“We rise by lifting others,” this was the opening lines of my Sociology class impromptu presentation – a quote by the famous songster, Davido.

I had plugged on my earphones that mid-morning in class. Seated at the far back, I had thought I was immune to the wary eyes of my lecturer and could do whatever I wanted since the class was boring to me. I lost consciousness of my environment and had begun to loudly hum the lyrics of the song without noticing the leering eyes fixed on me as the Professor looked at me sternly.

“Young man!” his voice thundered. I yanked the earphones from my ears and moved slowly to the front of the class as he beckoned me to come. My smile-filled face had quickly become a bank of fear and anxiety. He eyed me as I stood trembling by his side.

“Davido, uhn?” 

I nodded in affirmation.

“Using the principles and lyrics of Davido, discuss the impact of networking and communal living as it affects individual and societal growth. Young man, you have twenty-five minutes to prepare for this as it would be added to your continuous assessment test,” he said to me and faced the rest of the class to continue his lecture. 

It was the shortest twenty-five minutes of my life. I could feel my heart cringe. With wobbling legs, I left the class to accept the current reality and prepare for my presentation.

“We rise by lifting others,” I began my presentation. “Philosophers, teachers and great men since the beginning of time have made us understand the need for existing not just as a unit, but as part of a larger set. The ability to work as part of a team and contribute immensely to the growth of other team members is the difference between “getting success” and “remaining successful”; “being married” and “happily married” as nobody or society has ever gotten better by trying to pull others down. The issue of teamwork and looking out for each other has been neglected over time as we have all taken a negative individualistic approach towards life. This has been so covered in the expressions “nobody cares” and “all man for himself”. The resultant effect being the sharp decline of growth in all spheres of human pursuit and the boundless increase in lawlessness, anarchy, declining moral values and deaths. At some point in the journey of life, one would realize that a life spent without service to others is incomplete! 

The Legendary American Rap Icon – Tupac, once said: “We can never go nowhere unless we share with each other.” Of a truth, we would keep running in circles and society would never break free from the shackles of underdevelopment and corruption unless we begin to act as our brother’s keeper. Maybe some journeys are best made alone for our personal development but then, just because you have to go through it alone doesn’t mean you have to be alone in it. We all need somebody.

I know you’ve seen Good Times and won some battles alone, but a Better Time awaits you when you light someone else’s fire and give them a chance to also shine. The possibilities are limitless and growth becomes infinite for even God was awed and had to “do something” when he saw the unity of man in building the tower of Babel!

I heaved a deep sigh under my nostrils, the class had become silent and the Professor had stood at the corner of the class, also listening. For what seemed like a fraction of eternity, I glanced around the class, finding words to round off my presentation.

The sky is big enough for us all the stars to shine,” I continued, “pushing me down doesn’t give you a better standing posture. Enough of preaching the mantra that nobody cares. Let’s do away with that individualistic approach to living life, it is selfish and its negativity has plunged society into so many ruins that humanity can ever handle – leaving us with so many war-torn states like Syria and Libya, countless orphaned children in northern Nigeria, police brutality all over the country, election violence and a million ruined dreams.

Living shouldn’t be a competition against others. Life doesn’t have to be a jungle. Let’s work towards a Better society, A Better Time. We rise by lifting others.”

I ended my presentation and glanced at the Professor again to signal the end of my task. Meanwhile, the class had gone into a wild celebration and wouldn’t stop cheering and clapping. The professor looked at me with a sneer, “You had to introduce Tupac too, uhn? We’ll see how your grades turn out.”

Well, let’s just say, at the beginning of the new semester when results came out, I was the only student that made an A in that course. And of course, I never listened to songs in class ever again.


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