Letter to Self VII

Dear Emmanuel,

It is my absolute pleasure to write what is my last letter to you, at least in the Letters to Self series. I think it is most appropriate, firstly, to acknowledge the significance of these letters to self. Why have I been writing letters to myself since 2014? The main reason is to mark the present point in time. Time passes and so many things happen. There is an abundance of meaning that is left unrecognised when we ignore or fail to note what is happening around us, what reoccurring thoughts we are having, what lessons we are learning. Time is always in motion and is not waiting for those slow to respond. Through these letters, I have documented my reoccurring thoughts and lessons. These documentations are invaluable for future reflection, though I will not be able to remember all that was once lived or relive the emotions of the moment, I will have these letters to read again. In this letter, I address the 19-year-old Emmanuel from the first letter to self.

(Photograph of 19-year-old Emmanuel in May 2014)

I ponder on what you said in your first letter in 2014, to persevere and never give up on your dreams and aspirations because they are attainable. How right you were! I wish to hug and tell you 19-year-old Emmanuel from May 2014 that you persevered and achieved those dreams you imagined. You also very touchingly urged me to be proud of my identity and never to give up on it. These are words I intend to hold dear to my heart always. I intend to always be proud of my identity, of where I have come from and never to give up on my identity.

The remainder of your letters to self have focused on your higher educational journey, as you discuss choosing media production as an area of specialism, encountering research and seeing it change your outlook on life, embracing research wholeheartedly via the decision to undertake a PhD, making To Grow a Tree as part of your research journey, and experiencing feelings of crisis in your PhD experience because of political events in Nigeria. With this letter, I conclude this journey and tell you the journey was worthwhile. You achieved what you wanted!

You went into higher education wanting to study Media because you saw in it an opportunity to express yourself. You saw its potential to reach people with meaning, in a heartfelt, personal and creative way. You wanted to explore something ultimately meaningful and share it with a wide audience of people who would engage irrespective of where they come from. So, though your PhD was in education, you made a documentary-film as part of it, to remain true to your reason for going to university. You did that PhD and completed it and made that film and screened it!

The screening was a fulfilment of the dreams and aspirations you talk about in your first letter. The ideas of identity and belonging that you realised, developed into the focus of your PhD. Being so far from home at a young age, it felt like a struggle to understand who you were and where you belonged, and what you were to do with the fact that you were in a very different society to where you came from, at 19 years old at the time of your letter! But I wish to hug you again and tell you it finally made sense. The experience of being far from home is very deep and heavy to bear. You were also not alone with this feeling. Through your work, you have made sense of this far from home experience and helped people process similar feelings. You have made a difference! Your walk has not been in vain.

Well, I guess this is it. It is providential that my last letter to self is also the seventh in the series. Seven is the biblical number of fullness or completeness. There is a future ahead and in response, I look to God for sustenance. Because God knows the future, I am confident, content and at peace trusting him.



Letter to Self VI

Dear Emmanuel

It is nice to write my sixth letter to you on your birthday. It is such an interesting experience to read your thoughts and observe patterns and changes as time goes by.

I wish to congratulate you on reaching your third year of PhD study. 2020 has not been the most straightforward of years, but you have tried consistently to move forward in life.

As I read your last letter, I noticed how focused you were on keeping its content ‘professional’, by focusing primarily on your PhD and film. Though they are great feats, I would like to highlight this time around that, your thoughts have been dominated recently with the fight back in Nigeria against evil and injustice. You have been concerned about how you can make a contribution to this fight.

While you may not have all answers right now, and may feel sometimes that you are making no real contribution, you are learning to remain present in the moment, and not let it catch you idle.

Because of events you have witnessed this year, it has grown more apparent to you, that the future is always uncertain. Nevertheless, you have learned as well that uncertainty is no reason for fear. I have no idea what I would write you next year, but it is okay too that I do not know. 

God be with you always and happy 26th.

With love,


Letter to Self V

Dear Emmanuel

It truly is a pleasure to write to you again. 

The last time we conversed, you were just about starting your PhD. What an incredible feat that is! It shall make the key theme and talking point of this letter.

