How do you build self-confidence as a Nigerian student?
Before we thrash this question, let’s discuss the reality of self-confidence for Nigerian students.
The reality about self-confidence for Nigerian students
It’s not a secret that self-confidence for Nigerian students is a severely scarce quality. This isn’t surprising or particularly shocking considering the enormous responsibilities and tasks that students are required to handle.
They are expected to attend classes, take notes, prepare for exams, deal with family issues and peer pressure. Not forgetting that they have to do all these while also cultivating leadership and personal development skills. Phew! That’s a lot to juggle
Being a Nigerian student presupposes that you’ll be facing a smidgen of the Nigerian situation. The likes of;
- sub-standard educational institutions
- unstable educational policies
- national unrest, and insecurity
- inadequate infrastructural facilities
- dearth of recreational outlets
Did I say a smidgen? I mean, a chunk…
Let’s be honest, though. Lack of self-confidence is something we’ve all had to grapple with at some point in our lives. It’s not a phenomenon that is entirely perplexing. As a student, it’s either you’re terrified of asking or answering questions in class, or you hate participating in any academic or extracurricular activity that draws attention to you.
Don’t be so hard on yourself. The truth is many people are going through the same thing. This is not to dispute that some people you meet will be so self-confident that you will have a hard time differentiating it from arrogance. Self-confidence is not the same as arrogance or ego. Let’s examine the dictionary meaning here.
Self-confidence vs Arrogance
Self-confidence is basically a measure of one’s belief in one’s ability; how well do you believe in yourself? Are you worthy of respect? Do you think it is within your reach to achieve whatever goal you set before yourself? Will you chase your dreams irrespective of doubts with the belief that you’re heading for success? If your answers are affirmative, that’s self-confidence.
On the other hand, arrogance or pride (hubris) means having an unreasonable and excessive belief in your own ability to the point where you disregard others and set unrealistic goals.
Trust me, the latter is no fun, and it rubs people off the wrong way. Now, you might say, ‘what do I care what people think?’ You might think you don’t, but you will when you set yourself up to fail with your unattainable goals and beliefs. For a student, that’s a flaw you really can do without.
Now, moving on to how you can actually build your self-confidence as a Nigerian student.
If you’re someone with a friend who is always at the forefront of any activity and who isn’t afraid to speak up and make himself/herself heard, then you know what I’m talking about when I say it doesn’t take long for you to start feeling inferior and average. And that, my friend, is not a feeling you want to harbour for any duration of time. It’s a cold and worrisome bed-fellow.
Causes of lack of self-confidence in Nigerian students?
There are several reasons why someone might have a poor perception of self;
It could be a result of upbringing. Some people grew up in households where they were schooled into submission, where expressing themselves meant opening themselves up for ridicule and disapproval. Or it might be as a consequence of being passed over for some privileges time and again.
For example, some parents or family members inadvertently show favouritism to one child over another. Over time, this pattern indents the deprived child’s perception, and she begins to doubt her own worth and value. If one does not correct this mindset in time, growing up without any self-confidence becomes inevitable. This will show itself in classes and social gatherings where the student will find herself tongue-tied and suddenly dumb, or depressed.
Lack of ambition
In some cases, self-confidence could be the implication of a lack of ambition. If you have a personality that shies away from exploring or stepping out of your comfort zone, you will have a negative self-image when you find yourself in situations that are demanding.
Why is this so? Because you’re untested. You haven’t challenged yourself mentally and physically. You do not know your limits, so when you come face-to-face with others who are self-driven and passionate, you will falter.
Another reason why some people might lack confidence is incompetence. If you do not have the aptitude or literacy necessary for succeeding in a particular field or task, doubts will spring upon you with staggering intensity. Incompetence is always visible no matter how well you try to polish it or tuck it away. It shows. More than that, it screams!
Yep! You heard it right.
Some Nigerian students who grew up in a stimulating environment and did not exhibit a covert personality might confuse their unfounded lack of confidence. Emotional and physical abuse might be the culprits here. A physically abused or emotionally abused victim might have difficulty getting back her confidence because of the traumatic experience.
A girl or boy child who has been physically abused will have a low level of self-confidence. Standing in the spotlight or being the centre of attention, or even merely speaking up might become impossible feats for them. Insecurity, paranoia, and inadequacy are the consequences of such experiences.
A child who suffers domestic abuse will not get to school to become the most confident character. No, the child would be downcast and probably miss out on many opportunities and knowledge as he grows older.
By now, you probably realize the significance of having self-confidence. To get anywhere in life, you need to open yourself up to possibilities, which can only be achieved with the right mindset.
5 simple ways to build self-confidence as a Nigerian student
As a Nigerian student, these will help in building your confidence;
Stop beating yourself up every time you fail at something
Like a wise man once said, “You either win or learn’ There’s nothing like a failure. Have it at the back of your mind ‘Failure happens only when you give up’ For example, Colonel Sanders, the KFC owner, wouldn’t have turned out to be a big deal if he had stopped trying to succeed. His recipe was rejected 1009 times before it was finally accepted. He persevered. That’s a trait every youth should cultivate.
Do not fear critics
Some Nigerian students fear being an object of mockery or critics. In class, you might hesitate to ask or answer questions because you fear being laughed at by fellow mates. Appreciate and take advantage of every opportunity to learn. Everybody becomes an object of ridicule sooner or later. Do not take the experience so personal that you shy away from acquiring knowledge.
Read also: How to value yourself
If you have trouble summoning courage and standing up, remember that you cannot get it back once you lose a chance to learn. Before asking or answering questions, put the words together, roll them over in your mind and then stop thinking and go for it.
Be conscious of your actions
It is essential to pay attention to your actions from a very early age. When you realize how your actions might be alienating others around you, you become aware of how you might be robbing someone else, probably a child, of their self-confidence. Parents should never show favoritism for a particular child openly and do not adopt the habit of openly criticizing one for another.
Be realistic with your plans and goals
If you notice that you are prone to taking the safer option every time and do not exhibit any desire to explore or challenge yourself, you have to map out some positive risks and choices you will undertake and commit to. When you have outlined these activities and decisions that are ‘constructively ambitious,’ then make the informed decision to see it through. Remember ‘no risk, no gain.’
Never stop learning
One cannot overemphasize the need to keep learning. With learning comes knowledge, and knowledge, they say, is power. Avail yourself of every opportunity to learn. Incompetence only happens when you are without experience and without mastery of a chosen field of endeavour.
This is the only credible cure for incompetence. It will help if you stay abreast of any trend and development in whatever field you find yourself in. For example, any doctor worth her salt knows that she has to be up to date to attain credibility and respect in her chosen field.
If you can follow these five steps and stick by them, you can rest assured that you’re closer to achieving that level of self-confidence that has always eluded you. You can still enroll in courses that teach self-development programs.
Learning skills along the way separates you from the crowd and gives you a particular advantage as well so that as you proceed in your academics and career, you guarantee yourself speed. In the long run, you build self-confidence as a Nigerian student.
Mojisola Suliat Kuye, a contemporary writer with a flair for precision and sharp wit. She is a fiction writer with niches in historical romance, fantasy, blog writing, content creation, product reviews as well as article writing. Having worked on several freelance writing jobs and edited many others, the experience is a guaranteed advantage.