The youth service year was one that Maya looked forward to with keen interest. Senior friends had said it was going to be fun, especially during the orientation camp. Then, her dad always insisted that the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) was compulsory for any young Nigerian who had big aspirations. He would often say, “How are you going to apply for public positions if you don’t have your NYSC certificate, or don’t you have big dreams?” Yes, Maya had big dreams!
In Maya’s father’s definition of big dreams, a government position was the ideal fit for a woman. She didn’t need stressful jobs that would take her away from her duties in the home. But Maya had her own dreams, which were completely different from her father’s, and she was not ready to let go of it. Her passion for Journalism was something that couldn’t be doused, and she promised herself she was going to be famous for that, despite the circumstances that surrounded her.
It was about a year into Maya’s marriage to Tim when she received her call up letter for youth service. Good enough, she wasn’t yet pregnant and had nothing to detract her from camp activities. The series of activities on camp opened Maya up to her dreams. After winning several awards from competitions that held at the camp, she knew she was born to shine and was ready to go all out in achieving her dreams.
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Few months after the orientation camp, Maya was blessed with the news that she had conceived. That was just what she wanted at the moment, yet she still had her mind focused on pursuing her dreams. She said to herself, “I would get a job now, months before my baby is born. I just need to remain focused.” She didn’t want to be like her sister, Sarah, who, after 3 children in 6 years, couldn’t pull up herself on a career path.
Staying focused wasn’t Maya’s problem. Getting close to her focus was. No one was going to employ a pregnant woman. They all advised her to go home and take some rest. But resting at this time wasn’t an option Maya loved. “I just have to get started on a job,” she said to herself.
After series of applications and months that went by, the baby finally arrived. It was a day of joy and celebration. Though Maya’s hopes of securing a job before then hadn’t materialized, she was still happy to have her little angel in her hands, one that weathered the hot sun with her during her numerous job search outings. Maya knew she had to pause for a while. Though she just wasn’t sure of when next to begin.
It had been 9 months after Maya put to bed and she still hadn’t found a job; even a suitable internship opportunity hadn’t come her way. She had resumed her job search when her baby was about 4 months and had so far sent out about 15 applications, which fetched her 3 phone call interviews and online tests. Nevertheless, at the end of the day, she still had no job.
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Frustration wasn’t an option for her. She had only one goal and that was to be a journalist, a popular one for that matter. How was she going to combine motherhood and a career pursuit? She was a first-time mum and a fresh applicant who had already been wearied by the series of unsuccessful applications she had sent out. At this point, she resolved to do what she loved to do, this time around, not for money but for herself. She was going to start reporting as a journalist right from her bedroom. “Who needs an office to be a journalist?” she said to herself.
Soon, the series of news flying around the Internet became her new ‘bae’. She started off aggregating news and reposting on her online blog named Web’s Journal. A month after she started, she noticed that her blog site was gaining more traffic than she ever expected, with up to an average of 5 – 10 comments daily; people love to deliberate over trending news. This encouraged her so much that she put in more effort and ensured that she searched out the best of the trends and on time too.
The big break for Maya came when a media agency contacted her to feature their banner ad on her blog site because of the massive traffic she had garnered. Reality dawned on her when she was offered a 12 months contract of 3. 6million naira. She couldn’t reconcile the transition from the hustling pregnant woman on the streets to the increasingly popular online blogger. All she remembers is that she went all out to ensure that her self-confidence wasn’t affected, especially with the rejection from employers. That was her biggest step. Against all odds, she pursued her dreams. See where she is today.