My first ever vlog and hopefully more to come. This vlog documents my first day at the Google Innovator Academy in Sweden. Part 2 coming soon!
It’s been a while since I’ve posted here. I’ve been busy getting things done, travelling for work and working on my master plan. But, if I’m honest a friend from college has motivated me to start blogging again (Tolu-make sure you check out her blog). I fell off but want to get back on!
I’m currently sat on a plane to Sweden where I’ll attend the Google Innovator Academy. I finally plucked up the courage to apply after mulling over it for a few months. I was recommended by someone last year to apply for the New York cohort but didn’t feel ready and the cost would be too much. Then this year there was a London cohort (right on my doorstep) but yet I still didn’t feel it was the right time and was worried three days out of work would be an issue. I let every excuse keep me from applying and left myself in limbo.
After some deep reflection, I knew the honest reason I hadn’t applied is that I didn’t want to fail and thought that somehow I wasn’t good enough to be a part of it. So even when everyone in my Personal Learning Network encouraged me to I didn’t. Imposter syndrome can be so debilitating.
I was also worried about how my body would hold up for three intense days. Would it let me down again, as it has on so many occasions? It’s hard to do things when you don’t trust your body but I guess it’s not impossible.
I regretted not applying for the London cohort, while it was on I felt irritated I was missing out. I should have been there learning new things and growing. I felt a bit daft that I’d not committed to my promise several years ago to live without regrets.
Enough was enough and I finally decided to apply to the Sweden Innovator Academy. The application itself was quite a lengthy one. You have to identify a challenge that you would like to solve in education, interview a few students or teachers affected by the challenge, film a 60-second video about that challenge and why you want to solve it. After a stern talking to myself I completed it on time and a few weeks later learnt I was accepted.
As I am passionate about giving back to others and improving social mobility, I decided on the following: How might we ensure mentoring of disengaged students is consistent and effective? Keep posted to find out how I solve this challenge.
For me, hope is one the most important mental traits in life, which for some time I overlooked. Keeping hope has allowed me to face and get through some of the most dark times in my life.
We all face setbacks. We all wonder at times whether we’re going to get by. We all know what it’s like to feel that we are on the verge of a complete disaster.And many of us know what happens when we are not hopeful at such times.
Hope is not blindly expecting every good fortune to fall into your lap, nor expecting yourself to magically avoid every hurdle or potential danger. Hope with Action is the key to driving forwards.
During my recovery from my Epileptic attack in 2014, I lost hope for a while and sure enough there was no improvement in my condition. I really had to change my mindset to believing and hoping it would get better but also putting in the time into my physio.
Even to this day, I hope that I will not be in physical pain every day and that one day they will be able to reduce my medication. Hope allows me to wake up every day and give the day my best even when I don’t feel like it.
Hope gives you the motivation. Hope is that voice inside that says “Yes, you can.” And it’s the voice that makes you work harder, learn new things and gives you the impetus to actually try.
Never lose your hope!
All this senseless killing needs to stop. We see frequent news reports about these sad but avoidable deaths and it’s easier to swallow by creating a little ‘distance’ feeling like another name is simply added to the statistics. This ‘distance’ often isn’t even intentional. But in that ‘distance’ it’s easy to forget that somewhere a family has lost someone, a son, a brother, a husband or a friend due to senseless acts.
It pains me to be writing this and having a connection to the victim. My heart is heavy at the moment after speaking to his mother on Saturday evening to offer my condolences and support. It was the clearest reminder that this wave of knifing and shooting crimes are more than just stats, real families are being torn apart by these missguided and ugly acts.
There are many things that worth living for, a few things worth dying for and nothing worth killing for.
I have known you for some time now but I don’t remember exactly how or when we were introduced. My dislike for you has grown steadily over the years, I never want to look you directly in the eye. You decided to start visiting me occasionally and then making yourself more comfortable in my house. I do remember how much you made me doubt myself after a severe epileptic attack four years ago that left me with chronic nerve pain, is that when you snuck into my house and hid?
I tried to deal with you by myself for nearly two years or more, reassuring myself that I had ridden you from my house. Unknown to me, you still had a spare key. I changed the locks several times but you insisted on coming and going as you wanted. How did you do that?
The times that you were not in my house were the times I felt like I could breathe, the old Tijjani was back. When you stay away I am my go getting, smiling and positive self. You really do bring out the worst in me. Why can’t you just disappear forever?
Sometimes I think I have it wrong and maybe you just lay in hiding and don’t actually ever leave. Lurking in the shadows and then suddenly appearing much more menacing than before. When I was in great physical pain or had an epileptic attack you made your presence clear. Every room in my house had traces of you, I couldn’t avoid or run from you.
You were my secret, my uninvited and aggressive squatter. You taught me to keep you a secret, whispered how to perfect a fake smile and pretend everything was ok. Why do you like keeping so many secrets?
I pushed away the people I loved by letting you move more of your unwanted items into my house, leaving no space for me. Trapped in my own home. You did your own decoration and painted the walls with hostility. You cut off my electricity so we would always sit in the dark. You did your job and made it hard or impossible for anyone else to visit. Did you care that I didn’t want to be around you?
I don’t want you to enter my house again. The damage that you leave behind is never worth it. I only ever feel a twinge of sorrow thinking about the times you’ve ruined my house and frightened away other guests. It’s worse thinking what would happen if you returned and never left. Why must you be so destructive?
I am fed up of you and your antics so I decided to fortify my fortress, change my windows, change the doors and locks. I had to take that step and let my family in. I couldn’t rid myself of you entirely on my own. I know I have to keep my house active and full of love. A full occupancy so you will know you’re not invited. I’ll keep my house clean, roll up my sleeves and work away the stains you left behind. I’ll lean on my friends and family to keep you away. The more we work together the more you fade away. Will my loved ones know how much I appreciate them?
You are sneaky I know and may someday find another way in, but you have been evicted. Knock on my door and I’ll be ready for you. You will not define me, it’s not in my nature. It is my house, I have paid off the mortgage and your tenancy has been revoked.
Lawrence Tijjani AKA Just A Guy.