2023: A Year in Review – Navigating Challenges and Embracing Growth

2023: A Year in Review – Navigating Challenges and Embracing Growth

Taking stock of my progress in my work and career, academics, finance, health, relationships, and the things I've learned over the past year.

Staring at this blank Google doc felt like staring into a void. Words danced just out of reach, mocking my efforts to capture the whirlwind that was 2023. Time, it seems, is a sneaky thief, making the year sneak up in the blink of an eye. So many amazing things happened, so many incredible people crossed my path―both new faces and familiar ones who held my hand through thick and thin.

But where do I start? Do I dive headfirst into the heart-pounding highs, or whisper about the quiet victories that warmed my soul? Maybe it's all about the faces, the laughter, the love – the threads that wove this year into a tapestry I never want to forget. Before the ink spills and the story unfolds, let me take a breath, dig through the attic of my mind, and piece together the puzzle of what has been. This won't be just a list of dates and events, but a story―a messy, beautiful, sometimes bittersweet ode to living life to the fullest.


Starting with my career feels fitting. It's the area of my life where I most believe I hold the reins, or at least, that's my usual refrain. Last year, I crafted a roadmap of goals for my professional journey. Can I honestly say I followed it? The answer, like most paths worth taking, has its twists and turns.


I couldn’t do a lot career-wise this year because of school. For half the year, I remained at Crown Branding Agency as a Product Designer but left in May. Leaving in May wasn't a dramatic exit, but it felt like closing a chapter. Crown, my first real "job," was a gift box of discovery. An amazing team, thrilling client projects―each one a stepping stone to carving my professional identity. The rest of the year? Unemployed. But I wouldn't call it empty. It was a forced pause, a space to sift through the dust of ambition and define what I truly craved career-wise.


One of the audacious goals I set for myself was to intern at a reputable tech company during my SIWES I IT. In May, I started applying to every tech company I knew. I sent out so many connection requests on LinkedIn, to as many as 5+ employees for every company I was interested in. In total, I reached out to over 20 tech startups, every thing was documented on a notion page I had created, but the replies? Crickets, mostly. Some of the employees I reached out to got back to me, most didn’t. Rejections, often disguised as "not hiring interns at the moment" or "we have no internship program to begin with," peppered my inbox, even when sprinkled with compliments on my work. It was a grueling process, even with the occasional pat on the back.

Then, fate (or a random Twitter tweet) intervened. Mono was launching an internship program! I was really excited when I saw this. I just dropped a comment and forgot about it totally.

The application process at Mono was a whirlwind. The first application link crashed under the weight of eager applicants, but I was determined not to miss this opportunity. I quickly jumped on the second link, fingers flying across the keyboard. The interviews were surprisingly engaging, even though I initially doubted my chances—there were so many talented candidates. But after a night of intense preparation, I faced the final round with newfound confidence. When the acceptance email finally landed in my inbox, it felt like the stars had aligned.

My heart pounded as I stared at the email subject line: "Congratulations! You've been accepted to the Mono Internship Program!" It was the culmination of months of relentless hustle, countless rejections, and one serendipitous tweet. Getting an internship at a top tech company had been my audacious goal, and against all odds, I'd actually done it.

My internship at Mono was really incredible. Mono's culture wasn't just about productivity—it was about fostering a sense of belonging and empowerment. I found myself surrounded by brilliant minds who were eager to share their knowledge and challenge each other to grow. I worked on really impactful projects with the other amazing interns and senior engineers. I learnt a lot from my time there, and I’d definitely do it again if I could.


For the past 2 years, I’ve had my mind set one goal—to land an internship offer at an international company. The time for this finally came, but for some reason, I wasn’t ready. I had been occupied all through the year with school and my internship, that I wasn’t able to prepare for something that mattered a lot to me.

But this didn’t stop me. In October, I had started applying to internships. I applied to over 30 different roles in the span of 2 months. The entire process was even more stressful compared to that of my SIWES. Rejections piled up―some swift and impersonal, others lingering after online assessments and Hirevues.

Lies I told myself wouldn't stick. After ten "no's," the sting deepened. Top performances in OA stages? Nope, still rejections. It stung, oh it stung.

There were some roles where I performed really well in the OAs but I still got rejected, and it hurt bad. There are only 4 companies that haven’t rejected me yet, but I haven’t heard back from any of them in so long. Each morning, the inbox refresh ritual yields the same result: an empty void.

Forgetting is difficult, but I'm trying. Hope, faint yet stubborn, clings on. Because here's the truth: I tried. I poured my heart into it, and honestly, I think that matters.


