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A lovely review- from a parent

Hello, I hope you are well and keeping safe. It has been quite a while and work has had me quite busy nevertheless, I have to share this review I got about a student and their journey! Reviews are great and positive reviews are just wonderful. In my words, a positive review is an affirmation that you did your job well enough for someone to appreciate it. That is what happened in this case here.

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In October 2018, my boss assigned me a new client- a mom inquiring for her daughter to study abroad, and they had chosen the UK. When I spoke to her on the phone, I asked if I could speak to the prospective student and the mom said she was away on a tour of the Europe to get a feel for it before she started her program in January 2019. I said okay, sounds good. I gave her a list of the required application documents and her mom sent everything quite promptly. By the following week, I had put in an application and an offer came through almost immediately. I was really excited and shared my excitement with the mom and she told me how happy she was with how quickly I got her daughter an offer. Then I explained to her that to proceed she would need to pay a course deposit to the university of accept the offer. The amount varies but is usually about a third or quarter of the universities fees. I told her that the payment instruction was on the offer letter and she should let me know when she’s made the payment so we could then start the CAS procedure.

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CAS is a confirmation of studies letter that universities is the UK give to a student as part of the visa requirement. This letter is obtained once the university has checked the bank statement to ensure that is has enough amount to cover the tuition fee and living expenses minus the amount that was paid for the course deposit. They also need to receive a TB test result from the student. In total, they need three documents- proof of payment for the course deposit, bank statement or letter of sponsorship and a TB test result. I thought to explain that part because it comes in handy in the next paragragh of my narration.

The following day, the mom sent me a proof of payment showing that she had paid in full! I was thrilled because I thought that meant an easy process. Was I wrong! We had discussed the whole CAS procedure and also sent her a visa pack that explains everything, what is expected of the bank statement and whose name should be on the bank statement and so forth. She told me everything is in order, they had booked for her daughter’s TB test and she would send me the result along with the bank statement when the had it. Lo and behold when she sent it, the bank statement was in her cousin’s name! That definitely would not work with the UK visa system, it had to be in either parent’s account accompanied by a birth certificate or be in the student’s account is over 18. They moved the funds into the mom’s account and we had to wait for the 28 days rule, in the meantime, I advised them to get the unabridged birth certificate that would accompany the bank statement which they applied for and received.

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About 2 weeks into waiting, I tried to check on both mom and daughter and I could not get hold of them. For over a week, I kept checking daily, nothing! Number was unavailable. I sent emails and just kept checking. I informed by boss and he tried as well, nothing. Long story short, I only heard from the mom around August 2019 to say she, the mom, had been seriously ill and that she was fine now and ready to continue the process. Thankfully, in the months that I didn’t hear from them, I had deferred the daughter’s offer to September but I felt the time was too short. Indeed it turned out to be too short because the TB test had expired and the funds in the bank had been used up but she said she wanted to try which I did. I don’t mind trying, it’s a rule for me in any situation, I’ll know I tried so why not. I then informed the university that they were happy and ready to proceed. She sent me a letter of sponsorship that shows that her daughter’s tuition and living costs would be fully covered for her three years of study. She sent it along with the new TB test result but sadly, the letter of sponsorship was not accepted. We had to defer to January 2020. By November 2019, she sent me a bank statement which was fine but by then, her IELTS result had expired. And then they disappeared again! I couldn’t get hold of them. Then Covid happened! But it did not really deter them, however, it slowed down the process, we no longer got quicker response from the university and to book an English proficiency test became a hassle but by the end of 2020, she had everything sorted.

Long story short, we started the process again in January 2021 and this time, with funds in her account and her new TB test result, new English proficiency result, we were able to finally get the CAS! It felt so good! She had to enrol online to join in the classes while we sorted out the visa application and all. She got the visa on the 10th of March. She got her ticket and she had to be booked into a government approved hotel for a 10 days quarantine. On the 26th of March, her mom phoned to say that I should meet them at the airport, that there was no way her daughter would leave for the UK without saying good bye to me because I made it happen. I went to the airport and met with her family- they were all so grateful for my effort in the process. They thanked me for not giving up. They thanked me for pushing to make sure that everything worked out in the end. It felt good. I was just doing my job, and patience is one of my special strength, I hardly give up. And I couple this with prayers. The daughter flew out and they flew back to their city and the following day, I got a very wonderful reveiw : ) the highlight of my story!

Screenshot from my phone

Thank you for stopping by and reading this story. I felt that I had to share this story because even though I thought I was just doing my job as it were, others saw it as perseverance at its finest! Keep doing what you do, put in your best. Keep well. Until next time, bye for now.

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My 33 week old preemie is now 6 years old!!

Hello, how are you doing? I hope you are well and keeping safe. This post is about my little boy’s birthday. He turned six on the 28th of February, last Sunday.

๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽ‰Happy birthday to my Jboy! My first child!! I am super excited and happy!! Super grateful that my son that was born earlier than expected is now a healthy 6 year old. I am not even sure who was more excited last Sunday, either him, the real celebrant or me the super grateful mom!! ๐Ÿ˜ƒ Happy birthday dear son, you are blessed,your name will be great, your heart desires will come to pass, you will never lack anything good, you will be outstanding in all you do, you will continue to grow in wisdom, knowledge and stature, you will continue to be a source of joy to us and everyone you come in contact with in Jesus name!!

I was quite unsure of how to celebrate his day particularly because I knew his dad and I had to be away for work. His dad had a surprise 50th birthday event where he had been invited to provide music for the event. He needed me there to sing along every now and then and generally assist.

What I did was, take his cake to church, as it was on a Sunday. I also ordered cake for his sister whose birthday was on the first of February amd we couldn’t do much at the time. They were called out after service and prayed for. The cake was shared with everyone and we had also bought some drinks tonshare, courtesy of a dear friend, and little sweets to go along. You do as much as your pocket allows right? No matter how little, he was really happy and Jgirl was happy too. Mission accomplished!

Next, we dropped them off at a child friendly restaurant which is one of his favorite ones and usually they sing and drum for you if it’s your birthday! Their grandma graciously offered to stay with them at the restaurant rather than at home as previously agreed. So we were able to attend the function. Thank God grandma is still around, though she’s leaving by the end of this month, March. I keep wondering how I will cope when she travels back home! I will then face the reality of being a mother of two!! She’s stayed with us since Jgirl was born!! She has been so helpful and we really appreciate her. Please thank her for me in the comment section so I can show her ๐Ÿ™‚

That is how the 28th of February, 2021 went! We got back home after the gig at about 8:30pm, usually they sleep around 8pm or earlier, sometimes, they waited up till we got back and I was able to call back those who had previously called to wish him well on his birthday!

Thank you for reading this far, I am happy that despite he came earlier than planned and only weighed 1.6kgs, he is a healthy and smart boy. Super intelligent and always has a million of questions to ask every time. He has me running to google almost all the time.

Shout out if you are a mother of a preemie! I’m a mother of two preemies, one and 33 weeks and the other at 34 weeks!! I am grateful to God for His mercies. If you currently have a premature baby, please encourage yourself! He or she will grow and be okay by God’s grace. JBoy spent 4 weeks in hospital, here is the link to his birth story https://oluseungsc.biz/2020/10/11/gynaecologist-visit-or-delivery/ and an extra 10 days when he contracted Adenovirus, what’s that๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ We are thankful and so grateful to God for keeping him.

Thank you once again for stopping by. Do have a lovely day. Keep well. Stay safe. Smile often. Take care of yourself and be happy! As much as you can. Bye for now๐Ÿ‘‹

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Thank you to my 100+ followers!!

Hello, how are you doing? I hope you are well and keeping safe, I am! Or let me say, I choose to be happy! Today, I am super happy and grateful to all of you my 100+ followers! Thank you all for choosing to follow my blog! I am doing a happy dance!! I know I am not yet posting as consistently as I would like but I believe I will get there, soon. I am taking each day as it comes and intentionally making plans to write ahead and schedule posts rather than write straight away and post straight away! Thank you for your patience and understanding. The support here is amazing!

Also, I am still trying to find a niche, though it is quite obvious that study abroad and tips for university applications seem to be taking the lead because that is the job I currently do but I also like to write about working from home and education but with time, I will find my niche or keep things open. Thank you for being patient with me and liking my posts. I appreciate your support.

