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What would my life be like if I never went to school? When I was a toddler, my days were full of playing outside, family events, reading books and watching TV.

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It’s safe to say I was an earlier model of the Willow and Jaden smith types – free thinking, exploration and imagination ruled my world. And with my friends, we would come up with rules ourselves as to how to make the imagination games fair and in a way that everyone could participate.

It worked most days. On other days, I would assume the storyteller position, talking about the crazy worlds in my head.

Fast forward to age 18 and here I am in university. I was going to be an architect. I was going to use that free thinking mind to imagine buildings in the shape of Xboxes and canoes; or whatever my mind told me was different from the norm and would inspire thinking out of the box.

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To be exact, I was in the highly lauded Obafemi Awolowo University. The school was lauded for two reasons really – one is that it’s a very book savvy school with an amazing library I obviously didn’t take advantage of; and two is for the regular strike action lecturers would take because they weren’t being paid enough to maintain standards and facilities. I must say though, but for a handful of lecturers, literally a handful, lectures were inspiring. Allow me to expatiate – it was a man (sometimes a woman) dictating from a tattered 1975 notebook to a class of a hundred people or more in a thirty something person sized lecture hall.

Most days, I would tell myself that this was okay. It was okay because this professor probably went to school under the same conditions and so didn’t know better. On other days, I would just stay on my mattress on the floor in my 3×3 hostel, watching movies, escaping to social media and listening to music loud! – really loud! And well, I gave into a few vices to fill in the boredom gaps, most times unsuccessfully of course.

Today it’s May Day – worker’s day and I’ve realised that if I didn’t go to school at all and I was left in my beautiful garden, playing with my friends, making art and telling stories and having massive family events… I’d have found the answers I was looking for, anyway. I didn’t need Obafemi Awolowo university lecturers putting me in harsh conditions and stifling my creativity. I didn’t need to be told who I was to find out who I was. Each day would just have been a beautiful walk in the garden with my friends, exploring, sharing our findings and loads of storytelling.

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So to answer my opening question, on this day of celebration of hard work, diligence and heavily structured tasks, I think I would be just fine if I never went to school. I’d have spent my life figuring life out MY WAY and every day would be a May Day parade. I would be bold, courageous, choose love, honesty and transparency. If I were to speak to 22-year-old me, just getting out of university, I would say the exact same thing to him. Life is full of limitless possibilities. Go out and be YOU, all of you and be good for goodness’ sake.

Written by John Noble

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