Building Your Social Capital

There is something in life called "Social Capital." The people you know; the people who know you and how they know you.

Quite unfortunately, people think or behave like social capital is only needed on weddings, burials, sickly etc. and in the context of academia, when you have already failed in a unit(s), missed a course, unable to pay school fees, etc. etc. That is why you see someone who has not contacted you in many years, out of the blue, they are sending you a message, "Hello so and so, long time. Btw, next Sunday is my pre-wedding. I need your support." kind of messages. In the context of academia, you will see a message like "Hello so and so, long time. Btw, I was deregistered and so I cannot access my account. I need your help." While these messages are not wrong by themselves, this is not a foster to social capital creation.

Social capital is not built overnight; it is reciprocal and does not need money (especially in this virtually connected world) to build. It just needs being sensitive that people have emotions and that you can't sneak into their lives only when you need help. It must be built over time with even frequent salutations.

Social capital is massively important and when built and used correctly, it can make a very big difference to one's quality of life. It can save you money, make you money, get you a better job, make things for you easier and safer, it can save you from prison, or save your life: it can save you time and effort, and make life more enjoyable and productive.

As we progress through the year, please learn to connect with people in your circles. Check on people, send someone a birthday message, check their timelines and comment something positive and inspirational. Pick your phone and call someone or text them. It could be your relative, your colleague, your former schoolmate, a former or current boss, your CEO, your parents etc.

Creating a connection with people is important for building your social capital. And even if they don't respond, at least keep in touch, and don't just reach out when you are in need

Most importantly, respect everyone no matter their status in life and be there when others need you. Be a solution, an encouragement and inspiration. Avoid being a leech, a user or nagger. Just be a nice person who in a calculated way stays in touch with people and brings joy, encouragement, and hope. If you asked for helped or even got help without asking, remember to always appreciate those that supported or directed you. If they referred you, remember to mention to them the outcome of your encounter. It is good manners.

The most important asset you have in life is not your job, money, or title; its People Thank you.


Allow me, from the mentorship department, to encourage you to hold onto FORTITUDE especially at this quite difficult time to any student on the globe. The following are some of the areas where, especially AIU, students are really getting pressed hard against the wall of life:

  • Leaning new ways of learning (remote learning)
  • Getting the technology/Laptops/Phone etc to remotely learn
  • Getting the means i.e. bundles/internet: Some cannot access good internet signals even if they afford it, some are in war zone areas and settling down for a study is not easy
  • Getting ample time: Several students are engaged in home chores e.g. attending to cattle, farm work etc. and some parents do not understand what this remote teaching is all about…. Balancing work and studies are becoming difficult each day
  • Lack of Money… this is becoming rare and rare every day and the student is really suffering

Therefore, these among other challenges are instilling fear in us to a greater extent. We need to be encouraged to embrace fortitude amid all these challenges and taking them in positively.They are now part of our New Normal.

What is fortitude: It is the virtue that ensures firmness in difficulties and constancy in pursuit of the good. The third cardinal virtue, according to St. Thomas Aquinas, is fortitude. While this virtue is commonly called courage, it is different from what we think of as courage today. Fortitude allows us to overcome fear and to remain steady in our will in the face of obstacles. However, it is always reasoned and reasonable, meaning, the person exercising fortitude does not seek danger for danger's sake. Prudence and justice are the virtues through which we decide what needs to be done; fortitude gives us the strength to do it.

Fortitude is the only one of the cardinal virtues that is also a gift of the Holy Spirit, allowing us to rise above our natural fears in defence of what is right. Fortitude strengthens the resolve to resist temptations and to overcome obstacles.

It is often called manliness or courage. The virtue of fortitude enables one to:

  • Conquer fear, even fear of death.
  • Face trials and persecutions.

Fortitude strengthens the will to face up to difficult situations and overcome obstacles in accordance with right reason.

Acts of Fortitude.
  • Fortitude inspires the will so that it can choose the difficult good without being affected by the emotions of fear and daring.
  • Its acts take care of restraining fear and moderating daring of someone who either does not fear the dangers that he could and should fear (indifference), or rejects the verdict of prudence when facing danger that he could and should fear, when facing danger thoughtlessly (recklessness).
  • Therefore, the acts characteristic of fortitude consists in resisting and attacking. The main act of fortitude, therefore, is to resist, i.e. remaining strong in the face of danger.
Fortitude in Ordinary life.

There are many manifestations of fortitude in ordinary life. E.g.

  • Making demands on ourselves at work, reading, study, pastimes. We are naturally created risk averse and lazy. However, encouraging ourselves to read for instance remotely even where we feel exhausted is a sign of fostering fortitude.
  • Not complaining about working, studying and other inconveniences. We are now receiving assignments left right and centre and we ae feeling exhausted and tired. These coupled up with home chores and the earlier mentioned challenges are highly stretching us. We however need fortitude. Brace on.
  • Determination in front of difficulties, without giving in to tranquillity, comfort, fatigue.
  • Fortitude is necessary to conquer fear to fulfil those duties that are hard
  • To resist peer pressure. Etc.

An important aspect of this virtue is the interior strength that helps to fight more frequent obstacles like shyness, cowardice, impatience, vanity laziness, etc. We can always build it. It is possible especially this Covid-19 season. Furthermore:

  • Fortitude also enables one to speak of God without fear,
  • To correct those that work badly honestly,
  • To demand on others to fulfil their duties where they are meant to.
  • To have initiatives and making the effort to put them into practice
  • For those in positions of responsibility, fortitude and prudence helps them to defend the spirit and rules of the organization in which they work. You are now part of these remote studies. Let us keep that spirit a is. Let us grow it. Let is spread wide for our own good, the good of AIU and the good of God our maker.

Student, we wish you all the best in your lessons and we wish you well in your forthcoming examinations. Do not fear. Have courage. This is part of life and to serve God in all that we do, we MUST do THIS.

Soon, we will organize for zoom meetings/Ms. Teams mentorship meetings to motivate and walk with each student while you are working from home.

Next time we will look at Virtues Attached to Fortitude and how to foster them.