Currently, I have so much work at work! How does that sound? There is a greater number of interest in study abroad more than ever before! I am actually interested to know why the sudden interest. Also, grade 12 students received their matric certificate yesterday so I got a lot of calls, mostly happy calls and messages updating and sending me their results. Which meant that I had to submit them to universities to get their offer updated! Also, today, I had to do two Australian visas and one UK visa, not completed but almost there! I will have a final look tomorrow before they submit. I find it interesting to do however, one has to be very meticulous when it comes to visas and make sure all required documents are complete to avoid visa rejections.

I am so excited because come Sunday the 28th of February, my son will be a year older! ๐Ÿ’ƒ๐Ÿ’ƒObviously, there will be no party for many reasons but however, my head and mind is busy thinking of what to do to make it extra special for him indoors. For his sister, it was mostly a balloon party and we had family friends visit us briefly. I will let you know how it goes and if you have any ideas, please leave some in the comment below!!

Thank you once again for the follows, I sincerely appreciate it and it encourages me ti write more. I have been hiding for a very long time now but I believe I am coming out gradually and will get there one day. Where is there? I will keep thinking about it, lol! Thank you for stopping by today and thank you for liking my writings. Please keep the likes, follows and shares coming, it motivates me to write more. And I would really like to read from you, please leave a comment about anything- suggestions, ideas, questions about university applications, anything, I will be more than glad to respond! Keep well, keep safe, be happy, be kind as much as you can and enjoy the rest of the week!! Bye for now ๐Ÿ‘‹

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What are the most important documents for your university application?

Hi, I hope you are well and keeping safe? This post is going to address a question that comes up at work every day. Almost no work day ends with me being asked, “what documents do I need to apply to the university with?” Well, documents needed vary at times for some courses like art or design where a student may be asked to submit a portfolio however, there are general and important documents that need to be submitted along with the initial contact to the university to make an application.

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Submitting important documents along with your application increases your acceptance rate, that is, if your grades meet up with the academic requirements. It saves you time and also saves them time. Win win for both parties right? This is because it shows that you took your time to find out what documents you need and know which ones are the most important.

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What then, are the most important documents required for a university application? When I say important, I don’t mean that other documents are not important but with these, you can be guaranteed a conditional offer at the very least.

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  1. International Passport: this is a means of identification for you so they know how your name is exactly and also to check your certificates and documents, if they match. If they don’t maych, you will need to explain why with an affidavit or marriage certificate, as the case may be. Another very important reason is the fact that it is an essential travel document! If you want to study abroad, you definitely need an international passport and the university needs to see this.
  2. Academic Certificate: for an undergraduate application, this would be your high school leaving certificate with your grades on it. At postgraduate level, this would be the certificate you received at graduation.
  3. Academic Transcripts: transcript is a breakdown of all the subjects/courses you did whilst studying and your grades for each one. It gives more information about what you studied. The university needs to see this so they admissions team can check if what you studied at Bachelor level matches some of the courses they are looking out for before offering you a place to study with them. This is required more at postgraduate level but sometimes requested for undergraduate applications.
  4. Personal Statement: they need to know more about you other than what they see on your passport, certificate and transcripts. They would like to know more about you and your reason for choosing to study with them. Here’s a link if you want more details about How to write a personal statement- university application. The post has been helpful for some of my students.
  5. Reference letters: for undergraduate applicants, they require two academic references and for undergraduate, they require one academic and one professional reference. Here, please approach the teacher, lecturer, professor, supervisor who really likes you and would literally sing your praise! Someone who genuinely has good things to say about you during your studies or at your work place. Some refer to it as a letter of recommendation.
  6. CV/Resume: this is required for those who have left high school for more than one year. It is necessary because it explains study gaps and for postgraduate level, it shows your qualifications and work experience. It also shows other skills you have.
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When all these documents are submitted, the admissions officer would know that you did your research and you know what is required for you to be offered a place.

However, there are some situations where a certificate might not be ready or available to the student yet, for instance. In this case, to save time, an application can be made with an explanation that the document will be submitted as soon as it has been received. Admission officers understand this because universities work with different dates of graduation so they leave an allowance period for such delays.

Thank you for stopping by. I hope this helps you in a way. Let me know if you have any questions. I will be happy to assist. Keep well. Smile as much as you can. Be kind. Never give up. I wish you all the best in your endeavors. Bye for now ๐Ÿ‘‹

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Happy birthday dear daughter from mom

Hi, I hope you are well and keeping safe. I am well and am super excited today because it is my daughter’s birthday! It feels like yesterday when she came into our lives. We are so grateful and know that we are blessed because she is such a great blessing.

Picture from my device

Here is a link to my birthing experience with her that I shared a few weeks ago, you can read here How JGirl was born~ Baby #2. Like I said in the post, I spent three weeks in hospital due to high level of protein in my urine and high blood pressure and extra swollen feet and face. It was not an easy experience but here we are today!!

She is hale and hearty. She is healthy, eats almost everything we offer her with two exceptions, eggs and cake. Yes, she doesn’t like cakes, we still tried it today from the carrot cake and red velvet cupcakes we had, she refused the slightest taste of it ๐Ÿ˜Š She loves singing and dancing. She has started speaking in sentences for example she says “don’t do that” or “let’s go outside” though she’s thriving with two word sentences. She is very helpful, gets a napkin when something spills and knows how to ask for her milk, clearly. She also knows how request for chocolate milk, calls it “kaka milk”.

Photo from my device

It is a new chapter for her and for us. A new chapter where she will speak more clearly thus expressing herself better. Already, she has a way of communicating with us. I remember on Saturday, I offered her a bottle of milk from her bottle and she tried to drink and shook her head, I thought she wanted kaka milk but she didn’t say it. I turned the milk into kaka milk with the same bottle but she still didn’t want it. She would try to drink and shake her head. So I thought to myself that she wasn’t really ready for it and I went back to what I was hen she came to me, gave her bottle to me and said “mummy, drink” and when I tried to suck from the bottle, nothing came out. Apparently, the bottle was blocked. I am still amazed at how we figured out a what to make me realize what was wrong. She is very intelligent and has a great level of understanding.

You are blessed my baby girl, you are for signs and wonders and your name will be great. We had a simple day, indoors. We took lots of pictures for memories and then we look forward to the next celebration. We are very grateful and really thankful for good health, everything else will fall into place with time.

Thank you for stopping by and for reading this quick post. Keep well, be safe, smile as much as you can and be kind, the world needs more of that. Bye for now ๐Ÿ‘‹

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How to write a personal statement- university application

Hello, I hope you are well and keeping safe. I am well and staying indoors as much as possible. This post will be about how to write a personal statement. I have found that students keep asking me the same questions over and over and I find myself explaining over and over again. I also find that “please ma’am, how do I write a personal statement?” and “how many pages do I need to write?” are the top two questions that they ask so I will address those two questions with this post.

What is a personal statement? A personal statement is a statement that is personal to you. Jokes. Well, not entirely a joke because a personal statement is an essay or a write up about you describing yourself to a potential employer or an admissions officer at a university. In this case, I will write about writing a personal statement to support your university application. A personal statement gives more information about you, what you have achieved so far in your academic life and how the achievements fit into the program you are applying for. It is an opportunity to give the admissions team more insight about you, your plans and explain your choice of program, university and country to them.

There are different types of personal statements and specific ones specific to a particular program such as for Law degree or Medicine, one might need to go more in depth especially at a postgraduate level where the student would need to share more about their work experience and all. However, generally, a personal statement shouldn’t be more than one page. Ideally, one page is fine. I have had some undergraduate applicants come to me with up to three pages or four pages as their personal statement. From experience, I personally don’t have the patience to read that many pages and I don’t have to go through thousands of them so I imagine that admission officers definitely won’t have that time either. So I always suggest to them to keep it short and simple! All their points should be summarised into one page with just five paragraphs. The paragraphs should answer the following questions.

Paragraph 1: Who are you?

Here, it is expected that you introduce yourself however you feel is best but in a way that allows the reader have a clear picture of who you are. After a brief introduction of yourself, you also need to share your academic achievements and highest qualification. Write about your awards and everything you can brag about. If you were a prefect, write about it, best student in your set, put in there in a well articulated format. Have you done any volunteer jobs during/after high school? Write about it. The tip is to introduce yourself and then write about the best things about your education so far and all other academic achievements and experience you have had so far.