Your first year went really well, you challenged yourself by staying dedicated to the writing of your literature review. You now have over 11 thousand words, look at you! That’s not bad at all if you ask me. You also managed to present your research to the public, on two occasions. I say well done to you. Keep going and don’t give up!

During this period, you have discovered the need for balance, and its consequent significances across all aspects of your life. It’s good to let you know that you have made improvements on this front, and you now pay closer attention to personal, emotional and social commitments around you.

I wish to congratulate you on the release your film: ‘To Grow a Tree‘. It has been interesting to learn of the importance of lived experience in everyday life, for international students, as well as other people in society. You are currently working on a new film which you hope to release in 2021. I would like to wish you the best on all stages of its production.

Well, this is it once more. Let me know how you get on, I look forward to receiving a letter from you soon.



Letter to Self IV

DSC02119Dear Emmanuel

It truly is a pleasure to write to you again, as I have been looking forward to it so eagerly!

So much has happened since we last conversed. 2017 was an amazing year which saw you experience so much growth, across several aspects of your life. It was your postgraduate study year! and it brought along so many lessons which shall undoubtedly come in handy in due time and season.

Upon completion of your Masters, you searched desperately to identify the right path for your future. This, surely, was a PhD – as you came to discover after several attempts knocking on wrong doors. It seemed solely challenging at first, as you wrote your research proposal. Nonetheless, that challenge made room for curiosity, which produced motivation; then drive, and finally, passion!

You applied for a studentship. I am happy to let you know you got it, and shall be starting a brand new journey as a PhD student at Coventry University in September!

Spending four months at home in Nigeria allowed for you to connect to the best of what’s gone into you. This gave you eyes to see, and a heart that discerns. 

It is clear to see, the pain from the depression you wrote of – in your last letter, made way for joy! This joy which you, I, now live and revel within everyday. I am what I am by the grace of God.

I am super excited about this new phase and look forward to embracing all it brings. Until next year!



Tolu's letter

Letter to Self III


Dear Emmanuel,

I hope you are doing well.

I promised to write to you again after completing my undergraduate studies. I am glad to let you know that, despite all the difficulties you faced with your Final Project, you still managed to achieve a 2-1 overall, which was quite good. You also graduated with all of your friends, who were with you during all of the stressful periods of university. That was amazing!

2016 was a life-changing year for you. You finally experienced international research in Milan. This changed your outlook on life and furthermore deepened your desire for further international exposure.

You had some very low moments in the year due to frustrations faced with job seeking, and the depression that followed afterwards.

I’m glad to let you know it was a blessing in disguise, because you learnt to get out of your comfort zone and start to demand more out of life.


Also, and very importantly, it encouraged you to pursue your Master’s degree in Communication, Culture and Media, with the help of a scholarship from Coventry University. This is a fantastic opportunity for you to construct your reality and mould whatever you desire into existence.

The only thing that matters at this moment is the present. It’s a new chapter with fresh experiences. I look forward to writing to you again next year!

Kind regards,



Letter to Self II


Hi Emmanuel

I hope everything is going well. I read your letter to my present self; thanks for the motivation and kind words. You also stated last year, that you were unsure about the area of media you would eventually venture into; and told me to make that decision at the end of my second year. Well, I am glad to let you know that I chose media production, as it provides a brilliant opportunity of self-expression, and I really enjoy doing it too. I am now about entering my final year of university, where I hope to work extremely hard whilst maximising my entire UK experience. I will write to you again when this is done and dusted.



A Letter To Self


Dear Emmanuel,

How are you doing? I hope you are fine. You have been pretty stressed lately. I aim to encourage you to persevere and never give up on your dreams and aspirations, because I believe they are attainable. I want to advise you to take up opportunities that come your way, as they are great chances for you to showcase yourself to the world! Also, always be proud of your identity and never give up on it. You are still undecided about the area of media meant for you. I want to advise you to make that big decision towards the end of your second year as you would be more experienced and knowledgeable by then. Until then, I would like to wish you the best of luck.

Yours faithfully,