The results for our final exams were out and nearly everyone was eager to see theirs. People had started to celebrate as they had no carryovers, which means that they would be eligible to go for their National Youth Service. The strike from the previous year had extended our graduation date and everyone who passed was happy that they were finally free.
Failing was not new for me as I had failed my way to final year being the unserious student that I was who simply spent more time at work than in school. I had developed a thick skin through the years as I knew that I would fail at most three courses every year. However, I studied hard for my final exams. I read when I was at work and put in more effort.
I figured that if I put in extra work than I did when I failed three courses, chances were that I would not fail any this time. I also really did not want to pay any more school fees.
This confidence that I read for this exam was what I went with when I checked my results. I was shocked when I found that I had failed seven courses, the highest number of courses that I had ever failed at a stretch. It was traumatizing. I walked away from the notice board, to the back of pharmacy faculty with a smile. Failure was normal.
When I got to the park, I broke down. Everyone was happy that they were free but I failed. Not one, seven courses! I wept without control, didn’t know who to call so I called daddy.
“Hello”, he said.
“Daddy I failed again”, I could not say anything more. I just kept crying. It was bad.
He told me that it was okay to fail, he reminded me of the time that I failed my WAEC exams in 2006 and how I had to repeat SS2 in another secondary school. He reminded me that I excelled afterwards and that I am a brilliant girl who just had to struggle through life. He reminded me of the stories that he always told me about his own youthful days, how he had to suffer to make sure that we had good lives.
He assured me that all would be fine. Finally he told me to smile.
“Smile for me my darling”, he said. “Are you smiling now?”
“Promise me you’ll stay focused”
“Remember your name is Erhime”.
And that was it. I survived. I attended classes, still did my street hustle as you cannot take that from me, and the day that I checked my result, I was the happiest girl alive. I did it in one go and went for my Youth Service later on.
I think the one thing that my supportive father taught me over the years, that one lesson that I can never do without, is to fight. I learnt the word ‘lackadaisical’ from him.
I learnt to never approach life lackadaisically. So for all it’s worth, I love him and the memories of all the lessons from my baby days with him.