Paragraph 2: What are you applying to study?

What are you applying to study? How does it fit into what you have previously done before? Did you volunteer at your uncle’s company and that got you interested in studying business administration or you are very good at numbers and would like to study accounting or statistics? Do you find that you enjoy taking care of people and are interested in studying nursing for that reason? Try to explain clearly why you have decided to study what you have decided to study and what you hope to achieve by getting that knowledge.

Paragraph 3: Why the particular country?

Okay, so at this point, I’m going to have to say that I’m not a geography expert but thanks to Google, I know that there are 197 countries in the world. So why are you choosing this particular country? Is it because of their education system or because they are believed to be more friendly towards international students? Do your research about your country of choice and write your findings in this paragraph. For you to want to leave your country of origin/residence to another country, you must surely know why, right?

Paragraph 4: Why the particular university?

Again, Google is my friend and it lets me know that there are about 25000 universities all around the world so again, why are you choosing this university? Just like the previous paragraph, do your research about the institution. Read about their rankings, their awards, reviews about them and make the university feel good that you have chosen them. Let them know how their course content matches exactly what you want to learn, let them know that you like their sports facility and consider it as a plus for you while making your choice, just do your research about the university/college and match the points to your study needs.

Paragraph 5: What are your plans after your study?

What do you plan to do after your studies? Do you plan to go back home after your studies and use your knowledge to develop your father’s company? Did you receive a scholarship where you need go give back to the company that sponsored your education by working there? Do you plan to apply for your postgraduate degree immediately after your undergraduate degree? Whatever your plans are, write them here. Let them see how the knowledge you plan to gain will be used once you are done with your studies. Do not forget to read over and proofread over and over again so as not to leave any errors in your write up.

With this format to guide you, I believe you will find it easier to write your personal statement and make it as perfect as possible and speak clearly to the admission officer. Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions or if you would like me to have a look at your personal statement. My email address is contact@oluseungsc.biz and I will be happy to go through it for you. Thank you for stopping by. Be safe. Be happy. Until next time, bye for now ๐Ÿ‘‹

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I’ve hit 50 Followers!!!

Hello, I hope you are well and keeping safe. How is the week going? How is work? How is business? Thank you for stopping by. The week is going well and there is a new visa alert that I will post about soon so I’ll say the week is going well. I have some GTE forms to assist students with this week. Never mind, this is not a work post, it is a happy post๐Ÿ’ƒ๐Ÿ’ƒ๐Ÿ’ƒ๐Ÿ’ƒ

This is a quick one to say thank you! I’ve reached the 50 followers milestone and I couldn’t have done it without you. Thank you for stopping by, for reading my posts, for liking my posts and for following my blog! I really appreciate it. It is a great encouragement to me.

Screenshot from my phone

I started a while back but only just recently actively picked up writing more frequently. It is what I enjoy doing and wonder why I stayed away for this long. You know what they say, “when it’s time, it’s time”! (not sure whose quote that is though). I guess it’s time. If there’s anything you have been trying to do, why not give it a shot? Start somewhere, you’ll be amazed.

I will keep the posts coming, about study abroad and everything that comes with it, experiences at work and at home, though they tend to be one and the same most of the time because I work from home and maybe also post some random thoughts along the line.

Thank you once again, until next time. Keep well. Rest when you need to. Pace yourself. Eat right. Be kind. And best of all, be happy! Enjoy the rest of the week. Bye for now ๐Ÿ‘‹

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7 tips for Homeschooling while working from home

Hello I hope you are well and are keeping safe. I hope you had a good weekend. I did. Mostly resting. It was an absolute necessity for my body to rest! This is a brand new week and I am grateful. The weeks seem to be flying this year or is it me? Well, like it or not, this is another week of working from home plus homeschooling the children. For some, it has been the norm for them before Covid but for some, it was brought upon us and we have to find ways to cope with it. For those of us who started homeschooling due to Covid, we definitely need to find ways to adjust and make it all work out nicely for ourselves and for the children. Working out nicely means being productive while working from home, here’s a link to my previous post about how to be productive working from home https://oluseungsc.biz/2021/01/11/how-to-be-productive-working-from-home/ and the children getting educated while studying from home. It has been close to a year since I started homeschooling my five year old son, almost six, and I find these 7 tips quite helpful.

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1. Planning ahead

Apart from planning meals for the day, which I believe most moms do, planning for homeschooling will afford you the opportunity to prepare tasks for your child/children to do. By Sunday evening, all tasks should have been assigned, on paper. This way, you would be able to assign different tasks for them to do and mix it up so that they will not get bored. Allow time for exercise as well, I feel like we need to make an extra effort to achieve that but if it has been planned ahead, then it makes if easier to fall into. This brings to my next point. Routines before actual schoolwork.

2. Routines

Routines are great for children, and adults too! Once children get used to routines, it makes things easier for them and they automatically know what next to do. For my son, once he wakes up and says his prayers, he comes to say good morning to us and then goes to do his couch chores (basically tidying up the living room~ I try to leave one or two things lying around for him). He then brushes his teeth, picks out his clothes and asks for help to take a bath. Next is breakfast. And then, school time! If he mixes any of this up, he mentions it because he has become used to a particular way of doing things. And if he plays with his sister in between, it’s okay, it’s all love.

Children will be soothed by routine, structure and normality. Getting them back to routine is typically considered good- Catherine Cooks

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3. Schedules

In this context, schedules are the actual school work and activities cut out into different chunks of time. However, I find that flexible schedules work better for us. He starts at 8:30am and ends around 1pm. A sample of his schedule is

8:30-8:45am~ exercise (something we make up or watch on TV)

8:45-9:00am~ teachermommy shows him what he should do for the next two hours

9:00-11am~ he does his assigned work which combines using an abacus to do sums, activity books and some coloring

11:00-11:30am~ educational TV time

11:30-12:00pm~ Lunch and we squeeze in a short walk when possible

12:00-1:00pm~ reading time. It is my break time so we do his readings together.

His schedules vary slighty each day and I change the subjects or what he has to do. I found some activity books very useful because they combine spelling and math and coloring activities, all in one book! Pictures of some pages attached. One thing to note, is to pace yourself and pace your child. Everyday will not be the same.

4. Lunch/Short walks

Fitting in lunch break to the same time helps as it gives me a chance to have a quick look at his work so far and also spend time with him. If he were at his actual school, this would be the time to play with friends and interact so this time, we have a quick snack and then go for a short walk. Most times we walk for 10 minutes just for an outdoor experience. We also play ball when we can’t for go a walk. Then we do some reading. He loves reading and actually started reading before age 4 so I let him do the reading and ask him questions to make sure he comprehend the story. After the reading session, he gets to have time for free play.

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5. Designate work space/classroom

I mentioned this in one if my previous posts. It helps s great deal to have dedicated work spaces. He has his table and chair corner in his room for school time. And I have my office desk in my room. We currently live in a small apartment so those spaces have to work and they to! Once I’m in my space, my brain knows it’s time to work and same for him. He keeps his books and pencil case there and easily gets into school work mode once there. He calls that corner his classroom.

6. Take it easy

All these tips did not work out on day one so please take things easy. Pace yourself and encourage yourself. It is not as easy. It takes been intentional about it to actually make it work. Pat yourself on the back for your success with it, even if you think it is not much success. You will get there and will be surprised to see how easier homeschooling will become for you and your child .

7. Plan for the following day

Yes, go back to step one and plan tasks and activities for the following day. With you being the one to teach your child school work, you would have noticed where he needs extra support. Focus on that. For my son, I have found that he needs extra help with writing so I give him tasks that encourage him to write and master the skill.

These tips have proven to be helpful and I believe it should help in one way or another. Combining working from home with helping the children learn from home at the same time requires mental effort and patience. It is doable. We are in it together and have to find ways to cope and adjust. What tips help you cope better with work from home and homeschooling? Feel free to share. Thank you for stopping by. Please like, share and leave a comment. I would like to read from you. Keep well. Stay safe. Be kind. Exercise. And have a blessed week! Bye for now ๐Ÿ‘‹

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How to be productive working from home

Hello, I hope you are doing well. How was the weekend? Was it restful? Was it busy?

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I know people are different and react to things differently and also cope in various ways. Working from home has been in existence before Covid but used to be seen as convenient jobs and doesn’t pay as much as work in the office. With Covid came hard lockdown situations in which every company that could function from home had their staff start working remotely. It was an unplanned situation in which people had to device ways to cope with working from home.

