One of the most difficult things to do is leading people- Kolajo Blessing
“Breaking the glass ceiling” is one the best things that came out of Hillary Clinton contesting for Presidency. A tag line she often used during her campaign, to encourage women to take charge and squash their limiting beliefs. Kolajo Blessing is one of such women! She has not just broken through the glass ceiling, but also encouraging other women in her generation to do so.She is the first Female President of OOU Literary and Debating Society and also the first Female President of VeeCee Success Stories, a position she holds in a bid to share stories of young women and men alike, as an undergraduate of Olabisi Onabanjo University. Blessing is also an excellent writer and a great spoken word artist. She recently wowed people with her craft on Instagram when she did spontaneous spoken word session about Slay queens. The double President shares her inspiring journey with me in this interview.
My childhood days prepared me a lot for what I do today, and the things I will still do in the future. I remember growing up was not so fun for me because I took interest in what my age groups do not enjoy doing which was reading literary texts, so I spend more of my time with imaginary characters in novels. My daddy would trek down to the bookshop to buy storybooks for me every weekend, which I would finish reading before he comes back from work, and that was at the age of seven. I enjoyed watching the news, too, which has served as a platform for my exposure because I grew up in a rural environment.
Being the President of OOU Literary and Debating Society and first female president of Veecee Success Stories
If I’m asked I will say one of the most difficult things to do is to lead people. It was difficult waking up to the reality that there are a set of people looking up to me in many aspects, having to think that any bad decision I make affects many others. Having to do all this, along with achieving my academic vision and personal development, gave me a tough time. However, the experience I had has shaped and moulded me into a better person; leadership isn’t easy but it’s worth it.
Being a student and managing my role
Time management and setting priorities. I denied myself of a whole lot of things; I scrapped my fun time totally and fused it into my creativity. I do not attend impromptu programmes, neither do I go for unnecessary visits. My schedule was church, lectures, library, official meetings and any events where I have been called to perform. It wasn’t easy for me because I am a youth and I have needs, but some prices are worth paying to achieve the goal of self-development, which I did because I had the best results of my life during that period.
Using my position to squash stereotype of women holding powerful positions in the society
I set an example by leading the associations even better than my predecessors who were males, because people were wondering that this small girl cannot do it. Also, I remember that each time an assignment was meant to be given or an opportunity arises in any of the associations that I led, what I did was to conduct a capacity test to pick someone suitable for the job. In most cases, the female members perform better and I do not hesitate to pick them since they have proven themselves worthy regardless of the gender reservations that has been for that position, because I believe women are tools for greatness and not humans that should always occupy the backseat. Also, I write to influence the mind of the society positively about the issue of gender discrimination.
Being a Poet
What inspired my poetry is just the need to express myself in a way that is unique and beautiful. However, when I noticed that I am making positive impact, I started doing more and that is what has brought me to limelight and accord this kind of honour to me. Be on the lookout for many things, by June of this year I will be launching three poetry collections for junior secondary school one, two and three titled “Raindrops” and many other great things shall follow.
Three women who inspire you to be better and why
The number one woman that inspired me a lot when I was a child was Professor Dora Akunyili, she was an intelligent woman, I do watch her speak on NTA when I was young. Also, the words of Michelle Obama and Chimamanda Adichie are energy giving shots to my soul.
Challenges of being an undergraduate joggling so many things at once
Managing people especially when they are older than me was the first challenge, getting people of like minds to work with was my second challenge. Lastly, having to cope with challenges of being a teenager/youth, peer pressures and the likes was so difficult.
Being a Woman of Rubies
I am a Woman of Rubies because I am productive, and I have something valuable to offer my generation and beyond. I am beautiful and strong regardless of the circumstances around me.
To young women who are afraid to live their dreams
Dear young girls, the best motivation you can ever have in life is having a clear vision that will always serve as a drive to your success. Never be afraid to accept challenges, never be afraid to bring those dreams into reality, for only the brave can rule this world and do not neglect the place of God, for his grace will always be sufficient for you.
Values OOU has instilled in me as an undergraduate
The first value is perseverance, the harsh condition of the school and its administrative system has taught me to persevere. I can say OOU, through the people that I have met, gave me the best gift I have now which is poetry.