It is January 1st, 2021. A few weeks ago, around 1 am, I returned to Lagos - the city where I grew up. The bus I boarded from Abuja broke down a couple of times, in addition, the driver was unwell the whole time. It was my first experience traveling by road on a journey that spanned over 467 miles. What an adventure that was, I couldn't wait to see my family. It's been one year since I relocated to Uyo, Akwa Ibom State for the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), a compulsory program set by the Nigerian government to be undertaken by every university graduate.
The plan was to visit my family for two weeks and return to Abuja where I wished to reside permanently, however with every additional week spent in Lagos, the unrealistic my plan to relocate to Abuja seemed. It became certain the move would not turn into a reality. I had cast all my hopes on relatives who assured me of their financial backing in making my relocation a success. But it felt like I'd be causing myself harm if I continued to hope on their failing promises. I accepted my fate and resorted to live in Lagos.
From the time I was a kid, I had the intention to move out of the house. Simply because living conditions were at the very least, unconducive. If I had to live in Lagos, I told myself, "I'll have to move into my own apartment".
Throughout NYSC, I saved up all the stipend sent from the government, which was N19,800 ($48.06) every month, in addition to money made from freelance work, I had a cumulative amount of N400,000 in the bank. This still wasn't enough to rent an apartment and settle in.
I began applying for local tech jobs with my bachelor's degree in Computer Science and got one interview for the role of Technical Support at a server company. The monthly salary was N55,000 ($133.51) and I was expected to work 6 days a week. I turned down the offer and continued building websites as a freelancer.
Eventually, I registered my business name Gnest Tech and got a few clients via referrals and word of mouth.
I wasn't satisfied with the infrequent rate at which I got clients, so my goal was to get a fully-remote tech job from abroad. That was when I focused on building connections with awesome people on Twitter.
Shortly after, I found an amazing mentor, Levi Meahan who was willing to help me reach my goal. We started 1:1 video call sessions, he'll answer any questions I had on Twitter too. It's always refreshing to know someone has got your back and is interested in seeing you reach your goal.
The more I engaged on Twitter, the more I connected with like-minded people who were willing to help out. Dan Mall is someone who is always happy to help out. We held video meetings where he taught me about public speaking and gave me some general advice when I needed them the most.
I completely studied the CS50 course, a series of Computer Science lectures offered by Havard.
During that time, I committed to the #100DaysOfCode Challenge. and completed it.
How I Got Scammed and Almost Lost it
Some of my acquaintances introduced me to this "new opportunity". Unaware of this being a Multi-level Marketing (MLM) scheme, I jumped right into it. Of course, I wanted to move out at all costs, without doing any research on my own, I invested some of my savings, at first, I was getting a return on investment, so I proceeded to invest all my savings and even took a loan to invest even more money. Like all MLMs, the tricksters behind the show took off with all the money.
At this point, I was left with a deep feeling of sadness. Not sure what steps to take next, my mental health greatly deteriorated. I had to relocate to a rural territory, where only a few people know me with the intention of clearing my mind off my losses and channeling all my feelings towards working on my skills so I can pay off my loans and live a better life.
Channeling the Hurt Toward Creativity
Burning with a passion to build my skills, I consistently studied, wrote articles, and hosted Twitter Spaces. Some of the amazing people I got to feature were:
My blog quickly grew to over 3.5k views.
I was privileged to co-organize Black Tech Twitter, a safe space where underrepresented folks come together to discuss and aid each other. Before long, this community created some buzz on Twitter, even the official Twitter Dev Team gave us a shoutout.
I continue to build custom web applications for my client, while I spend other time improving my coding skills, creating content, and developing healthy habits.
Three months ago, I began my Master's program, studying Information Technology at the National Open University of Nigeria.
This has been a year filled with many twists, turns, and lessons.
I'm glad I had to go through everything because it made me a much better person today.
Goals for 2022
Become proficient in React and Firebase
Make a high-income monthly salary
Read 10 books.
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