By Amarachi Okpunobi
Are you a student of a tertiary institution or a secondary school? How did you feel the day you saw your name on the Jamb portal that you have been admitted to a University after the frustrations of computer system in the exam hall? How do you feel when you checked the WAEC portal and you credited all your subjects amidst the hurdles of invigilators and loss of points? I bet you, that feeling of joy is inexpressible! Same feeling was what I felt two weeks ago Thursday, 15 November 2018 when I stepped into the gates of Ebonyi State College of Nursing and Midwifery, my new school.
Since my graduation from Secondary in 2015, life has been of different phases to me, both the good, bad, happy and sad, ugly and beautiful has happened. But I have always had these words in my heart that I will be great regardless of how life tries to push me.
I had written Jamb in 2016 with the score of 198. Of course the score won't fetch me anything in Medicine not to talk of the school of my choice, University of Nigeria Nsukka.
Maybe I wasn't prepared, maybe it wasn't time for me to be in the tertiary institution or maybe I was too comfortable to move forward in life. I never felt the pain of being a failure in my JAMB. I had friends that made it ahead, some didn't, while some got married and others became apprentice in one skill or the other. I rolled with my life at the moment and finished my training on Computer software. I moved further for my one month Industrial training and there I had encounter with Fides Communications.
At Fides, I enjoyed every bit of my time. Jumping from one unit to the other and learning new things. Of course, the staff gave me the attention I needed probably because I was under aged then and maybe they wanted to contribute to my growing into adulthood. I learnt both skilled and unskilled works, I learnt how to do lithographing, printing and photocopying, laminating, finishing and cutting of paper with the big cutting machine. At Fides, I became a graphics editor, photographer, videographer, video editor, news reporter and at most, a writer, of which I am all proud of. I stayed happy and wore my smiles even in the face of pressures.
2017 came, time to take another JAMB. I thought I was going to prepare very well and get a super score that could give me automatic admission into medicine. I thought I would do marvellously well and leave Fides for the University; but the story was never as thought.
I read! Yes I read, maybe the much I could but there were enough distractions. Distractions from my skills, I still had to combine all these with studies. I come back home feeling weak and tired, sometimes I read, sometimes I wouldn't. Tempus fudgit, time flies, they say. No sooner had I expected, JAMB came knocking and standing by the corner. On the day for JAMB, I felt excited because I was trying again. I was making an effort to go further in life. I was moving to changing my linear life of home to Fides, and from Fides to home.
I wrote JAMB again and scored higher this time but not to what I had expected. I got 213. Initially I felt like switching over to a different course because this time, UNIZIK was my first choice. After much advice, I decided to go for Botany. May be, I could get something out of it in the future. But the thought of being a Botanist, really weighed me down. Still, I needed to move. I wanted to change my environment, make new friends and learn new things. I love learning, I love adventure and at the moment entering the University was the best option, I thought.
I went further to take POST UTME in UNIZIK and scored 30, poor isn't it? I knew I wouldn't be getting anywhere with the scores in the line of the profession I ever wanted and that is to be a Neurologist. I knew it demanded more time and studies than I ever gave to it. Fides was giving me a lot of exposure. She gave me a lift of eating and dinning with great personalities but I do not want to end just meeting people. I also wanted people to meet me in the future.
I became angry and hated myself. How could I fail myself? Why are others making it and mine was proving otherwise. I will cry my eyes out but nobody saw them, they only see the smiles that seemed to glitter my face and masked the pain inside. Frustration set in and I began to lose weight. On the contrary, friends and well-wishers will call to congratulate me on the exploits I was doing at Fides. They thought I was happy. They thought the smiles were coming from the inward. But something deeper than their thoughts was happening in me.
My directors at Fides were proud of me, the staff too. I was making a name for myself and for Fides too. But it does not lie on that only. I knew I had to leave to pursue my dream and the thought of that kept tears in my eyes for a long while. Thereafter, I decided to do something and that is to leave Fides and pursue that which I desire. This is what I call hard decision. I knew it would be painful, but I had to do it.
Through the help of my Aunty, I bought a nursing form. You could imagine the gap, from a neurology to a nurse. Anyway, both start with 'N', (smiles) and probably they will give the same yield.
I took the entrance exam and I made it. Day after day, I will sit to think of what the future held for me as a Nurse. On the other hand, I wanted to make something out of my life and not just staying at Fides and get praised because of the things I do. I needed to add a new leaf to my CV. So, I stood by my decision of reading Nursing in Ebonyi State College of Nursing and Midwifery, Uburu. Congratulations to me, I am now an undergraduate.
Dear reader, it took me days to decide on what to make out of my life but what really matters is that I took that decision myself and I will walk on that path myself. Nobody is going to bear the consequences of my decision, I solely will. The good news is that I have left for another aspect of life, maybe closer to my dream and maybe farther. If I become a good nurse, it is left for me and if I become a bad one, it is left for me too.
I realised that to make a dream come true, one has to stop dreaming and wake up in the reality. The reality that you have to do something. One has to take a move and try something new.
In my new school, everything is not what it used to be. All students live in the school hostel, so I will have to wake up every morning, rush to the bathroom and immediately move to the refectory for breakfast and afterwards, it’s lectures flooding in like rain. My life now has to be dictated for me. I will have to live with a timetable and it is the decision I have taken and I am not regretting it either.
My friends have asked, how are you going to cope with the tight timetable of school and then writing every week for Fides? I told them that when one wants to do something regardless of the tight schedules, it is very possible to combine them well and still achieve great results. No doubt, it is really stressful writing from school but determination is the boat that keeps me going on the ocean. I strongly believe in myself and in my vision.
In life, I have learnt that we are the architects of our future and the pilot of our different flight. Whatever thing you give to life, it brings back to you. To achieve your dream, there must be challenges and the ability to overcome those challenges makes you who you are. At the long run, you will appreciate yourself for what you have made.
It is never going to be easy, that is certain. But keep pushing and definitely, you will laugh last and laugh best. Always remember, that you are just you and nobody is like you. Others will be admitted now, you may have to seek for years. Get your hands doing something. No time spent in learning something new is a waste. If I can learn multiple skills, you can too! If I can be a professional photographer, you can be better too. If I can write every week inspite of my academics, you can write even better. So keep learning and keep working and don't stop praying. You will make it!
I will have to go back to studies now, see you next week.