For me, when I started my current job in 2018, I started working from home but had to go out about two to three times a week to attend events such as career fairs, meetings with high school counselors, face to face consultations with parents and students and mini fairs I organized for university representatives who visited from time to time. As the agency I work for has partnership with over 250 universities, I had to attend to so many of them on a monthly basis. I sometimes had to host about three universities and take them on high school tours so students could meet with them and ask all the questions they had. All these events, combined, meant that my work from home was not 100% work from home however, I did my follow ups, university applications and everything else from home.

With Covid though, things changed. All prior scheduled physical events were cancelled and I had to work from home 100% which meant back to back meetings. All those meetings I had to go for at different schools still went on- on my laptop. University representatives who couldn’t fly down, organized several zoom sessions. At some point, it felt like my work had tripled and even though I was no longer going out, I had so much work to do that just wouldn’t end. I was constantly tired, out of breath from non stop meetings and phone conversations. I think students and their parents also felt like I was home and should be able to pick my call and answer their questions 24/7. I was also struggling to keep my home together, couldn’t keep up with meal times, couldn’t clean as frequently as I used to and knew that I had to do something. I had to take some urgent steps to put myself in a better place. Below are the steps I took.

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  1. To-Do List: I realized that I had to focus on my to do list and put only things that were really important and couldn’t be moved to the following day. It simplified my life a lot. It is easy for us to think we can do this and that but are they really important or urgent?
  2. Dedicate a work space: having a section of your home aa your office space can make such a huge difference. It did for me. I won’t lie, I used to carry my laptop with me every where and worked everywhere~ on the dining, on the couch, on my kitchen table and even on the bed. I thought that was easier and thought I was enjoying working from home by being able to work anywhere around the house. I found out that actually worsened things for me. What I did then was to bring out my study table I used during my Honors and Masters programs about 6 years ago, dust it off and polished it nicely and put it in a corner in my bedroom. Yes, bedroom as that was the most quiet place in the house- it’s a really small apartment so I don’t have a study or a spare room to use. Also, it is a room where JBoy knows that he has to knock before entering and when he opens the door, he peeks and asks if I’m in a meeting or if he can ask me something quickly. That worked for me like magic and made my life easier. When I got to that table, I knew it was work time.
  3. Pace yourself: Another thing I had to do was to pace myself. I no longer RSVP’D yes to all video meetings and conferences. Rather, I asked if they could be rescheduled or if the session would run again on another date. When I did this, I realized that those on the other side of the screen are humans like me and simply set a date that worked for us both. My calendar events became reduced and clearer. I was able to select meetings that needed me to RSVP yes to such as fixed meetings and the likes.
  4. Strictly 9-5: I kept my work hours strictly 9-5. I no longer worked outside of those hours except in some very rare occasions that I just had to assist a student after hours. I always made sure to let them know that I had closed for work but willing to assist. What I found was that if I said to a student that I had closed for the day but would assist you, they end up saying that they would contact me in the morning. So I made it a habit and believe when I say this, most have really reduced reaching out to me after 5 and when they do they start with “hi ma’am, I know you have closed for today but…..” or “sorry to bother you after work….” It worked like magic. My work is mostly done through emails and phone/whatsapp so it’s hard to ignore some messages and I prefer to send a quick reply to messages like “why don’t we talk about this at 9am tomorrow ” and they get the message. This step really helped.
  5. Break time: I no longer took my break at some point because everything got muddled up and some calls ran into another meeting and would feel lucky to get a sandwich in or some juice. I stayed being intentional about my break time and made sure to take 30-45 minutes at least on break doing something totally unrelated to work. Maybe just read a novel or drink rooibos tea or play games on my phone.
  6. To-do list again: just before 5 and before closing my laptop, I did a to-do list to help me remember the emails I wanted to start with or students that I wanted to submit their applications the following day. I made sure I was clear on what needed to be done the following day and also gave allowances for any urgent situation that may pop up.

These steps have helped me a great deal and I believe they might work for someone else too. It has made me more productive at my job and I feel less stressed than I was before. I get jobs done more efficiently and my students and parents love me for my job or more like love the work that I do for them โ˜บ

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What has worked for you since you started working fully from home? Are there any steps you took that made you more productive or merely just simplified your work life? Please leave a comment so we can learn more from you.

Thank you for stopping by. Keep well, stay safe. Be kind. Laugh often. Until next time, bye for now ๐Ÿ‘‹

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Reading for Children~ Parental Involvement in Early Literacy

Hello, how are you doing? I hope you are well and keeping safe. This post is for parents with very young children who are just learning to be literate and I write about the approach that works for me as a mom of two children. I title it parental involvement in early literacy.

In 2013, I started my Honours program in Applied English Language Studies and one of the courses I had to study was Early Literacy because I studied on the Education campus. We had to study different forms of literacy and we were asked to do a mini research on a chosen topic. At that time, I was not even married yet and also did not have a child yet but I had so many experiences with parents and their children. I had observed different ways parent chose to be involved in their child’s education. Some were really involved and some were not really involved. As a result of that, a topic that readily came to mind was Parental Involvement in Early Literacy. I did a research find out if it helps a child learn how to read better when their parent is/are involved. It was a case study and it turned out to there was a positive outcome when a parent contributed to the learning development of their child.

Early literacy is how a child is introduced to literacy- reading and writing. It has to do with how parents engage in activities to enhance academic performance. This was proved to have a significant effect on a childs overall performance. I observed a single mother and her 5 year old son at that time. I remember that I used the ORIM (Nutbrown, 2011) checklist as a guide during my observation with them. I would like to share the checklist which I find still relevant today and hope that it will work for someone reading this : )

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O- Opportunities

Opportunities are created for a child when the parents buy books to read and make time available to teach the child how to read. These days, some parents no longer buy traditional books as such, and rather have the children read on tabs and laptops. In this case, books should be downloaded and effort should be made to show the child how to read. Words should also be made available all around the house (or their room)- sight words and high frequency words. This will help with phonological awareness for the child. I did this with my son and currently using the same approach for my daughter who just turned two and I can say that it works. My son was able to read from age three. He is now almost six years old and reads very well, I am actually impressed by his reading skills! I find creating opportunities for them to learn to read is still relevant.

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R-Recognition

Here, recognition is when the parent recognises the childs reading development and achievement by praising them. The parent can do this through a reward system where they receive stickers or high fives, or even a cookie for their achievement. It is up to the parent to decide what reward will work for their child and when to give such a reward. My son loves stickers, there are stickers all over the door of his room and wardrobes. He does not really have a sweet tooth so high fives and stickers work better for him than a cookie or chocolate, for example.

I- Interaction

When a parent interacts with a child, it gives the child a chance to express themselves and use more words. For instance, when a parent asks a child to tell them a story, it gives the child an opportunity to use new words s/he heard and it gives the parent an opportunity to correct the child if the word is used in a wrong context. The parent may also let the child take part in writing the shopping list. My son helps in writing our shopping list and this gives him a chance to sneak in some extra items at times : )

M- Model

The last one is when a parent models how to read to the child. This helps with the right pronunciation. I remember when my son saw a word and asked me if it was grove or groove. He had an idea but was not sure of the right pronunciation. It gave me a chance to model it to him. A parent can also have days where they read out to the child, during bed time stories for example.

I find this checklist is still relevant several years after and I find it useful in introducing my children to reading, especially. This in addition to other tips can help teach or show a child how to read without pressure. Have you read about this checklist before today? Is it helpful for you? Are there other guidelines you know about? Please leave a comment below. I would like to read from you. Also, if you find this helpful, please like and share. Also, feel free follow my blog to read more about education, parenting and lifestyle. Thank you for stopping by. Bye for now๐Ÿ‘‹

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Study Abroad- New Visa Alert

Hello, how are you doing? The week went by pretty fast. I am so excited that today is Friday! End of work week. But is that really the cause for my excitement? Partly. The main reason I am so excited is due to the fact that one of my students got his study visa last Wednesday!! No, it’s not my first visa, I have actually done quite a few few, however, it is my very first family visa. The student, in his mid forties, is going for a Master’s program with his wife and three children. We put in the application on the 7th of December 2020 and received the outcome on 6th of January.

