By Ikenna Okonkwo
My story is still unfolding but I think I’ve gone through enough in the geosiences (6 years already) to be able give a good but not complete narrative.
I’ve always loved the earth. From childhood I loved going out, I spent hours poring over my cousin’s atlas, I loved those fascinating documentaries on volcanoes and earthquakes and dinosaurs. My earliest ambition though was to be an astronaut, to be the first Nigerian to go to space (there’s still a chance for that). Then came secondary school and the prospect of what you would like to study guiding the choices of subjects you took (Physics, Chemistry and Biology against Government, Commerce and English literature). Unfortunately, many here in Nigeria choose careers that earn a good salary or worse have their careers chosen for them by their parents. My parents were not like that though and I had a free (but guided hand) in choosing a career. Even at that time geology did not come up. There were inklings though; my favorite subject was Geography even though I liked Technical Drawing and Physics.
In my first university matriculation exam (JAMB) I put Architecture as my first choice of course of study! Fortunately, I failed that exam and had to wait one year at home and it was in that time that I spoke with my Dad who knew, knowing how good I was in geography asked me to consider a career in geology. I did not take too much time to think about. Here was an opportunity to study what I love. It was this love that, I would say sustained me through four tough years at the university. It was so easy to study as the books I had to read were those I read as a hobby (like reading a novel.
It was in the university that I saw clearly that I would remain in the academia after graduation. It wasn’t an easy option. Most of my classmates were looking forward to big jobs at the multinational oil companies and being an academic here is not at all easy: from funding to the absence of basic facilities. But that love for the field, for geology pure and simple won me over. As it stands now I’ve applied to be retained at my university and have decided not to apply to the oil companies whose adverts I see in the newspaper and hopefully a very interesting story is about to begin.