yelled out “YOU BETTER STICK WITH THE TWO YOU HAVE!” I froze at that point, Whoa! What!? What was he talking about? What two? Was he talking to me? This was too direct, how could I have asked God for a sign and then get the most direct sign! I needed some context. In what context was he saying this? So I replayed the video and I realized he was talking about being content and he was saying if God gave you two blessings, stick with those two and be content with it. Whenever I heard people say stories like this, I would say to myself, I’m sure they added some jara lol. Now I was having one of those moments. This was really happening! I wasn’t dreaming.
So I said fine, I’d stick with the two I have. While I decided to do that, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t scared because I was. It was still too good to be true, I wasn’t going to believe what happened until after the exam. So there was still a little fear in me. But one thing I’ve learnt in life is that faith is not the absence of fear, but it is knowing that even if you feel fear, your faith is bigger than that fear. I went to bed that night not sure on how I would feel after my exam the next day. My exam was at nine in the morning. I got there right on time. I remember getting into the exam and taking my seat. The invigilator shared the papers and we were told to start. I said a prayer before I started. I turned the paper around. The instruction was to select two questions, so I started to read the questions. Number one was ‘Child Witnesses’, number two was ‘Presumption of Innocence’. The only two topics I read were the first two questions on the exam. That’s when I realised that God took my prayers very literally! My God didn’t even make me have to search for the question I could answer, if I tell you that till this day I have no idea what other questions were on that exam because the topics I read were the first two questions. Wow! This was really happening. I answered the two questions within the time I had. I remember leaving that exam just in awe of God. I messaged my friend to tell her all about it.
The past two days had taught me so much. When my results came out, I had a first class on the exam! A few days later, one of my classmates was telling me how she was so disappointed about her Evidence exam results because she had read ALL the topics and she still had a 2:1. I remember just thinking whoa! This is what I mean when I say success is not just a ‘you’ effort, it’s not just about working hard, there’s a God Factor too. But that begins with believing in yourself and having the faith to persevere, against all odds.
Before the exam, no odds were in my favour- be it the time I had left or my choice of topics to study. But I forgot that in life, the only person you need to favour you is God and with Him on your side, you’re unstoppable. It’s true! All you gotta do is believe! My friend told me two days was more than enough, and I believed it! And two days did become more than enough!
It all begins in your mind! If you believe that you are unstoppable! There’s no person or thing that can stop you from achieving your goals. All you have to do is believe that you are enough! Your time is enough! Your skills are enough! Your talent is enough! Whatever thing you think is an obstacle, quickly turn it into a challenge!
. . .
A year after that, when I was having fears about my Bar Exams, my Dad told me this story about Mohammed Ali and I’d be sharing that too. (You’re getting a double dose today haha!) So here it is!
Mohammed Ali was one of the greatest boxers of all time. Well, asides his boxing skills, he was also famous for the interviews he’d give before his matches. He was famous for saying things like “I’m gonna float like a butterfly and sting like a bee” and “I’ll show you how great I am” right before his matches. Before each fight, he’d give an interview saying he was going to defeat his opponent, in fact he’d state how he was going to do this, he’d say things like “I’m gonna make him beg for mercy”, “The man’s in trouble” ,“I’d show him how great I am”, "He wouldn't even see me coming", “He should be very scared.” What usually happened was that this would send fear running through his opponents. In fact, most times his opponents would be interviewed and the interviewer would say something like “have you heard what Mohammed Ali said he’s gonna do to you?” What a legend!
Years later, after Mohammed Ali retired from professional boxing, in one of his rare interviews, the interviewer asked him, he said “Ali you always seemed so confident before your matches, you would say everything that you were going to do to your opponents, and most of the time you would send fear running through their spines.” And then, Mohammed Ali, the greatest boxer of all time, replied and he said this “I wasn’t speaking to my opponents, I was speaking to my fears.” He said before every match, he would have all these fears about losing, so what he did was he would speak back to his fears and let his fears know that he was the greatest of all time and that no one could defeat him. He said, I was speaking to my fears all along, and my opponents ended up getting scared in the process. Even Mohammed Ali knew too well that the battle begins in your mind. And what did this do for him, he shot down all his fears and he went on to become one of the greatest boxers of all time.
This is something I’ve adopted a lot in my life. Start believing from today that great things are going to happen in your life. Tell your fears that you’re going to show them how great you are! Believe in yourself even if no one else does! Because you are enough! and you are all you need! And with everything you’re reading, all you have to do is believe it about yourself, that you can be great! and you will do great things! Because to be honest, all you gotta do is believe! It’s really that simple!
Sending Positive Energy your way!