Brief history, the student had applied on his own to a different country and had received visa refusal twice, and that alone was a cause for a little panic, because most of these embassies work together, however, I am a visa queen and mostly only receive visa and not rejection or a refusal. He said to me that probably study abroad was not for him and I said to him him, this time, it is for you. He also has a close knit family and didn’t want to leave them behind as it was a two years Masters program. We started the process. We searched for courses that he had experience in but that would also allow him learn something new. We found it and we applied, he received a conditional offer within the week and we submitted the documents that were requested. He then received the unconditional offer and he made payments. For some reason, it took a while, almost 10 days because before the university received his payment of about 75% of the tuition fee. He had the money that is why he paid that much. Some pay 100% of the tuition as well. What is required is a small fraction of the tuition, usually about 25-35%, to show commitment to the university.

The next part was to make sure that his financials were in order because he had to show funds to prove that he had enough to cover and cater for his wife and children so we calculated the amount and then left the account to “mature” for the stipulated number of days. During the wait, they did the health check required and we worked at getting other documents in place. Long story short, we put in their application on the 1st and 2nd of December and they did their Biometrics on the 7th of December, and the second waiting period started. The wife, a friend of mine, just wanted to start packing, which would be a lot of packing as they had young children so would need to do almost all the pacing. And for me, despite the fact that I was sure I dotted all the “i”s and crossed all the “t”s, I would prefer they received the outcome first before doing that to avoid a “just in case it doesn’t work out” situation. She trusted me. On the day we calculated and thought that they would receive the outcome, the main applicant was emailed and asked to bring in documents for their second child and that the ones they had were not clear.

That was where my doubts started creeping in. We looked through all the documents a thousand times, there were no unclear documents, why would they say the second child’s documents were not clear? Is this a sign of another rejection? Also, some other students who applied after them had received theirs so what could be wrong? He called me a lot to ask, as if I was the visa officer at the embassy : ) but never did I allow my doubts show in our conversations. I allayed his fears and let him know that they would receive it.

First thing on Wednesday morning, he sent me a screenshot of the email he received asking him to come receive the outcome and was setting out. Almost two hours after he sent a message that got me screaming for joy with singing and dancing ( that is how I rejoice). As my husband heard my joyful noise, he knew the visas had come through! It was worth the wait!

Another visa success, this time a family visa and guess what, they are recommending me to everyone they know! Yet again, I have proved to be a visa queen. Sometimes getting visas are tough on the side but I believe that if one is meticulous, which I know I am, especially with work, then visa outcomes would be positive. My colleagues are also excited when I shared the news because we were in it together, they kept saying “Seun, you’ve got this/ you are good at this/ trust yourself more!

Yes, I need to trust myself more. I need to know that I am good at what I do, I need to tell myself to show more confidence in myself. I type this because I know that I need to praise and trust myself more and give myself more credit for what I do. Women (and men), wear many hats and need to function properly- at work work I am an International Student Advisor who deals with about 10-20 students/leads per day through emails, whatsapp and phone calls and even though not all of them convert however, I need to be nice and professional at all times. My job is interesting, used to be more interesting BC (before Covid), or maybe same.

Thank you for stopping by. Feel free to like, if you liked it, or like just to support me while I keep at this. Leave a comment, f you have any questions, I’ll be happy to answer or research it for you. I enjoy research so why not. Bye for now, keep well, keep safe. Until next time.

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How JGirl was born~ Baby #2

Hi, I hope you are well and keeping safe. I am well, thanks for asking : ) First day back at work wasn’t so bad after all. I spent half of it replying emails that had piled up from students’ enquiries and putting in some applications. Some students also called to inform me that they had received their visas. So I can say my day went well. I’ve had dinner and now about to put lil miss J to bed and it is amazing how much she has grown! My baby will be two years old on the first of February! That is less than a month to go. Time flies indeed. Feels like yesterday when I spent three weeks in hospital to have her! Read below a very summarized version of her delivery.

Just like her brother’s birth, I thought I was going for a gynae visit but ended up having my bundle of joy. If you haven’t read about JBoy’s gynae visit turned into a delivery story, here is the link Gynaecologist visit or delivery? He was born at 33 weeks and is now five years old, turns six on the 28th of February (he already knows what cake he wants, usually knows the character cake he wants like a year or two before, lol). I will write about all his cakes and post the pictures off all the ones I find. Both my babies were born in February, not planned at all. One had an April due date and the other was meant to be born in March but I didn’t have the final say. Back to my story.

This time, I no longer had medical aid and had to register at an Academic hospital as that was what we could afford at the time. My first child was born at a private hospital, all fancy and classy, well, we had to face reality and use what we could afford. Thankfully, I received 100% quality of treatment at both hospitals. On the 21st of January 2019, with pregnancy almost 32 weeks, I went for my gynae visit in Pretoria, about 40 minutes from where we live. I got there and joined the queue. When it was my turn, I did all the tests we were asked to do, which included the urine test. We did all those checks before seeing the doctor, actually, a team of doctors because my case was a special case. Due my existing health condition, both my pregnancies were considered high risk. When it was my turn, I went in, and realized that they were not as chatty as before. I like to talk and make people talk as well, making jokes and all but that day was different. They said to me that they found a high level of protein in my urine and that my blood pressure was quite high. I always had low blood pressure, some times even too low so this was strange. I was told that I had to be admitted immediately. Funny enough, the one things that came to mind was my job- what do I say? I only asked for a day off and I had promised that my pregnancy wouldn’t interfere with my job so how was I going to ask for one more day? The doctor wrote me a sick leave note to solve that. I wasn’t too bothered with my son because he and his father got along very well and I knew they would be able to function without me for a few days. Little did I know that I was going to be there for the next three weeks.

Yes, I was there up until the 5th of February, 2019! I was placed on admission on the 21st of January with the hope that the protein in my urine would be back to normal and that my BP would normalize. Well, neither happened and I had to be there till I reached 34 weeks and baby was brought out. The time there was not easy for me. I try not to be a workaholic but I had to have my laptop brought in so I could do some work. Not too much but enough to clear out urgent matters and to keep me distracted from being in hospital. That gave me some sanity, a little bit, lol. My legs also started swelling up so much like I had never seen them before and I gained a lot of weight! I am very small in stature and had never gone past 59kg (pregnancy weight) so when I weighed 68kgs from a normal weight of 52kgs, I am sure you can imagine how swollen and puffy I looked. It was preeclampsia!! My diet was changed and I got so many treatments, all sorts and when it kept worsening, I was given the 1st of February for emergency C-Section and by 10:36am on the date, lil’ miss J was born and I also requested for BTL and got it done same time. Baby weighed 2.01kg and breathed fine but was placed in NICU for 48 hours to be observed. She was discharged two days later, before me! But of course, she had to stay with me till I was discharged on the 5th of February.

I hadn’t done my shopping! Oh no, not again, the exact same thing happened with JBoy and it happened again. I am usually a last minute shopper, for almost everything. So bad that I still shopped a day before my wedding so, yeah, that is my nature and will make plans to change one day. This time however, my sister that did the shopping the other was not available so my husband and one of his friends at that time did my baby girl’s shopping! Can you imagine that at all? They tried, got the basics and then they bought a blanket that I would never have bought had I done the shopping but I had to suck it up hahaha. We still use that blanket till date and lil’ miss J now knows how to say the word “blanket” when she wants me to put her on my back with it. It is our special blankie.

Same lessons from my previous gynae post, things seems really hard when we are in it and experiencing it but looking back now, there is so much to be thankful for. She was born at 34 weeks but did not need the NICU. If she had, like her brother needed it and had to be there for four weeks, we wouldn’t have been able to afford it financially, driving back and forth, visiting, taking expressed breast milk and we wouldn’t have been able to afford renting a place close by so we were grateful that five days after her birth, we both went home. No one was left behind. So grateful to God for that. Also, my mom arrived two days after and I was so glad that yet again, we decided to apply for her visa earlier than necessary so she flew down as soon as she received her visa, literally a day after! So for things like organising a visa or planning an event and bigger things, I am more organised but baby shopping, not so much. That is why we all have our strengths and weakness right?

What do you think about my experience? Being placed on admission at 32 weeks for both pregnancies? Having two preemies? They are now both super healthy and strong. When someone says their water broke, I just smile, I have no idea what that feels like. All in all, I am very grateful and thankful for both of them. So different and yet so alike. Do you know anyone who had a preemie and is worried? Tell them all will be well! I know people’s stories and situations are different but we can draw strength and inspiration and courage from the stories of others! That helped me a lot. I will stop here for now. I know it was such a long read and if you read up to this point, thank you!

