Monday 17 February 2014

Thought Picnic: My long dance with failure

The smarter of a big bunch
In primary school, I can say I was brilliant, though not good enough to beat Maya from Bulgaria to the first place.
I never revised or liked homework, examinations and tests were always a chore, but I did what I had to do, coming 2nd most times and probably 3rd once. In my last year, I was out of school for four months doing common entrance tests for secondary schools in the Nigerian South-West, when I returned, I still came 10th out of 22 in the class.
Just average
Secondary school was a different regime, homework and assignments were part of the continuous testing regime apart from the end-of-term and end-of-year examinations.
I probably wrote the shortest scripts and was out of the exam hall in half the time, my performance in those terms were mediocre and scores average that I was in the top fifth of the class, but hardly celebrated.
Many of those ahead were naturally gifted and smart though the teaching technique of learning by rote and evaluation in some cases of regurgitating lesson notes verbatim in answering exam questions would have had me handicapped. If I was endeared to any teacher and there were a few, it was because I was articulate, we never had oral examinations, no, not the dentist.
Succeeding at failure
After secondary school, the first four years of study in two different schools yielded nothing, I did not need to report the events at the first where I was advised to withdraw because I made it into the premier polytechnic in Nigeria of that time.
Much as there were distractions, what I realised with hindsight and I have written about before was I never really made headway academically. I attended classes I completely drew a blank in, I was like a zombie in class but able to thrive in student union politics and getting co-opted into religious activities.
I played truant in secondary school and here too, the classes were boring, the teachers were evil and the lecturer was either bombastic or had the worst command of English ever, it was tortuous beyond belief, I had to extricate myself. The die was cast for tragedy.
Depressing the F-key
I was in trouble and somehow I did not understand what it was between depression and probably something worse because the mental capacity was there, but the engagement was missing, it was like I had no purpose or direction and before long my world came crashing down.
Under duress, I repeated my second year after my father pulled all the strings to get me readmitted but I was far gone. At the end of that year when the results came out, I left home to check my results first running an errand for my dad.
I did not return home that evening, I went missing for well over a week and there began a new chapter in my life, an acknowledged failure, the child of role model parents, between them a successful accountant and a secondary school principal of 10 years.
That is the lay in for my next blog. The link would appear in the blog below when I have written it.
Blog - Thought Picnic – My world, their world.

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