This week on Lagos Living
In other personal news, I've been sick for about a week and a half. It hasn't been the overwhelming type of sickness where I can't do anything, but it has been hitting me in bouts. Long story short, I have malaria but I don't. There's this weird explanation that because I'm taking anti-malarial medication every week, the malaria parasite can't stay in my blood. However, because I've been exposed to mosquitoes and the novelty of my church's camp environment, I'm showing symptoms of malaria and possibly a lingering infection. But I won't fully break down because my antimalarial is working and so is the antibiotic I started earlier. I don't even know how I feel about that. Is that what I paid all those plenty dollars for in form of travel medication? To be semi-sick? Lol. I'm seeing food and I have no interest in eating it? But I need to shed my newly added 2kg anyway so maybe it's a win.
I have no idea why I spent so much energy worrying about whether or not people would accept my psychology degree here in Nigeria. Well, not that I have no idea, but the worrying was totally uncalled for.
You see, I had a weird time being a Nigerian psychology student in Canada. The way Nigerian kids in diaspora are set up, you're either studying engineering, medicine, law, maybe accounting and business, or you're just there pretty much wasting your parents' money. Most people, on hearing what I was studying, would say things like, "Oh that's an interesting choice. So you're studying psychology and what else?" or "I wanted to minor in that too". Sometimes it was a genuine interest in the (shall I say) unusual, but other times they would have that look, pause, or tone that said, "but are you really spending a whole four years doing that / are your parents aware that you're here wasting their money?" And once in a while they would speak these things out loud.
So naturally, on this trip, I felt like when the question of what I studied came up from family and friends who wanted to know what I'd spent the last five years doing, I'd have to have my 'defend your choice of degree' strategy in place . I had my response practiced. It was the truth, but with the unnecessary extra info about what I intended to continue on to do. In my mind, my plans for an MBA sounded fancy enough to account for my insufficient undergrad choice.
But in the place of any hesitation (subtle or profound), I have had very warm receptions to me saying I studied psychology. Even before I'm able to add my MBA bit, their faces light up with genuine interest. It's like "really, mental health interests you?" Some who want to know more about it, ask what type of psychology I did (I think most people expect health psychology, school or organizational psychology... or some specialization). But they're just as satisfied with my explanation that I did a concentration in psychology where I got to choose courses from different aspects of psychology. It's a whole new world out here and I love it! I know we like to say people's opinions don't matter, but to an extent they do. Validation isn't everything, but it is something. And an important thing at that.
It just so happens that the people I've met so far have been exposed to psychology in some way. One person is in medical school at the moment, but is thinking of ditching medicine upon graduation and doing a masters in mental health. One other person really wanted me to intern in the new school re where he is an administrator. They can't yet afford a school psychologist, but he thinks one of the students is being abused at home and that it's causing the child to be extremely absent-minded in class (his explanation was logical but is too long to blog about). Another person is a mental health nurse and he's a guy! And it's uber cool because for every ten girls I saw in my psychology classes I'd say that I saw maybe one boy. I've never met a Nigerian or African or African American or black in some way male who was into psychology. And that's something because my school had over 41 thousand students. Plus I worked for my school in a capacity that allowed me attend conferences with other Canadian schools and I still did not meet one. So this guy and I might have spent some time excitedly chatting about being Freud's descendants.
I could go on, but let's just say it was certainly a waste of time worrying about whether people would think my psychology was valid. People were mostly happy to see me again and learn bout whatever I've been up to in my years abroad.
I'm spending most of my time resting (as though I needed any more excuses to stay in bed...but hey doctor's orders). Shout out to the friends that noticed my absence and checked to see if I was alive! Thank you.
Until next time!