International Day of Education 2024: Interview with Cherry Silas

Cherry Silas

I like to call Cherry the queen of personal development because, over the years, she has demonstrated her passion for becoming a better person and the poster girl for reinventing oneself. Cherry Silas, a Lawyer by profession, celebrates International Day of Education by inspiring young people with her story. In this interview, she brings an air of hope to anyone interested in creating their desired future.

I think personal development is for everyone. It must be constant as the world is constantly evolving and people must build skills that will help them move forward in an ever-evolving world. You can only give the world what you are, and most of these things can be fine-tuned. The better you are, the more value you can give the world. I don’t subscribe to the idea of becoming a perfect person, but we can always strive towards perfection.

Hello Cherry, can we get to know you?

My name is Cherry Silas. I am a lawyer and I am passionate about personal development, I create awareness about personal development and I create resources on personal development.

Why have you chosen to focus on personal development?

I think personal development is for everyone. It must be constant as the world is constantly evolving and people must build skills that will help them move forward in an ever-evolving world. You can only give the world what you are, and most of these things can be fine-tuned. The better you are, the more value you can give the world. I don’t subscribe to the idea of becoming a perfect person, but we can always strive towards perfection.

There are a lot of distractions everywhere, if you haven’t developed yourself and understood who you are, chances are, you will fall off track. This is why personal development is important.

I also got to know that you were the best-graduating student of your set, why did you choose to study law? Can you tell us your education story?

I did not choose Law; Law was chosen for me. Initially, I wanted to be a medical doctor. I however had to face my reality as I struggled with Chemistry. Unfortunately, I did not have any art background at that time, but I told my parents that I wanted to switch to arts and my dad advised me to explore Law. I had to repeat SS1 to start art classes and eventually chose Law as a career path.

I got admitted to Nasarawa State University and began my journey in law. When I began my journey, I had it at the back of my mind that I wanted to graduate with a First Class. My family believed in my ability to be on top of my class and by the grace of God, my grades all through university were really good. I wasn’t always the top student in class, in 300 level, my grades took a dip as I was a bit distracted and struggled a bit with Criminal Law. However, in 400 level, I managed to pick myself up and get really good grades. I already knew my chances of getting a First Class were low, but I was determined to graduate with a 4-point GPA and a Second Class Upper at least.

I was privileged to have the support I needed while at university – from friends, colleagues, lecturers and my parents. My friends were just as driven as I was and we kept each other accountable. Overall, I enjoyed my university journey.

Starting my degree on a good note was a great booster. It made it easier to maintain tempo and aim higher. This is how I was able to make it as the best-graduating student of my set.

One thing I have observed about you over the years is that you know how to enjoy things. You know how to have a good time wherever you find yourself.  How did you get that mindset? Was it a mindset you consciously developed?

Yes, it was a mindset I consciously developed. However, my mum is also like this. I come from a home where no matter how bad the situation is, there is always something to be excited about.

I have a melancholic temperament and I am more prone to sadness, depression, anxiety etc. Growing up, I discovered that things are not always black and white and things may go wrong no matter how many things you do right. Therefore, it became important to protect my mind and to protect my happiness. I make conscious efforts to be happy and not surrender myself to my temperament.

I also learnt over time that people like being around happy people. So, I had to change. It also started affecting my productivity and I had to learn to choose to be happy no matter what.

My Faith has also helped me on this journey. Leaning into the fact that the joy of the Lord is my strength has also helped me stay this way. I try to be intentional about enjoying every moment and staying happy.

What are your thoughts on girl child education in Nigeria?

Generally, education is important to everyone. The essence of education is to help you gain a deeper knowledge of things and gain a perception of how the world works. Education equips a person mentally, emotionally, and intellectually and gives a person more to contribute to the world. Education is important for everyone as it opens up several doors.

The state of education for the girl child in Nigeria is pitiable. It seems to be worse in Northern Nigeria and must not be neglected. Girls have as many rights as boys have. Certain things must be accessible to us all, not based on gender but simply because we are human beings and we need these things to thrive more in society.

The provision of child education is not limited to formal education alone. It can go as far as ensuring that schools are safe for girls and women. There are several cases of sexual harassment and sexual assault of ladies who are trying to get educated. It doesn’t say well of any country interested in developing their country. In addition to ensuring that girls go to school, we must ensure that girls are safe in schools. Lecturers who sexually harass young girls should face the law.

Basic education is important, as long as anyone gets a solid foundation, it is easier to thrive in society. It builds confidence within a person and equips them with all it takes to face the world. Instead of having young girls hawk on the streets, stay at home or get married early, they should be allowed to attain education and gain more exposure. Girls and women should not be denied opportunities to make something out of their lives and contribute to society.

If you had an opportunity to speak to a policymaker in Nigeria about making the education system better, what would you say to such a person?

First of all, schools must be made safe for students to study. We hear stories of students being kidnapped from schools and it implies that more can be done to secure students. Once a student gets to school, that student becomes the responsibility of the school and once the student leaves school, the child becomes the responsibility of the parents. Unfortunately, parents leave their children in the care of the schools/government and the system fails them. The security situation should be looked into. It is about 10 years since the Chibok girls went missing and we have no concrete answers.

Secondly, there should be penalties for any lecturer who requests sex from any student for grades. There have been no concrete examples of lecturers who have misbehaved and gotten punished. Examples should be made of offending lecturers.

I will also advise the government to look at infrastructure in Nigeria. The government should invest in ICT learning as the world is evolving. The technology automatically makes things easier.

Lastly, the welfare of these lecturers/academic staff should be taken care of so the incessant strikes can come to an end. There are even cases of lecturers not showing up for the whole semester in some universities. Things cannot continue this way; something needs to be done to ensure the lecturers are present and do the needful.

Thank you so much for your time Cherry. I trust your story will inspire young people like us around the continent. Wishing you the very best with all that you do!

You can find Cherry Silas here

You can find her personal development resources here

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3 Responses
  1. Very good innovation.. The girl child just must deliberately be secured and guaranteed an opportunity to get the best of Western education. Indeed, the situation in Northern Nigeria is pathetic especially when viewed in the perspective of early marriage for the girl child.

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