“Sometimes you have to create the thing you want to be part of” ― Howard Schultz

That quote echoes deep within me, especially when it comes to volunteering in tech communities at Covenant University. It's not just about checking boxes; it's about building the future I dream of, a future where my university sparks innovation across Nigeria.

Currently, I actively co-lead three vibrant communities: Google Developer Student Clubs (GDSC), Microsoft Learn Student Ambassadors (MLSA), and Hebron Startup Lab (HSL) Creators Community. This year, we didn't just exist, we thrived! My fellow Student Ambassadors and I organized over 5 technical workshops, igniting the minds of 300+ fellow students. We even launched MLSA CU's first-ever Welcome Event, and let me tell you, it was electric! Witnessing the community blossom from 60 members to a 400-strong force fills me with immense pride. And guess what? I had the privilege of guiding two students into the MLSA program – their success fuels my own fire.

Speaking of fire, GDSC CU is on fire! In May, I became the Co-lead, and throughtout the year, we hosted over 5 events/workshops and even an ideathon! The energy there is contagious, and the people I work with? They're the secret sauce!

But there's more brewing. At HSL, the creators community has sharpened its vision, and we're cooking up some game-changing projects. Watch this space – you won't be disappointed!

Why do I pour my heart into these communities? Because I believe, with unwavering conviction, that Covenant University can be Nigeria's innovation hub. Imagine a place where every student is equipped with the digital skills to tackle our local challenges, head-on and hand-in-hand. That's the future I'm building, brick by brick, workshop by workshop, community by community.


Physical Health

My physical health in 2023, well, let's be honest, it wasn't a victory lap. I fell sick quite a lot of times. I often had allergies that were tiggered by dust or cold. If any thing improved, I’d say its how often I abstained from carbonated drinks. I think I’ve gotten used to staying long periods without having to consume some form of soda. But once I slip back, it’s a disaster, I might end up taking enough soda to cover up all the times I abstained. My 2024 goal? Gym, here I come! It’s crazy how I’ve never been to the gym to workout before.

Mental Health

Omoo x100

Oh boy, my mental health this year was a wild ride. At the start of the year, I felt like I was looking through a kaleidoscope, everything seemed so fragmented and distorted. I was really struggling with finding clarity in my life. It really took time for me to find structure around me. School was one thing that took such a toll on my emotions. I was constantly judging my sanity for choosing to study this course.

But to say it was all doom and gloom would be a flat-out lie. Because in 2023, I laughed. A lot. I spent time with friends who always made me laugh. I made so many happy and hilarious memories with my friends and roommates, and anytime I look back at the time I spent with them, I can’t just help but smile.

So, yes, my mental health still has chapters left to write. But I'm no longer stuck in the first draft. I'm taking intentional steps, embracing wellness strategies like a warm blanket on a chilly day. And who knows, maybe by next year, the kaleidoscope will finally focus.



My finances were significantly better than last year. I earned more money this year than I ever have, and I’m proud of that. Sure, I aimed for Everest and landed on Kilimanjaro, but hey, closer to the clouds, right? Sacrificing some hustle for school may have slowed down the climb, but I'm definitely getting there. Next year, I'm going to make a lot more money, and I think I have a plan.


Now, investments? I think I did quite okay. Earning more money meant that I had more to invest. Currently I have a plan with Money Africa, so I get to speak with a financial advisor every once in a while. I’m really proud of how far I’ve come with my investments, I crossed triple digits in dollars this year. 🎉


This one was really tough for me because it was so hard. I honestly try to budget, but there are times you just find yourself overspending. I realized later on that this mostly a problem of how disciplined I was, and not how much money I had. I’ve been putting in more effort into keeping a budget, but mine is more flexible than strict. Flexible in the sense that I always have a strict amount of money that goes into savings and investment, and any other “important” thing at the time, and then the rest of money goes into surviving.😭


When it comes to savings, I want to say that I did well. But omo, the last couple months of the year, the only thing I was saving was myself. 💀



I spend most of the year in school, honestly this has been the case since secondary school because I attended a boarding school. But I did put in effort to communicate with my parents and siblings as often as I could. I am really fortunate to have my family members who tirelessly support me in everything that I do. Honestly there were a lot of times this year that I needed encouragement and my parents were always there for me. My brother is also one of the biggest reasons I have achieved quite a number of things career-wise, I’m really grateful for all the resources and guidance he’s provided me with. I’m also grateful that I spent this Christmas with every single member of my family in the same house in good health. I hope to be able to give back and contribute to my family’s well being next year.


