I am lying down on the couch in my grandmother’s sitting room as I typed this. It never occurred to me that I’d be making this kind of post, not like I wouldn’t write about graduating and stuff but I never knew it would take this form. I thought it would be about how I graduated excellently despite the hurdles and setbacks. Inspirational anyone?
Unilorin graduating list came out and unlike the tradition of names getting pasted on each department’s notice board you go online to check your graduating status by yourself. Fortunately or unfortunately my phone’s battery was down, my grandfather offered his and as I typed in unilorin.edu.ng I felt tensed, it was as if a hard knot has taken position at the pit of my stomach. This is funny considering the fact that some of my course mates have managed to see the list already and I have heard my name is on it and even the class I left school with. Still I was tensed, all what my grandfather was saying came to my ears in a faraway distorted voice only to bounce back out before it could take form, I didn’t hear a thing. Eventually, I saw my graduation status and my class. I didn’t know what I felt at that moment but I am so sure it wasn’t excitement but relief, relief that my name didn’t disappear from the list. I also never imagined my grandfather would ask me to pass his phone so he could see too. I thought the stoic ‘I graduated.’ would be enough.
So I waited, my heart beating out of rhythm and waiting for his mouth to slack in disappointment but I heard instead.
‘Second class lower? Isn’t that 2:2’ he glanced at me.
‘Yes’ I felt small
‘Congratulations, this is nice. Very nice’
‘But, that is a 2:2, don’t you mind that I didn’t do better?’ I was furious at myself.
‘Do better? This is doing great. What matters is that you finished school and you are hale and hearty, not dead or dying… Besides does the class count when what lies upstairs is more important?’
‘Are you serious!’ I was bewildered then I added in a rush of emotions ‘I was close, I was pretty close. I could have gone around to see my aunt’s friend, I heard results can get upgraded but I just couldn’t bring myself to go’
‘And why would you? What would have happened to your conscience?’ He asked staring at me beneath the transparent glare of his glasses. If I looked hard enough or if there was light perhaps I could see myself, staring back. ‘You gained admission on merit and left school with merit! How would you have felt if such upgrading affects you in future? What would it do to your self esteem?’ he paused to suck his orange. I was speechless from excitement and could only stare.
‘I had interviewed 2:1 graduates who couldn’t express themselves correctly. I had seen people with impressive results who could do nothing in the field they excelled in at school, some pass students are achieving feats some first class students haven’t achieved. Life is just that funny’ he added.
‘You should be grateful and not bitter. If you feel bad about your result then you are nothing but an ingrate who only dwells in disappointments.’
‘I just thought it was something I could have done. I felt like it would have been a thing you’d be proud of me for if you can proudly tell everyone I finished with a better grade.’
He laughed ‘you should be thinking of how to utilize your certificate.’
‘I should be thinking of how to utilize my certificate.’ and then I left his room holding the light and his words. I learnt from him tonight that you should never be mad when things that happen to you are below your expectations, you should always look instead at the positive side of it all. It is ironical I didn’t remember that even though I am an advocate for ‘lemons turned into lemonade’ crusade and for that I felt like a hypocrite. But as they always say life is a mystery and we can never understand all of it. Perhaps if I had left school with the class I wanted I’d have been self content and relaxed, look down on those with lesser grades and feel I’m better at everything. Perhaps I wouldn’t have been filled with a new kind of zeal, of taking what I do seriously. Perhaps I’d have been happy and find momentary satisfaction in my mother’s voice as she tells her friends joyously ‘My daughter left school with a second class upper.’