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Back to Work- 4th of January 2021

Hello, I hope you are doing well and keeping safe. I am well, actually feel better in my body as I have always struggled with one thing or another in my health but really feel as healthy as I can feel this morning. Today is the 4th of January and I am back to work! Yes, wish I had one more week to “not work” and just play with my kids and keep sharing my husband’s latest music as much as I can as we are are our own marketer and promoter for now. However duty calls and with the nature of my job, I can’t really stay away for long.

I work from home as an International Student Advisor, that is my job title. What do I get to do with my title? I pretty much assist students who want to study abroad. How do I help them? I help them by speaking to them about what they would like to study, where they see themselves in the next five years and all that just to get an idea of what they really want to be. I find that some students are very clear on what they want. Some say to me “I would like to study Business Administration in Netherlands this November” and that’s it while some say ” I think I want to study Engineering or Law or maybe even Economics anywhere nice”. With the latter, it is more work in terms of calling such to students to find out what they really want to do or become and sometimes help them find them double majors or combined programs where possible. This brings me to the next stage.

At the next stage, I help them search for universities in the specific countries they indicated. Like I said earlier, some students are straight to the point and want to apply to just one university in one country while some want to apply to a million universities in 100 countries. With those, we cap applications to about five and assure them that they will get in because as an advisor, I make sure that they meet all requirement to make sure they receive an offer. So this stage is university search and application where I help them put in an application on our agent portal. Some can apply on their own but would just need to put in our details as their agent so we can help them follow up to get a quicker turnaround time.

Once they receive their offers and meet all the conditions on their offer letter, they pay their course deposit and then begin we the visa process because the company I work for also assist with that which is really awesome. Different countries have different outcome time so we wait but usually within a week to four weeks, they receive their visas and they go. Sounds easy but it is a lot of paper work from start to finish.

Does the job sound interesting to you? Well it does to me, I love the job so much especially as I get to actually counsel students along the line. The job sounds like just advise, apply to universities and get them their visas and they go. No, not that simple. I have had to speak to a dad on the phone for 58 minutes. A dad who had the funds to send his 18 year old abroad to study but was really anxious, hesitant and had so many conflicting emotions that I had to help resolve. One of the cons of this job is that on whatsapp, students reach out to me at any point in time to ask me a work related question. I receive a message on a Sunday at 10:35am for example, during church service or even a call. I will talk more about other things I do in my job some other time but now really have to go start. I start from 9am and end at 5pm.

My five year old, turning 6 in February is my timekeeper, at 5:00pm, sometimes 5:32pm or 5:48pm (examples) he comes to say to me “mummy, didn’t you say your work ends at 5:00pm, look up at the clock” and of course, I get to close my laptop! I some times sneak back to work because I might need to quickly send an application form to a student at night so they they get it completed and send it back to me by morning or anything that comes up. I have to go. Thank you for stopping by. I will be back and will actually post more this year about my experiences with work, life, parenting, and many more. Stay tuned. Please like, if you like it and follow, if you would like to read more from me. Do have a lovely day and a wonderfully blessed week. Cheers.

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Mummy, why are you grumpy today?

Hello, how are you doing? How have things been for you personally, mentally, emotionally and ebey other “ally”? 2020 has really been quite the year and has been full of ups and downs. While some are really struggling financially with job loss or salary cuts, some are making it quite big and are super thankful for how much they have been able to achieve. Before I proceed, let me start by saying thank you for stopping by to read from me. I appreciate it : ) Well, how am I doing? Can I really answer that honestly? I will try.

I will start off by saying I am grumpy, yes, grumpy. However, I didn’t come up with that word, my five year old son did. He was playing a 2048 game I had just taught him, looked up and asked me in a straightforward manner “mummy, why are you so grumpy today”? That for me was a loaded question. For one, it meant that I had been that grumpy for him to have noticed and I had a rethink and realized that I had snapped at him and his sister a few times that day. What I would have lovingly or patiently answered was answered in a different way. He noticed. Besides snapping at him, I just wasn’t my usual cheerful and playful self. Why was that?

It was because I let my financial struggles affect my mood so badly that it was so glaring so much so that a child noticed it. I just got to a point where I had enough of constantly only paying bills and my income did not meet up. I started a business in February 2020 with high hopes, however Covid found a way to delay its progress and since it was already established to a certain level, I had to keep digging into my already not enough income to sustain the business and I’m still digging deep. I know that I will still make profit but just wish that I had enough and don’t need to struggle with finances. I wish there was a way to get funding to support but not even sure where to begin with that process.

Secondly, why are you so grumpy today meant that on most days, I wasn’t grumpy lol. The word “today” in the sentence sounded positive to me in the sense that my boy knew that mummy is usually not grumpy or that mummy is mostly in a carefree, grateful mood, almost all the time. We play a lot, we joke so much for ~ he has such a great sense of humor and his sister is quickly picking up tips from him. They make me laugh a lot and make me very grateful to have them in my life. I don’t take that for granted at all. I only some times secretly pray that they wouldn’t experience lack, which I did whilst growing up. I am working hard to prevent that but also trust God to prosper us enough that we wouldn’t experience lack but rather have so much abundance that we can even be a source of blessing to others.

Another thing I can pick out of the grumpy statement is that my son is very observant and caring. He easily notices how I feel and has words for them. If he wants to play catch for example, he would ask me “mummy, what is your energy level? Is it high, low or medium”? If I said low, he would then say “okay, mommy, I wanted to play catch but we can play a board game”. He works with my mood/energy level and always made sure he left me better, happier and even gets me to laugh and become more energetic! He does the same for food. Knows when to ask for a sandwich and when to ask for grilled chicken and chips! He knows when to play with his active 21 month old sister so I can get some rest or get some work done. Also, I work from home and he is my timekeeper “mummy, it is 5pm, you can close your laptop now” and several other instances. He is such a blessing to me.

Finally, I would say that being grumpy doesn’t really change anything positively. I was grumpy but it didn’t mean that the financial situation improved or anything like that, so why worry? I know, it’s easier said than done, especially for me, at this stage of my life where I have so many plans and great ideas that can impact but not stable enough to execute them so I get that feeling of being wasteful with my gifts and ideas or the feeling of hoarding them and not sharing my experiences that could be a blessing or lesson for others, which is not the case.

Moving forward, I will keep being my cheerful self and try as much as possible not to be grumpy anymore. I will find time to write more amidst my 9-5, business, wifely duties, parenting, daughtering, writing a book and so many other functions that I have to “function” in properly. Writing makes me feel better, takes a huge weight off my chest, gives me an avenue to think aloud and generally take me out of my grumpy mood.

So, how are you doing? Feeling grumpy? Why? Try not to be grumpy, not worth it! Thank you once again for stopping by to read this. Feel free to leave a comment and I hope you will stop by next time. Keep well, stay safe and be the best version of yourself!

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My First Birthing Experience ~ JBoy

Hi, I hope you are well and keeping safe. I am keeping safe : ) It is a weekend and I absolutely love the weekends because I get to spend quality time with my children and do other stuff I don’t get the chance to do during work week. I also get to reflect and think about all the things I’ve been through, how I survived and where I am now.

One of the experiences I am currently reflecting on was when at 33 weeks, I went for a gynae visit on a Thursday and had the baby 2 days after ๐Ÿ˜ฒ๐Ÿ˜ฒ yes, that’s right and that is what I am sharing in this post. It was not a funny or easy experience and looking back now, I can only be grateful for strength from above because I wouldn’t have pulled through without it. It is a story about how a gynaecologist visit turned out to be an emergency delivery.

