My mistake helped me overcome peer pressure

In a world where peer and internet pressure drive people, one can easily relate with Jumoke Abikoye that following the trends will only land one in big trouble. You never can tell the impact being a man-pleaser will have on you. Enjoy this wonderful piece by a sister.

It was the year 2008 and I was in Senior Secondary School, class three. I had a reputation in the school as a popular and very likable person mainly because I was not just smart and intelligent but also cool.

I was a run-to girl, more like a plug for everything. I knew something about everything, my friends could talk to me about books, crushes, all kinds of things.

The one thing my friends didn’t know was that I was the youngest in the class and I couldn’t let them find out because that meant treating me differently and probably looking down on me or so I thought at that point. So, when everyone talked about their age, I looked away.

Things took a turn when some officials of the West African Examination Council visited our school to take our details. We were asked to fill a form and there was a section for our age too.

We weren’t so much in my class so I couldn’t hide my name. I filled my
year of birth as 1993 and I had no idea that this was going to hunt me for years to come.

Fast forward to when I received my certificate and I saw 1993 as opposed to 1994, I started to shake because I didn’t know what to tell my parents especially my dad.

This was the beginning of my troubles so I got home and my
dad saw it and told me that a lot of people are reducing their age and here I am increasing mine.
Sadly, WAEC doesn’t give a replacement so I was stuck with 1993. The only thing I could do was to get an affidavit and my birth certificate as evidence.

I gained admission in 2009 and there was so much mix up in my date of birth. I kept my affidavit very close to defend myself.

I graduated in 2014, served in 2015 and I was at an interview in 2016 when the issue was brought up. I had two different dates of birth. Here I was, 8 years after making a wrong decision, I was still questioned about it.

As usual, I told them the story I told myself and everyone who asks me that it was an error from WAEC and I tried to change it but WAEC said they don’t edit results so I showed them the affidavit.

A woman on the panel came to my rescue after corroborating my story
and said WAEC does that all the time and so I got the job. I almost didn’t get that job because of a deliberate mistake I made in 2008.

The most hurtful one happened last year when I was applying for a Visa to North America and this same issue became a problem for me. I will not go into details but I couldn’t make progress with the trip because I was stuck and a friend of mine that we processed the application together got his.

To my 2008 self, it seemed cool to want to remain likable but as I grew up, I told myself that I will never be caught dead seeking people’s approval, to be liked, or to be in their good books.
Don’t get me wrong, I still have friends but very few. This simple mistake has hurt me many times and I have picked my lessons.

This is the first time I am sharing this.


Abikoye Jumoke is an Agriculturist, a Research and Product Development Associate at Seed Co, and the Team Lead for SmartCulture Agro. When she is not farming, she is copy-writing. Abikoye is currently working on her first book. Her hobbies are singing and writing.

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