By: Yussuf Anka
While it is true that nothing is new under the sun, yet many things exist that are beautiful under the sun and are deserving of recognition and celebration. One of such is the life of Hauwa Umar Usman, the northern lady who graduated with a first class degree in Aeronautic Engineering from the University of Brighton, UK.
What makes her story worthwhile is not the fact that she is a northerner, a region of Nigeria that grapples with high level of illiteracy; or the fact that she bagged a first class from a foreign university, but the circumstances that characterized how her great feats were achieved, and the records she had made with them in the annals of history.
Shortly after Hauwa got admitted to study her dream course in the United Kingdom, she discovered something unusual in herself, her difficulty with reading. With the support of friends and the working system, she was advised to do a test on dyslexia, which revealed her real problem. Dyslexia is a medical condition in the brain that makes it difficult for a person to read, write and spell. This was a heavy weight on her which could have cost her the accolades she now enjoys.
But according to Hauwa, her parents’ words and sacrifices were the stronghold which gave her reasons to overcome the disability and turn it to a special ability. With determination, she joined the league of great personalities in history like Da Vinci, Albert Einstein, Pablo Picasso, who did not see dyslexia as a mountain too big for them to climb, but a stepping stone to success. With commitment to the pursuit of excellence, she graciously embraced history and decided to leave indelible marks in the sands of time by becoming the first female Nigerian to bag a first class in the history of University of Brighton; despite learning challenges.
Speaking on her achievement, Hauwa stressed that her success in Aeronautical Engineering was hinged on hard work, stepping out of comfort zone, understanding strategic ways to manage her learning difficulties, having a positive mind-set and most importantly, the encouragement from family and friends during her most challenging times. And all those things did make a difference.
Many are out there who are consumed with lots of challenges, like an unstoppable force pushing them behind reaching their goals. Here is a piece of advice: Remember there is nothing new under the sun; so you are not the first encountering such problem(s); but remember much more Robert Frost’s poem, “The Road Not Taken”, and journey on the road less travelled by. Surely, that will make all the difference between the many that have allowed their challenges to weigh them down and those that have turned it to stepping stones of building their success stories like Hauwa Usman did.