When I was 32 weeks pregnant, I fell down the stairs but I guarded my belly so I thought that since I did and I felt okay, all was well. A few days after, I noticed that my boy was no longer kicking as usual. There was a particular song that I always sang for him which got him kicking every time but it did not work this time. My husband, who plays the saxophone, also had a particular song he played for him and when he did, there was just a tiny little kick like to say, I’m still here. I knew he was still there but wasn’t really himself so I called the gynae to move my weekly visit from Friday to Wednesday and his PA told me he was out of the country. I said to her that I was going to find another gynae to check us asap however the earliest appointment I got was for Thursday at noon. First thing on Thursday morning, we went to pick my mom who had just arrived from a 6 hour trip. The plan was for her to come a little earlier so we could do the baby shopping together. I hadn’t bought anything. Nothing at all! About 8am, I received a call to inform me that my gynae had landed and he could see us at 10am. I was really glad because I was used to him, would have been awkward seeing someone different and narrating the whole pregnancy journey in one visit. Hubby and I got there right on time and when it was our turn, we went in and chatted a bit. He asked some questions during the consultation and said it was time for the scan.

Hmm, as soon as he did the scan, his face changed. The look on his face scared me. He said to us and I quote “we have to get your baby out this weekend”. I said to him, no please, I will rest more, eat better and every other thing I could think of because I suffered anemia throughout the pregnancy so I thought I only needed to take care of myself a little more. However he said to me that the only way my baby could survive was if he was taken out by the weekend and so, without much choice, I got admitted and got the first steriod shot almost immediately, for the lungs to develop.

Long story short, on Saturday, two days after the gynae visit, at 10:18am, my son was delivered and he weighed 1.6kg. He had to be taken out asap due to what was explained to me as “placenta insufficiency”. He was no longer receiving enough blood and oxygen from me which explained why he didn’t have enough strength to kick when we sang/played his favorite songs. Fast forward to date, he is now 5 years old and is very healthy and very intelligent. He makes me super proud and is such a sweet little boy! That is my miracle boy with his little sister in the picture : )

Did I cry during that experience? Of course, several times! The worst part for me was when I was discharged five days after delivery and had to go home without my baby boy. That surely wasn’t the plan, no, not at all. But guess what? I survived it! How? It felt like I wouldn’t be able get through the situation. To be honest, not quite sure but I went to NICU almost every day and took him expressed milk, did the kangaroo anytime the nursing sisters allowed me to and most importantly, I kept praying. It took him a while before he gained 2kg, the special expected weight gain for preemies. He eventually got to 2kg and he could have his first bath!! Exactly four weeks after, we could take him home! Oh the joy and excitement!!

Looking back now, I realize that there are lessons to pick from the experience. Number one, no matter how difficult a situation looks, it will always get better with time and if you believe. I prayed so hard and hoped that we wouldn’t spend more than a week but in the fullness of time (4 weeks) he was discharged. Yes, not as quickly as I wanted but he was discharged and has been with us since then. I am super grateful for how healthy he has been since then. Lesson two, please pay attention to your body and your baby whilst pregnant. Keep a record of kicks and compare. If not sure, see a gynae. I would have seen someone else, just to be sure. The third lesson is that pregnant women should not leave their shopping till the last minute! No, don’t do that!! Start buying things in bits and pieces. My sister had to go and do all my baby shopping in one day and in a rush. She was shopping whilst I was in the theater. I don’t think that would have been a good experience for her and for me as I didn’t get to choose what I really wanted but to be honest, I loved all that she bought. I am sure there are many more lessons from this experience but I will stop here. Please feel free to leave more lessons in the comment section so mothers-to-be can learn from them.

Thank you so much for reading, I am glad you stopped by. What do you think of this experience? The birth of my second child is another lengthy story, for another post๐Ÿ™‚ Have you had any experiences that you look back and are not quite sure how you survived it? Let’s read it, it might encourage someone out there! I hope mine has encouraged someone out there and let them know that they will pull through and all will be well๐Ÿ˜‡ please like and share till someone who needs to read this, gets to read it. And kindly subscribe for more life experiences in short blogs (I hope this qualifies as short).

Keep well, stay safe. Bye for now.

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Heart in my mouth!!

Hi, thank you for stopping by. How are you doing? How have you been? How is work? How is your business doing? It has been a while and all sorts have happened to me but here I am, live and direct!

Today, I am going to write about the event that occurred around this really cute picture that got my heart right in my mouth, yes in my mouth! It was in December, a few years ago when my son was about three years old. He had a playdate with a friend’s child and we had decided to go to a family restaurant called Papachinos because it had a play area and we thought the children could play there and have a nice time there. The particular restaurant actually had two play areas, one inside where one had to pay to get on some rides and another one outside with swings and slides and others they could access for free while we ate.

When we got there, my precious JBoy was really excited because I had taken him there a few times and he loved the place. He started jumping and was pointing to the indoor play area but I said to him, baby, we are playing in the outdoor area today. He was a little upset but got over it quickly. We were seated and placed our various orders, ate and the children kept playing in the outdoor area and were obviously enjoying themselves. Between my friend and I, we took turns looking after our children whilst they played and had a fun date. Then it happened, I suddenly could not find my son. I looked everywhere, no sign of him, I asked his friend where he was, she didn’t know. We asked the waiters, everyone joined us in the search. My friend started to panic but I was calm. Calm because I know the restaurant well and was sure that they wouldn’t have let a little boy leave by himself so I knew he was still inside the restaurant with us. I checked the bathroom, asked a gentleman to help look in the men bathroom. Finally, I went back to the indoor play area to check again, there he was on the horse with this look on his face. Till date, I still have no exact words to express what emotion/s I felt when I found him- relief, joy, anger, understanding, all sorts. Understanding, because I remembered that he initially wanted to play there and I had said no so he had to find a way to get there. Where he was when I first checked and didn’t find him, I guess I will never know but I felt super grateful that we found him. My heart started moving slowly back into its right position.

He had never done anything like that before, ever, which means that he really wanted to play in that indoor area. My thinking was, why pay when there are so many free rides, and I’m guessing his thinking was, why can’t I get on this horse ride, just once and see how it feels : ) He caused me panic but I learned a lot from that experience. The major thing I learned was that I should say yes sometimes, if I can put it that way. Children honestly just want to experience a particular thing and not just “waste” money as we are quick to think.

I must praise myself though! I’ve always been known to be calm and peaceful even in crazy situations but in this experience, I actually outdid myself. I just knew he was going to be found right there and within the restaurant. I also knew that panicking wouldn’t have made much difference during the search. Looking back now, I have surely been more watchful over him and he has also grown to a level where he can effectively communicate and be clear with his requests and making sure I understand why he is making such a request ๐Ÿ˜‡

Yes, that was my heart in my mouth experience. Have you experienced any? At work, family event, vacation? Feel free to share in the comment section๐Ÿ˜„๐Ÿคญ please like, share and subscribe to encourage me. Thank you for reading this. I hope you stop by next time.

Keep well, stay positive, all will be well, if you believe. Bye for now!!

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Does Kindness Really Come Back?

dayne-topkin-u4bZQUeo2Q8-unsplashHi guys, thanks for stopping by to read this. I will make it a quick one : )

Does kindness really come back to you? Does kindness get repaid? Does something happen to you and you are able to link it with something you did for someone else? Do you ever feel like your acts of kindness never gets “rewarded”?ย 

Well for me, there is no straight answer to these questions because for many years, I’ve felt unrewarded for some things I did for people. Not that I expected a reward from the people I was being kind to or helpful towards but I expected that when it is my turn in the future, I would also get help. For example, I’ve always always loved children and helped as many people as I could with their children for as long as I can remember. I babysat children for fre so their parents could go out or go write exams or attend job interviews or simply just rest. At some point back then if a school bus drove past on my street and I was outside, one could hear children calling out my name : ) Those children really enjoyed being with me. Fast forward to now, I thought that I would enjoy the same but no, nothing of that sort. It is either I cancel that event I had planned or hubby stays with the children,ย  almost every time!! That being said, I am glad I helped out those parents years ago, at least now I know how much it meant to them because at that time, it meant nothing to me, I simply enjoyed taking care of children.

However, there is one act of kindness that I did and got rewarded for even though I had no clue that I would. Hubby and I live in a really small 2 bed apartment and because of how things are financially, we let the room out from time to time for Aibnb. One day, we got a request from a friend of a friend asking us to please host their cousin for a week, for free. There was no connection, a friend of a friend’s cousin? Anyway, we accepted to help and guess what? The lady we agreed to help called me, mid way during their journey at a stop over to say that she was coming with her cousin. Hmm, I felt it was too late to complain and hosted them. The lady slept in the guest room and the cousin slept on the couch. We cooked for them throughout their stay and made them feel comfortable. We took them on a mini tour of the city and they generally had a nice time.

