Greek Gift – Beware of Greeks bearing gifts 9 mins read “I fear the Greeks
“The light at the end of the tunnel is your life; it’s the tunnel that is temporary.” Michael Josephson
With drooping shoulders, I sauntered into the 5th floor of the federal ministry of communications building at Obalende, where my dad worked to express my disappointment and distraught at the way the admissions turned out. This wasn’t the way we had planned it and there was no way I would be studying mathematics in the university when I had spent a third of the semester in the engineering faculty taking classes and writing tests!
If they had offered me a course in the engineering faculty perhaps I could have been placated. But the faculty of Science!!!!- No way. Thoughts of defiance were already raging in my head, I was 17 and there was nothing to lose. I had a bit of time on my hands and I was willing to gamble.
When I walked into my dad’s office, he was very warm and understanding. He shared a bit of my sentiments and encouraged me to keep my head up. But when he suggested that in the meantime I register for the course ,while he would speak to some of his contact, it suddenly felt like it was me against the world!
The school had announced that all those on the new admission list had only one week to accept the offer and register for the session or forfeit the admission. At this point I didn’t care much.
Since I wasn’t cut out to running away from home – in actual fact there was no place to run to, I resigned to my room throughout that week hoping to avoid registration at least until the grace period elapsed.
So I stayed in my room, alone, observing a self-imposed solitary confinement. I avoided contact with my folks and only had my meals when they were away from the house. I literally pretended to be invisible the moment my folks got back in from work during the week.
When I woke up on Friday morning, it was my dad and his cousin literally all up in my business. They already had enough of my sulking and goofing around and it was the last day for registration. They ordered me to get dressed and marched me into the car. I was going to be registered that same day at the university. They wouldn’t allow this opportunity to pass by as they had put in a lot to get to this point.
And so, I sat in the car helplessly and silently watching the familiar streets of satellite town race by until all I saw was speeding view of trees and buildings as the car raced towards Yaba. If you had the chance to catch a glimpse of my facial expression throughout that 1hour trip, it looked like all shades of dejection, anger, despair, helplessness and sadness painted all over. I was fighting a battle I stood no chance to win.
I remember that in anger I had left the house with only a few of the documents required for the registration (I suppose that was deliberate) and I didn’t go with a passport photograph hoping that it would thwart the registration.
Many years later, I stumbled upon the passport photograph taken that day somewhere outside the university of Lagos campus gate. That picture was a reminder of my travails and feeble attempt at defiance. I swore never to look as ugly and menacing ever again. That would count as the ugliest picture ever taken till date. I had the stern look of a thug and the piercing look of a forlorn teenager who was begging for help. I had my head deliberating tilted in an awkward position as though to invalidate the picture with a shirt that was half buttoned.
As far as my folks were concerned, they didn’t care how I looked, as long as it had my face on it.
That passport photograph- in multiple copies, was attached to all the supporting documents I signed off that day at the Faculty of Science administrative office, and I was fully registered as a student in the University of Lagos.
I simply couldn’t believe that I was a full-fledged student in the University of my choice but sadly registered for the wrong choice of course to study. This wasn’t how I envisaged my journey through the higher institution.
The Light at the end of the tunnel
If there was anything to be forever grateful for, it was that I had gotten a new Jamb form and was well poised to write another examination in pursuit of my career dream. That would invariably mean losing a whole year. But I swore not to spend that year studying mathematics.
My contrite and pensive mood, followed by dogged determination to not give in until I got what I wanted prompted my folks to look up-country for other options.
My Jamb score now was testing the waters at the Obafemi Awolowo University, where the academic session was yet to commence and my mum fancied our chances of getting admission into the faculty of engineering at the institution.
A few visits and a good many phone calls later, OAU welcomed an 18year old student of the University of Lagos, who in pursuit of his dream had demonstrated the tenacity and determination not to settle for less.
With the benefit of an excellent memory, I remember that I got jeers from a good many of prospecting student who eventually turned out to be my colleagues and great friends, when during the initial registration at the faculty, like a duckling tailing the mother duck, I walked in tow of my mother, as we shunted the long queue to enquire if my name was on the admission list.
In the end, I didn’t have to write the JAMB examination again, although I did, as I gained admission to study civil engineering at the prestigious Obafemi Awolowo University. Great Ife!!!
It therefore doesn’t matter what the situation about your life is, you really shouldn’t be settling for less than you desire, deserve or dream. Life calls for completeness and not perfection. If you believe in whatsoever you have set your mind to, despite the beat down, the talking down, the almost impossible outlook, keep the faith, look ahead, put in the right attitude and a great spirit, the fault is definitely not in our stars, it is in our lack of sustained effort and energy that continues to blight our journey.
Every human has the substance required to weather the storm of life, it could be a stroke of luck, good fortune or unrepentant desire and effort or whatever you’d like to call it, but irrespective of the situation, we are the master of our own fate and even the very last effort can provide the breakthrough.
As a final salvo, permit me to leave you with this beautiful piece of encouragement;
“The Point of greatest tiredness is just before the goal is reached”
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