Getting into the university didn’t look as complicated as people painted it. I felt it was just to read, pass and get into the university just like my older siblings did, well, it wasn’t the same for me. After I concluded my secondary education in 2010, I wrote UTME and my result was seized because of the high rate of malpractice reported in the center I wrote my exam, every candidate that wrote UTME in that center experienced this too. Quickly, my dad obtained the form into OAU remedial program, still, I didn’t meet up with the cut off into the course combination of my choice, then I tried writing UTME again the next year, 2011.
I still didn’t get up to 200 which was the pass mark for the school of my choice, OAU. I tried getting into the remedial program again, finally, I passed and started the program in January 2012 and it lasted for 9 months or there about, at the end of the program, I failed again. I didn’t meet up with the cut off mark required for the course I was really interested in studying (nursing) but luckily for me, since it was compulsory for all pre-degree students to write UTME, I had another chance to write the exam.
I passed and went further to write the post UTME which I also passed. Finally, I was offered admission to study Agric extension and rural sociology. Though the course wasn’t what I wanted, I had to accept it, after all, it was something. At first, I was excited about it, when I got in, everything seemed fine but at a point I realized I wasn’t interested in whatever it was I was doing. “It’s Agric anyway, there’s nothing I can use the degree for”, I thought.
My elder sister who was in her final year noticed my attitude towards my academics and encouraged me to pick up another UTME form but it seemed impossible to me. Write another UTME? Nah. By this time, my younger brother had written UTME just once that year and got admission into 2 universities and was given the course of his choice, he was actually contemplating on which university to pick. My mum kept comparing me to my siblings, my friends were all in school, so I thought, writing UTME again didn’t look like an option for me.
As time passed as an undergraduate, my body couldn’t stand the stress of standing in laboratory for hours doing one practical or the other. I started falling sick regularly, I had swollen legs that inhibited my movements. The doctors were diagnosing all kinds of diseases, coupled with my lackadaisical attitude towards my academics. I started failing courses but I didn’t care because I could write them again.
In my second year, I had missing results, failed courses plus my physical weakness. I didn’t want to go on, I was tired physically and mentally. The thought of repeating that failed organic chemistry exam scared me. It didn’t even look like I was going to make it far. I spoke to my dad. I opted out of OAU and was ready to settle for anything less even if it was just to go to a college of education around my house so I’ll have a degree for degree sake.
My parents were not happy but they were ready to support me all the way no matter the decision I made. They felt it was my decision to make. They never forced any course or school on us. They only did their best to advise us, but then, there was a family friend that heard about the choice I was about to make and opposed my decision. She said I mustn’t settle for less. She Introduced to me to a tutorial center named ADAMS COLLEGE in Oshodi, Lagos State, owned by Mr. Adams Adebola, that was already in October 2014.
Mr. Adams told me that if I was determined to do anything, I could get it done. I was a science student but I got interested in psychology because then in OAU, I had up to 4 Psychology roommates and I loved what I heard about psychology. It sounded interesting but it was a social sciences course and I had to write government in my UTME in 2015. I had never done it before. I had just 6 months to prepare for Government, Economics, Mathematics and English. Which was different from the normal Biology, Chemistry, Physics and English I always did.
I was so scared and wanted to opt out again but I was encouraged by Mr. Adams. He said I knew sciences because I was taught and same way, I’ll know social sciences because I’ll be properly taught. With determination, I patiently learnt everything I needed to know. Mr. Adams pumped positivity into me in every Mathematics class. We learnt to solve maths problems without the use of calculators, He celebrated my little victory, victory of moving from a 30 to 40 in my monthly mock tests, then from a 40 to a 50 and to a 60. He did this to every student of his.
This very act gave me strength to try again and again. He also taught me that hard work definitely pays. I never really believed that but I decided to give it my all and I worked hard, read hard and prayed hard. It wasn’t a good moment for me because I was even the negative voice to myself, I felt time had passed and I was already getting too old to be in the university and that wasn’t the plan I had for my life. I was used to my mum comparing me to my siblings, so I kept comparing myself to my mates.
I felt everyone was moving forward and I was stagnant. But in Adams college, I purged myself of all negative vibes and put my heart to working hard on my studies. Today, it’s all history because I’m graduating this year, 2019 with a Second class upper degree in Psychology from the University of Ilorin and I plan to further my education later in future. It wasn’t easy all through school too, people passed negative comments about me that I was too serious and all but I never cared because I knew we had different drives. I was determined to finish well at all cost and my family was supportive.
My family was my drive, I didn’t want to disappoint them again. My sister was already a Barrister, my brother was a Banker, the last born an Engineer. I was proud of them and I wanted them to be proud of me too. I wasn’t ashamed. I was bold to tell anyone that cared to listen that I was still an undergraduate. I had a drive to make my parents proud and their efforts over me fruitful.
I want you to know that it’s never late to try again. Grab every chance and opportunity thrown at you and utilize it and if it doesn’t work out, try again. Whether you like it or not, time will definitely pass. 5 years will come, 10 years will come. Will you still remain the same? No, keep trying. Sometimes, you could be the negative voice in your head, without your knowledge, you could be limiting yourself by comparing yourself with people or trying to live up to people’s expectation of you which isn’t healthy. It could hinder you from reaching your full potentials. Just be conscious of the fact that hard work really pays and determination is a key instrument in achieving your goals. It wouldn’t always be that easy.
There were days I cried my eyes out and starved myself but it didn’t change the fact that I had to help myself. So, I got up and faced the challenge. Lastly, always celebrate your small wins no matter how little they might seem, you worked for them and they yielded results, so, celebrate yourself, pat yourself on the back and be proud of yourself.
Story from: Joy Aghedo
Facebook: Joy Aghedo