A few weeks later, the cousin’s cousin called to ask if I was still job hunting as I had been desperately searching for a job to support my family and so I said yes. Long story short, he helped out, advised and recommended me for a job. I did three interviews and I got the job! Was my act of kindness in hosting a stranger rewarded? Yes. Did I expect it? No, not in the least bit.

Moral of my story, do what you can, help where you can, be kind when you can, reach out, smile to someone. Acts of kindness are usually rewarded but mostly in ways we do not expect. When something good happens to you, it actually might be as a result of something unrelated that you did for someone else, ages ago or weeks ago, depends on how quickly it happens. That is how I choose to see it.ย 

What do you think? Does kindness really come back to you? I would like to read from you and possibly learn a thing or two. Thank you for reading, see you next.ย 

Keep well and stay safe!

Hello August!

From a WhatsApp status

I’m so glad you’re here simply because I already feel blessed, renewed and reenergized!! I had been down and almost out for some months. Nothing even got me excited anymore. But guess what? I’m back and better!! I am thankful for life and so grateful for family/friends who stood by me.

First off, if you know someone who needs assistance or guidance in the process of studying abroad, feel free to reach out to me or recommend me. I’m kind, patient, resourceful, knowledgeable about each stage and I never give up. I will make sure you achieve that dream or goal of studying abroad as long as you have sufficient funds for your tuition, living expenses, visa and health insurance fees and travel costs.

So, just checking, do you have any plans for August? I do. To assist as many students as I can to go study abroad towards the end of this year and early next year. To work more on my blog. To beautify my website. To finish up and publish my two ebooks I’ve been working on. To start a YouTube channel. To spend more time with my husband and children. To try out affiliate marketing on this website and the list goes on!

Truth is, these have been most of my plans for a very long time but I am still trying to figure out how to work it all out somehow without overworking myself. If you are reading this and you have any ideas or tips that you think might be helpful, kindly reach out to me, I will appreciate it.

Back to my question to you, what are your plans for the new month? Make a list and try to achieve them. Pace yourself though. Take each day as it comes and treasure the gift of life and health. Keep safe. Keep well. Be happy as much as you can and be kind to others. Bye for now.

Hello May

Hello May, welcome!! May is special to me because it is my birth month! I was born on the 30th of May and always super grateful. Also, I have two siblings (we’re three women in total) and we were all born in May! Yes May. My mom was not intentional about giving birth to us all in May, it just happened that way. My younger sister was born on the 21st of May, my older sister on the 15th of May and then I was born on the 30th of May!!

I haven’t really ever celebrated my birthday as such so I’m hoping to do something this year no matter how small as it falls on a Sunday. Maybe a small get together if my finance allows that but it would really make me glad if I’m celebrated this year!!

Birthdays make us look back and reflect on how far we have come and also reflect on what we can do better in the following year. Right now, I’m grateful for my job, my side business, friends and family and most importantly my health!! My health has not been 100% but I still get up and push with the hope that I will be perfectly fine one day soon.

What are you happy for in this new month? Any special goals? New plans in the pipeline? Writing a book? Building a house? Relocating? Whatever it is, please go for it and believe that you can do it! For me, I’d like to try affiliate marketing and I’m currently taking some courses and trainings to help me get started. If you have any tips, please drop it in the comment section, I’ll be so grateful to read and learn from you! Thank you for stopping by and do have a wonderfully blessed now month of May!! Bye for now ๐Ÿ‘‹

Tips for getting the best reference letter ~ university application.

Hello, I hope you are well and keeping safe. I am! Today I am just going to jump right in to write about getting a reference letter for your university application. Some call it a letter of recommendation but I prefer to stick to “reference letter”.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

What is a teacher reference letter? A reference letter is a letter written by one or two of your teachers that taught you at high school or a lecturer from university or a supervisor at your work place. This letter highlights yours character, skills, academic abilities, strengths, goals and accomplishments. It is an important letter because it helps you stand out among other applicants.

There are two major types of reference letters, an academic one and a professional one. For an undergraduate application, in most cases, only an academic reference letter is required which is mostly referred to as a teacher reference because a teacher who has taught you previously should be the one to write it for you. Some universities require just one while some prefer two reference letters.

At postgraduate level however, they require two letters from applicants who have had a chance to work after their Bachelor’s degree. In this case, they prefer to receive an academic reference and a professional one. The academic one, much like the teacher reference should be written by a lecturer who taught you whilst at university. The professional one on the other hand should be written by a senior colleague where you work.

There can be slight changes for instance, if your lecturer or research supervisor relocates, s/he can still write you a reference letter. That has happened to me before when my supervisor relocated to the US to work at another university. Such letter would still be accepted because he once taught me and supervised my research.

So here are my tips below for getting a perfect reference letter.

  1. Be awesome at school, university or work! Let your character speak for you
  2. Keep in constant touch with your favorite teacher, lecturer, professor, senior colleague, supervisor or boss.
  3. Approach someone who would happily write you a reference and write great things about you and sing your praise๐Ÿฅณ
  4. Thank them once it’s been done, you might need to approach them again for another letter of reference.

Universities request for reference letters in different ways one by asking for an already written letter with the company letter and stamp; whilst some just require contact details of your references especially where they work, position, email address and phone number.

with these tips, you should get a perfect letter of reference to support your university application. Here is wishing you all the best! Don’t relent, don’t give up. Keep trying. You will make it. Thank you for stopping by. I hope to see you next time. Please like and share to anyone who might need to read this. Keep well, bye for now๐Ÿ‘‹

Study Abroad-new visa alert story

Hello, how are you doing, I hope you are well, and keeping safe. How is work? How is business? I am okay. Just glad that another Friday is here! I get to rest and send more time with my family. I also would get a chance to write and work on some projects for my clients. This week, I got a new visa alert! This student is special to me because I had empathy for her and her situation. She applied to study an Engineering program at Postgraduate level and needed to be on campus asap! One because there were practical courses she need to be there for and two because everyone else was already on campus so she felt like she was missing out a lot by not being there.

Normally when I get a student assigned to me, I ask them how they plan to fund their studies and immediately begin to let them know the embassy requirements for their study visa in terms of financial proof. That way, they start planning to make sure all is order. However, with this one, she was referred to me, through the company I work for, by a university representative of where she applied to. She was stuck. Her bank statement didn’t meet up. So she couldn’t get her CAS letter. I then set up a meeting with her and then had a long call with her to explain what was really required and other things she needed like the TB test and all. She got the bank account sorted but we needed it to mature for 28 days! That seemed like 28 years to her but we waited. There are some situations in life where one just has to wait. When we applied for CAS, she was told that due to exchange rate, she was short by 168GBP. I am sure you can imagine how she felt! I had to think on the spot for a quick solution, we surely couldn’t wait another 28 days. I spoke to the university and suggested that she paid the difference towards her tuition fee rather than into her bank account to avoid the wait. That worked out and she got her CAS.

Photo by Drew Beamer on Unsplash

Next was the actual visa application. She rushed and put in the application, didn’t really check with me and made some errors that could no longer be changed as she had already proceeded to the payment stage. It was either she canceled and start over or applied like that. I suggested that she write a letter, called an addendum, to explain the two mistakes to the visa officer. She did that and then we started another waiting period. After 3 weeks, she received an email to inform her that a decision had been made and she could collect. She went there and her passport couldn’t be found! Yes, missing passport. She went again after 2 days, still nothing and was told she would receive a call when the passport was found. Anyway, it took almost two weeks before she finally received her passport with her study visa!!! She was really excited. It was a “victory at last” situation. Now we still have to wait till when we get an all clear information that she can travel to the UK for her studies. There has been conflicting information and we think it’s better to wait.

That was quite an experience for me as a study advisor, never experienced anything like that but I’m really glad that we got the desired outcome. I’ve come to find out and accept that I don’t give up on anything. I prefer to keep trying until it works out. There was a visa situation where the student had been rejected twice before being referred to us. With the looks of the situation, it seemed pointless to assist and no one wanted it. I took it up and she got the visa and is now in her second year in the US.

Photo by Hello I’m Nik ๐ŸŽž on Unsplash

If you need a study advisor or know someone who does , feel free to contact me by email contact@oluseungsc.biz and I will offer a free consultation to get the process started. Thank you for stopping by. Please leave a comment of questions if you have any. Until next time, eat well, rest well, drink lots of water, smile and be happy. Bye for now