I spent so much of my time alone this past year. Why? Because it’s how I’ve always lived my life. I’m not saying I don’t have friends or that I don’t like spending time with them, but I really enjoy my personal space. Although this was okay for the most time, other times, the silence stung. This year, the loneliness crept in a lot, a reminder that solitude, while cherished, shouldn't morph into isolation. I think things got better generally. I’m really grateful for the roommates I had in my 300 level Omega semester, my friends, including those from HSL, GDSC, and MLSA. I never get to tell them, but I really appreciate the time we spent, the memories we made and the jokes we laughed to. One of the things I’d love to do this year is to make more meaningful friendships and be a better friend to those already here.


"Omo guy, there's this babe I started talking to..." Yeah, that phrase got a fair workout this year. I think I’ve painfully gained more clarity as to the kind of things I’d want from a romantic relationship. I’d say it was all worth it, those pointless talking stages that never really went anywhere kind of mattered, and along the way I kind of realised why things haven’t been working out. This year, I’m focusing more on quality than quantity. I hope to meet attractive women with substance, character, and personality, and until that time comes, I’m learning how to be a better man.


From having my worst ever GPA at the start of the year to having my best ever GPA the next semester, I really saw things this year. My relationship with my academics is really weird. There are times when I’ve just felt like completely giving up on school, and times where I kind of enjoy the concepts I’m learning (rarely). Overall I’ve just realised that if I really want to do well academically, I’d have to sacrifice a lot of things. And the question I keep asking myself is—Is the juice worth the squeeze?

I’ve decided that I’m going to give my possible best to graduate with a first class CGPA, and if ever my best isn’t enough, then I know that I tried.



I didn’t learn that many new technologies this year. My major goal was to get better at the ones I already use to the point that I could build anything I wanted. And build I did! I built a couple of projects this year, the most important was my portfolio website. I had lots of fun working on it, it was my first time using Framer Motion and GSAP. I also learnt Typescript this year, and I haven’t looked back ever since. I got better at React and Tailwind CSS too. But the real game-changer was my internship at Mono. Software engineering and product building went from blurry concepts to tangible experiences. I wasn’t able to get into backend development as I initially planned to, but trust me, it's on my radar for 2024. And oh, I started learning Three.js and Blender at the end of 2023, and it’s been exciting.

Personal life

Personal growth? This year, I made it my middle name (well, not officially, but you get the picture). I took some really important steps to ensure that all major aspects of my life were being developed and I was becoming more of a well-rounded person. Books, well, they deserve their own chapter (a chapter I wish I'd been reading more diligently in 2023!).

This year, I discovered the power of simply showing up. It wasn't about pushing through exhaustion or ignoring all other needs, but about being present and making a genuine effort, even when I felt uninspired. Sometimes, showing up meant forcing myself to focus in class, even when the lecturer's monotone lulled me to sleep. Other times, it meant opening a book, even if I struggled to focus. But each time, showing up, in whatever form it took, chipped away at resistance and paved the way for unexpected progress. It taught me that consistency, not intensity, is the key to growth. Showing up isn't always easy, but it's become my anchor, reminding me that progress often lies just beyond the edge of my comfort zone. As James Clear said―if you can get 1 percent better each day for one year, you’ll end up thirty-seven times better by the time you’re done.

How to Master the Art of Continuous Improvement

A friend of mine once told me something that hasn’t left me ever since―Every action you take or don’t take has a consequence, whether good or bad, that you must accept. I realise that for every decision I make, I have to think to myself―would I be able to live with the consequence that comes from this? If I don’t read today, would I be fine with the queue of C’s in my result? Would indulging in this second bottle of La Casera be worth the self-reproach? The answer wasn't always easy, but the awareness sharpened my focus, guiding me towards the choices that aligned with my long-term goals.

What's next?

Don't you ever stop running, and don't you ever look behind you. All that exists is what's ahead. ― Secretariat

No resolutions, just daily revolutions. I'm ditching goals for systems, chasing sunsets instead of summits. This year's anthem is whispered words, not blaring pronouncements. I'll wander maps and minds, write stories on screens and faces, learn from books and laughter. Kindness will be my ripple, love my wildfire. Forget conquering, I'm savoring. Forget existing, I'm living. Welcome, 2024, let's dance.

I poured my heart into this, and I hope you had a good read! If you did, a like and comment would make my day! Thank you and have an amazing year. ❤️