I really do appreciate your invitation to this induction ceremony. It is an opportunity to visit my alma mater once again.
May I congratulate the graduands and their teachers; you have all done well. As graduands, you now have the freedom to embark on a new phase of life for which you’ve been adequately prepared.
I know you would like me to share some thoughts and experiences with you on this occasion. Let me state that my experience is unique. No two persons are identical and so their experiences will not be expected to be the same.
Our destinies are different; therefore, our routes in life are also different.
My Uncle’s counsel
My uncle had groomed me for Medicine but I preferred Pharmacy. I quote here an extract from his letter to me dated March 3, 1961, before I entered this university in September of the same year.
‘… What I would have advised is Medicine, as first choice. But if you definitely dislike it … Many young people, in choosing a profession, look for that which brings most wealth or the highest social status, and they usually imagine that Medicine gives both. I hope you are aware that that is not my aim in recommending Medicine. As a matter of fact, I would strongly advise you not to place material wealth and social pomp in the forefront. Rather, you should pray to God to find you a profession in which you will be a good Christian and, if possible, one that you will enjoy, not for the money or position it brings but simply for its own sake…’ (Emphasis mine).
After 52 years of my uncle’s counsel and 49 years of my practice as a pharmacist, I wish to pass on my own advice to you before you engage in the practice of different aspects of the Pharmacy profession.
- Do what you love to do. Do not look for where you will make more money. Look for what you will enjoy doing. Money will definitely follow you.
- Work in the area of your strength or competence. This is where your talents, gifts, skills and abilities can be fully utilised.
- Aim at being and doing your best in all you do. Cultivate the spirit of excellence. Aim at winning a prize, even if it is imaginary. It could be real. Realise that you are working for God and He demands high standards of performance.
- Integrity/Honesty: This can move you faster in life than your connections, influence and intelligence. Let your yes be yes and your no be no. Shun cheating and stealing. They will destroy your character and reputation.
- Focus and Concentrate: Nobody is created to be an expert in everything. There are other people to handle other things. Therefore, focus and concentrate on what you love to do as your major. Any other thing will be ancillary.
- Diligence: Demonstrate diligence in your work. Work hard but also know your limits. Slack hand leads to poverty.
- Perseverance: Many ventures fail because the owners lack the spirit of perseverance. Don’t give up at the slightest opposition or difficulty. Persevere.
- Your initial work may not be what God wants you to be doing. If so, you will not truly prosper. You may have to change jobs (when necessary) until you are in the area of your calling. This is where you have fulfilment, peace of mind and success. Ask God for direction.
- Maintain discipline in eating and drinking. I believe that cigarettes and strong alcohol are not for you. While still young, cut down your consumption of salt, sugar and products made with white flour, junk food and fats. These have been implicated in degenerative diseases like hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, arthritis, diabetes, cancer etc which manifest towards old age. Consume fresh fruits and vegetables which can keep away various diseases including cancer.
- Depend on God: Don’t make the mistake of leaving God out of your life or business. Make God your priority always. All your intelligence, money and accomplishments amount to nothing without God’s blessing.