By Usman Muhammad Salihu
In the world of education, some paths are straightforward, while others are winding, challenging, and filled with unexpected detours. My journey towards obtaining an HND in Mass Communication at Abubakar Tatari Ali Polytechnic (ATAP) in Bauchi State, Nigeria, certainly falls into the latter category. It’s a tale of determination, sacrifice, and the unwavering support of family, mentors, and friends.
The story began in early 2020 when a conversation with my model, Abu-Ubaidah Ibrahim Kuna, led to my contemplating furthering my education. During my diploma days, I had already embarked on a professional course, Mass Communication, but some circumstances are forcing me to delve into sociology. Abu-Ubaidah’s advice struck a chord in my heart, prompting me to reconsider my choices.
Yet, life had its complexities. I was now a family man, responsible for providing for my loved ones. Pursuing my passion for Mass Communication while residing in Gombe seemed daunting. The course was unavailable nearby, and sponsorship was scarce. This predicament led me to opt for sociology. As they say, “In the absence of desirability, you make the availability your desirability.”
As fate would have it, the Direct Entry application period had elapsed, and waiting for another year was not a viable option for me. I thought of returning to Abubakar Tatari Ali Polytechnic in Bauchi, but the distance from Gombe presented its challenges. Who would sponsor my education and care for my family during this journey?
With courage and determination, I applied for HND in Mass Communication at ATAP and, to my delight, secured admission. In November 2021, I embarked on a motorcycle journey from Gombe to Bauchi State, joining my fellow students as lectures had already commenced.
As if the journey had become more challenging, I found myself in Stream B, paying registration fees every semester without a sponsor. However, divine intervention came through my elder brother, Jubril Salihu (Baban Hajiya), who provided much-needed support.
Balancing lectures and providing for my family back in Gombe was no easy feat. I travelled back almost every week, seizing every opportunity for sustenance that came my way. Skipping breakfast and even lunch became the norm, but our determination to succeed remained unshaken.
The challenges were numerous, from putting food on the table to completing assignments with limited resources. Still, we pressed on, making our presence known inside and outside the classroom as we joined the school unionism.
Our lecturers, especially Mal. Abdul Ahmad Burra singlehandedly led us to the membership of the pen profession, Mal. Nazir Abba Pali and Mal Abdul Rasheed Bala Tulu were pivotal in our journey. They nurtured us into aspiring journalists, and our articles began appearing in renowned Nigerian dailies and online media outlets. Friends like Muzaffar, Adams, Raheenert, Bello class rep, Jalam, Alpha, Aliyu, Yahya, Ibrahim, Wale, Usaina, Saeedah, Celestina, A’isha, Rinret, Anas, Baba Fema, Baba Damina and many others became our pillars of strength.
I would be remiss not to express my gratitude to my family, especially my parents, brothers and sisters, the heads of department at ATAP, my mentors, and Dr. Saidu Wanzami, who supported us during our educational journey.
In the face of adversity, we persisted. With the unwavering support of our loved ones and mentors, we overcame the obstacles on our path. Our journey to an HND in Mass Communication is a testament to the power of perseverance, determination, and the support of a strong community. As we graduate, we look back with gratitude and forward with hope, ready to embrace the challenges that lie ahead, knowing that with faith and resilience, nothing is impossible.
Usman Muhammad Salihu writes from Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria, and can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org.