Why We Must Celebrate Our Little Successes

On Friday, 3rd August, 2018, Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ) held its 12th graduation ceremony to officially award and graduate successful students who had undergone a four year or two-year programme which qualified them to receive a degree and diploma respectively. Even though it was not the first time such an event was taking place, this particular one was one that placed emphasis on the institution’s readiness to expand and upgrade its activities to be able to compete with other institutions across the country. The event, for the first time, was held at the new campus of the institution at Okponglo which was still under construction. It was to send a strong message across that the school was gearing up to move to its new site after years of promising to do so. Even more symbolic, was the attendance by the President of the Republic of Ghana, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo. He was the guest of honour and delivered a wonderful speech that expressed the commitment of his government to making sure that the Ghana Institute of Journalism is well equipped to churn out competent communicators.

The atmosphere was one filled with joy as graduands dressed in their best garments to celebrate this great landmark in their life. Parents and families were not left out of the excitement as they thronged the campus to show their support and help their children celebrate the success. I still remember how the father of Mr. Dominic Asitanga, 2018 overall best graduating student, could not hide his joy than to come out from the crowd to hug his son. Obviously, he was proud of the feat his son had achieved.

When the congregation had dissolved, I saw a few friends of mine who were supposed to also be graduating, but surprisingly, they were not in their graduation gowns. From my interaction with them, it became obvious that graduating with a diploma in Communication Studies didn’t quite seem a big deal to them. They told me they will only be proud to be adorned in their graduation gown after they had done a top-up, which will lead to them being awarded a degree, simply because people do not regard a diploma. I was surprised that anyone will look down upon their own achievement in this manner because of what people think.

Later in 2018, I attended the congregation of the University of Professional Studies, Accra. At this ceremony, there were a lot of graduands ranging from diploma, first degree to Master’s degree graduands. As I roamed to appreciate the beauty of the campus, I met two of my friends. They were supposed to be graduating but interestingly were not in their graduation gowns, which got me curious again. They also gave the same excuse given to me earlier at the congregation of the Ghana Institute of Journalism. They were so sure that they had taken the best decision not to attend their graduation ceremony but will only do so when they rather get a degree.

At this point, I was beyond surprised because I have always wanted to do a diploma first before a degree. When I got admitted to the Ghana Institute of Journalism to pursue a course in Bachelor of Arts Communication Studies, I was happy, but felt I should have chosen a diploma rather so I could graduate early, and get a job while I continue to do a top-up so I can be able to pay my fees. Till date, I still tell my friends I should have applied for a diploma so I can have time to work and pay my fees, as doing so while offering a degree was very difficult. I never saw a diploma as a disgrace.

There is no shame in graduating with a diploma in any course. Do not allow yourself to be forced to conform to societal dictates that gets you doing things which do not make you happy. Mark Twain describes this beautifully in words as follows: “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can be great”.

A diploma might be lower than a first degree just as a first degree is lower than a master’s degree. We all cannot rise to do a degree program at a go. Some have to do a diploma before they do a top-up. There is nothing wrong with it. Let no one or anything force you to feel useless about your successes no matter how little they might see it.

A degree in Communications studies will be a great success in my family. However, holding a degree in communication will not be regarded a great achievement in other families. The determinant of success is not a wholesale scale. Everyone should be allowed to measure what success is or isn’t to them. Let no one force you to feel little for earning a diploma. You are not in competition with anyone. Put in a lot of efforts and be sure to celebrate the little successes you achieve.

Komla Adom, a broadcast journalist with Multimedia, is a young journalist I admire a lot because of his passion for the job. He attended Ghana Institute of Journalism and graduated with a diploma before coming back to do a top-up and graduated with first class honors and was awarded best graduating Journalism student (weekend). He did not allow anyone to tell him diploma was not worth celebrating. He celebrated his little successes while working hard to achieve bigger dreams.

We are all on a journey, using different routes while staying focused on the destination. While on the journey, be sure to celebrate how far you have come while putting in much effort to make sure you get to the destination. It is ok for others to get there before you do. Its ok to take a little longer than expected to get there. It’s ok if you pause to strategize. The ultimate goal is to arrive at your destination.

People will always find a way to belittle your efforts. They will never appreciate the efforts you put in place and the pain you had to endure. They only see your success and try to judge you based on what they think. Don’t allow that to make you feel little of yourself. You are great! Enjoy the little successes and stay focused.

Napoleon Hill succinctly says, “If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way”

Abdul-Rahim Naa Ninche, student of Ghana Institute of Journalism and a photographer, is the writer. You can contact him on 0201962393 or naaninche@gmail.com

Abdul-Rahim Naa Ninche

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