In life, adversity can often steer us towards unexpected opportunities that ultimately reveal themselves as blessings in disguise. My personal experience serves as a testament to this undeniable reality. Amidst the prolonged Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) strike coupled with the COVID-19 lockdown, which left numerous students stranded with ample free time, I seized the chance to pursue a newfound passion and establish myself as a skilled barber.


The Commencement:

Having gained admission into the most peaceful and serene university in Nigeria, Usmanu Danfodiyo University Sokoto in early 2020, I initially harbored an interest in barbering and had already dabbled in cutting hairs for friends and family as a leisure activity.

However, it was amidst the protracted aforementioned free time, spanning nearly nine months, that I recognized the potential to transform this interest into a viable profession. So far academic activities indefinitely halted and no immediate prospect of returning to school, I made a bold decision to dedicate my time and effort to refining my barbering skills.


The Progress:

I enrolled in a local barber shop to undergo informal training and acquire a certificate. Although the initial phases were arduous, and I faced challenges due to my limited experience in the field, my perseverance and eagerness to learn enabled me to surmount the obstacles.


Moreover, I eagerly absorbed knowledge like a sponge, diligently assimilating every piece of advice and technique imparted by seasoned barbers at the establishment. With each haircut I administered, my confidence burgeoned, and my love for the craft intensified.


The Pivotal Moment:

A regular client at the barber shop where I was apprenticing once commended my work and suggested that I contemplate launching my own barbershop, unaware of my student status. His words struck a chord within me, sparking a vision of a future where I could be my own employer and showcase my talents to a broader clientele. Encouraged by the positive reception I garnered from clients, I took a leap of faith and endeavored to procure my personal barbering tools during the undesirable holiday.


The Fortunate Outcome:

What initially appeared as a setback – the disruption of my education due to the ASUU strike, ultimately unfolded as a stroke of luck. By embracing the unforeseen chance to pursue a career in barbering, I unearthed a newfound passion and aptitude that I may not have otherwise explored.


“Is there anything you need?” my mother would frequently inquire. For nearly an entire semester, I refrained from seeking assistance from my parents, as I was able to accomplish most tasks independently due to my proficiency. Today, as a skilled barber, I am grateful for the path that brought me to my current position and the priceless wisdom I have gained throughout the journey.


In retrospect, an adage that says, “Every disappointment is a blessing” resonates deeply in my life. The ASUU strike in conjunction with the COVID-19 lockdown, which initially seemed like a hindrance, propelled me towards a rewarding career that brings me immense joy and fulfillment.


Such a blessing in disguise, it would be unfair to be ungrateful for the journey that led me to the top. I am overwhelmed with the invaluable lessons acquired along the line.


About The Writer: Abdulazeez Toheeb Olawale is a final year student of Sociology, Faculty of Social Sciences at Usmanu Danfodiyo University Sokoto (UDUS).

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