You’ll never live if you’re too scared to die
Never Say Goodbye - Hardwell
Today is Tuesday, the 3rd of June, 2014 and the last day of my work study, part of the Nigerian tertiary system’s initiative to engage students in practical application of their chosen disciplines through graded industrial training exercises. It truly been an engaging experience and one filled with a lot of learning, lessons, knowledge and fun. I am Ezim Osai, about to start my senior year studying Physics at the University of Ibadan and I interned at Fertile Tech Business Systems, Yaba, Lagos.
The Last 7 Days.
The final week of my Work study (Industrial Training month) were the most tedious and engaging but the most fulfilling.
It began with me getting an email from the boss to prepare all the documentation of everything I had learned thus far as he was going to be checking them during the weekend. With that in mind, I updated my code-bits* on Codecademy and began working on my Google Site. Also, I began putting my code in order on my blog and using proper hypertext. Everything I have just said is really just tech mumbo jumbo for ‘I put my stuff together’.
That week, I also got to go on an assignment for the editor of 9jeducation.org’s blog, (a subsidiary initiative of Fertile Tech) where I visited book spaces in Lagos and attempted to review them. Even with my limited knowledge of people in general, I have noticed that people respond better when two people approach them rather than one, and especially if one of those two is a woman/girl. With that in mind, I contacted a friend I met at the Musers’ book meet which held on the 24th and he put me in touch with a friend of his to show me around Unilag and act as my guide on the book space survey. Getting to the book spaces was the least of my worries, I later found out; getting the store managers to let us review them proved to be the task. Anyway, I was grateful for my time in politics during the assignment as I assuaged and wiled my way (with the help of the female friend of course) into letting the owners let us review their spaces. Over two days, I went to all the places on my list and was wowed at the diversity of Lagos and beauty of some places. In particular, I think I fell in love with the ocean; I stay in Delta and the Niger River is practically just N60 away from me, but seeing the Atlantic was something I was totally unprepared for. I think sailing the Atlantic Ocean has made it into my bucket list.
Google Sites* proved not to be so much of a challenge as I have a lot of experience with WordPress and other Content Management Systems and also, I paid a lot of attention to what the interns last year were learning. Setting up and designing my site: Physics Nigeria, took up around one day and populating the site (adding content) was a bit of a task as the regular keyboards don’t have the notations we physicists love to use. I think the biggest challenge in my Google Sites creation was the header. Usually, I’m used to the site cropping the header when it is too large, but GS actually fits the page to the header. Actually, it does not fit; it skews the page to the header. Your text retains the same size and formatting but then there is a third of the page that is just filled with unusable white space. Anyway, I learnt that the hard way and worked to fit my site with the header. It turns out that you can actually give the site a specific width (in my case I used the width of my header) and so, there would be no skewering or white spaces. Using Google Sites was fun and I am already thinking of proposing the idea to one of my clients in school.
The next day saw me updating a client website for my boss. While it was nothing difficult, it was fun to note that without my knowledge of Google Sites and the HTML I picked up on Codecademy I might have been stuck on it for a while. After the update, I put my files in order, ready for my last assignment as an IT student.
The last assignment or the boss (/boze/ as in the bad guy) was the most trying of all my time as an IT student.
While it was in my field of expertise, the stakes were much higher and the deadline much closer. The assignment was to design two flyers for a client within 24hours. Now, designing flyers (handbills) is child’s play for me on a normal day, but when I saw what the other graphic designer had already done, I knew this was not any shere shere design. After designing for close to four hours, I sent an email to my boss for approval and he sent me some corrections to be made. I was glad and so I did it very quickly and sent it back to him; a few minutes later I received a call from my boss and he explained to me that my design just would not do and he told me ‘Think of yourself as a market woman, would this appeal to you? If you were the client, would you accept this?’ (That was paraphrased anyway and euphemistically typed). While I felt bad and considered just giving up, I remembered some offhand quote (I really think quotes are corny and I find it hard to believe I can be inspired by one) which was something like this: There are two kinds of people in this life; those who break under pressure and those who toughen up and become diamonds. I have no idea who said that and really I might have even subconsciously come up with it, but I decided I would not be in the category of people who broke. I went to sleep for about two hours, I talked to my friends, tweeted, ate and generally didn’t think about the work; it’s a psychological/subconscious way of thinking actually. While your waking mind is not thinking of it, your subconscious is actually hashing it out and putting things together. Eventually, I was sitting in front of my computer, designing; by the time I finished and sent it to my boss a few hours later, all I got was an email with the subject: OUTSTANDING. I felt happy, fulfilled and altogether very good and for the first time, I really felt like a part of the company.
Right now, I’m in a park in the Faculty of Arts of my school, typing this article to send to my editor and I am very glad I came in contact with Ope Ewumi who put me in contact with 9JEducation and in turn Fertile Tech Business Systems; my Work study was truly something worth remembering.
08. June. 2014