For most of December, I have fought against reviewing my 2019, mostly because I felt like I wouldn’t like whatever was waiting for me at the end of the article, but thinking about it, I figured that reviewing my year is an important step for me for many reasons.

  1. Looking at what went well and what didn’t
  2. Holding myself accountable (in public)
  3. Taking stock of my wins and losses for each time life got too unbearable.

So here goes…

Education/School.

This year, I finished my master’s degree with a 2.1, not what I wanted initially but when I think of my journey, it’s something that I am eternally proud of. Studying at Lincoln was one of the hardest things I ever did. I was the youngest in my class, the only black in my class in a tiny town where people stare at you sometimes because of your skin colour, hair and accent. It was in these two years that I felt what it was to not want to wake up or go out each day and feel like you aren’t good enough.

At some point, my masters seemed like a waste of resources (I begged to drop out because of how much I was failing). But in hindsight, it was a period of self-discovery, I got to learn more about design in its totality, it also helped me properly figure out what I want to do with myself career-wise. I am interested in research (especially low-income housing for tropical regions). I would like to do a PhD. but I am currently taking a break and hopefully, the ginger doesn’t die out.

Day after my final presentation, can you see the joy in my tired eyes?

To this end, I started blogging actively about architecture and design on my website. So far, I have gotten about 300 views on the articles there. I’m hoping to be more consistent with this in future and hopefully collaborate with like-minded people.

Design

This year, I decided that I was going to be more serious with design, so I took some courses in UI design off LinkedIn learning. I learned how to use XD and Figma properly.

I became an active member of design twitter (Nigerian Branch) and published my first Dribbble shot. I created two case studies on my website which were met with really good reviews.

My first Shot on Dribbble

I signed up for Interaction Design Foundation and I am genuinely excited for what I am going to learn from it.

I made a conscious effort to interact with the design community and went for my first meetup in November, I also met up with some of my design friends in real life.

I struggled with imposter syndrome as usual, but it’s not as bad anymore.

Relationships

This year, I had fewer fights and arguments with my parents and actively worked towards being a better friend. I made new friends from different countries and immersed myself in different parts of their culture especially food. I became more expressive (although I still struggle with saying I love you) but it’s a step in the right direction.

I lost a friend to an accident, which messed me up quite a bit- affected my sleeping pattern and whatnot.

Career

This year was filled with a lot of disappointments career-wise. I applied for countless jobs both in England and Nigeria and I was met with so many Ls. Some hurt more than others. There was one where the recruiter had to call me to give me the rejection notice. I cannot tell you how much that hurt. The best part of that experience is that it taught me what it was like to fail, that is what most of my 2019 was for. Most of my life, I’d never really failed at anything, I passed school most times with minimal reading, no all-nighters except for design studios. So to come from cloud nine and then crash headlong into the abyss of failure, I cannot tell you how that messed up my mental health.

I guess it was better I experienced this sooner rather than later. In spite of the Ls, I had a couple of wins including my first real job. It’s being a tough period but I’ve learned a lot in a short time and I know it can only get better, I was also able to better streamline my long and short term career goals and I look forward to working towards them consciously in the next decade.

Experiences

I’m not one for trying new things, but this year, I made an effort to do better. I learned to ride a bike- I fell multiple times, but it was worth it. I had actual dairy ice-cream from this farm at Skellingthorpe, I tried Indian food with my Arab friend and went thrifting at flea markets.

I fell on my bum multiple times while Ice-skating at Nottingham and had my first stab at coffee while struggling with my final year project. I worked with a couple of young people on the NCS in the summer and enjoyed it. I was so nervous a first because I’m really bad with new people but it turned out nice.

We went camping and hiking at the Peak District, at some point I’m sure I lost feeling in my legs multiple times but the views were worth it. One thing I do not miss was settling fights between hormonal teenagers. It was quite a struggle understanding their accents and trying not to be too Nigerian motherly with them. But they were sad to see me go so I didn’t do such a horrible job.

I tried a burger for the first time and loved it, but unfortunately, no burger has been able to top the one I had at Skegness.

Views at Skegness and the Peak District

Moving back Home

This is probably one of the major points of my year, asides from my graduation. I tried to get a job so I could stay back and work for a bit in the UK but that didn’t go so well, so I returned on the 18th of September. I thought I was ready but nothing really prepares you for people being in your space constantly after living alone for an extended period. Having to tell people where I was going and when I would be coming home, remembering to cook for other people. It was a whole lot.

Moving home also meant NYSC, I was scared of camp. I had heard so many stories, really terrible things. But I knew that I had to do it so that they don’t pull a Kemi Adeosun on me when I want to become a minister in the next 10/12 years.

So fast forward to October, I was packed and ready to start, I could write a whole article on the horrors I faced, but the major highlight of the camp was the friends I made.

Reading

This year, I read/reread roughly 11 books. A fine mix of fiction and nonfiction, hard copy and softcopy. I prefer hard copy books but it’s like crack for me I always finish them in about 1/2 days no matter the size so it’s almost always a waste. I read and finished

  1. My Sister, the Serial Killer
  2. Show Your Work
  3. The Prisoner of Auschwitz
  4. You
  5. Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives
  6. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck
  7. Born a Crime
  8. Educated
  9. Children of Virtue and Vengeance
  10. Crash the Chatterbox
  11. Being Nigerian

I started and couldn’t finish about 10 for many reasons, but we go again next year. I think my favourite book this year is Educated. I strongly recommend it.

Last Words

When I started writing this, I was genuinely scared of what I was going to meet, but looking at it now, I think I had a great year despite everything. I am grateful for all the experiences and I don’t think I’d have had it any other way. 2019 taught me many things but I think the biggest lessons are that I am strong(er) than I think and that I am loved. So many times, it’s the love that helped me pull through no matter how bad everything felt and looked.

Currently, I am adjusting to living at home again and having people in my space, so I think my ultimate goal for the next year is moving out, and a new job, in a company with a design team where I can learn and grow.

2019 was a whole trip but I survived, Cheers to 2020!

A badass visual designer