I’ve been ambivalent about writing this post for the past two days because I planned to share it as a TED talk in the near future but I feel someone needs this urgently. Over the years, I’ve been inspired by people who shared some life experiences of theirs and I’d be doing myself and others a great disservice if I don’t share this story.
It’s that time of the year again where results of Senior High School (SHS) graduates are out and this news has been met with mixed reactions. It is a time where some students would be in jubilant moods because they’ve excelled in the WASSCE examinations thus qualifying for admission into a University of their choice while for others, it is a time of crying and gnashing of teeth because their results don’t qualify them for admission into a University. According to statistics, 28% of candidates who wrote this year’s West African Secondary School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) passed in Core Mathematics which means that if all Universities are to go by the requirements set by the National Accreditation Board, majority of SHS graduates won’t gain admission into any University.
Three years ago, I, unfortunately, found myself in a similar situation. After writing my WASSCE examinations, I was fully confident that I’d pass with distinction when the results are released considering the effort I invested towards preparation for the examinations and my approach towards the examination questions during the examination. When the results were released some of us couldn’t check because ours was allegedly withheld. Some colleagues of mine had checked theirs and their results were good whiles others was nothing to write home about.
A week later, mine was released and I had the shock of my life. I had excelled in all subjects except Core Math. Naturally, I don’t have an interest in Core Math but because I knew how important it is when it comes to university admissions, I learnt it holistically so I couldn’t understand why my grade in core math wasn’t impressive.(NB: I didn’t fail). Optimistic as I was, I had hope that I’d surely get admission but unfortunately, it was never meant to be. University admissions were out and my name was nowhere to be found. I felt my whole life crumbling to an end.
I had already planned my life out like a blueprint. I’m very articulate when it comes to my life goals so trust me when I say I had my life well planned out. I had mapped out the various courses I’d pursue, the age at which I should at least start working, my dream job and even the age at which I’d have to acquire my first car which would be a Mercedes-Benz. I still didn’t lose hope because I already had a plan B, C, D and even F. My dad suggested I go to a remedial school which I declined because I felt my results were too impressive for me to go to a remedial school and write all 8 subjects again.
Moreover, considering the effort I put in towards my WASSCE, I felt I had given my all and there was no vestige of energy left in me to go through the rigorous learning process again so I told myself “I Quit”. I felt God wasn’t fair to me. Most people who had worse results than me, had all gotten admission to the university so why me? I never joked with my studies way back in school and during the examination period, I stayed awake most of the nights just to prepare adequately for my examination.
I prayed incessantly for God to favor me, I always paid my tithe religiously for God to open the windows of Heaven and pour out his blessings on me, I jumped in church and screamed tonnes of Amen!!!! Anytime the pastor said “God will favor you” “God will bless you” “God will turn things around for your good”. In fact, I had total faith in God. Not forgetting the numerous times I obeyed those so called WhatsApp directives that says “Forward this to 10 people and God will favor you”. Upon all this, God allowed just one subject to hinder my progress.
While growing up, I had a great interest in the military so it has always been my ambition to either join the military or any security services preferably Customs or Immigration. My parents asked me what I wanted to do and I told them about my decision to join one of the security services which they were not in support of because they felt I was too young to get myself into such an area.
The only option left was to re-sit the core math paper which I wasn’t willing to do because I’d have to be home for approximately two years before I can go back to school. I also felt my friends would be ahead of me and I wouldn’t be able to catch up with them thus lacking behind. The most depressing aspect of it was that most people I thought were my true friends dejected me in my trying moments. Since they were in school, they no longer checked up on me and sometimes when I tried checking up on them, they behaved like I was a stranger. It was only a few friends of mine who stood by me. My mum begged me on countless occasions to just re-sit the paper and I eventually gave in when a husband of my aunt shared the Biblical verse Isaiah 40:31 with me.
I plucked up courage and reneged on my decision not to re-sit the paper again. I vowed to myself that I’d make my mum proud again as I’ve always done.
I told myself it doesn’t matter the number of years I’d be at home but I’d make sure every moment counts. In order to make every moment count, I downloaded a lot of e-books consisting of Memoirs of prominent people, self-help, motivational, historical and some fictional books. I read books for two agonizing years while preparing to re-sit my paper.
During this period, I realized that I wasn’t really passionate about the courses I wanted to offer at the Universities I initially chose. I discovered my passion and decided to pursue a different course in a different University. God being so good, I passed my re-sit paper and gained admission into that University and pursuing a course I love.
In my first year in the university, I decided to create a platform where I could openly express my opinions on issues which is this blog . During my second semester in the University, I attended a program at the British council which I later wrote about on my blog . Fortunately, it caught the eye of one of the partners of the event who owns an online news portal and from there I was offered a job as an event correspondent for the news portal.
I’m not a creative writer but one thing I’ve been commended for is my ability to articulate my thoughts coherently into a piece of writing. Within four months, I’ve been able to cover 14 events. Some defining moments in my job as an event correspondent was when the Managing Director of Airtel Ghana employed our services to cover the launch of Airtel Ghana’s corporate social responsibility initiative Evolve With STEM . Osei-Kusi foundation also employed our services to cover the 3rd edition Community Service Awards .
I was in church recently and meditating on how good God has been to me and He cast my mind back to 2013 when I prayed that He should help me make a good career choice and he revealed, the answer to my prayer involved me paying the hefty price of staying at home for two years just to read and discover my passion. It had to take two years of developing myself in order to land a job I’ve not been professionally trained for in my first year in the University. A job that any unemployed University graduate would grab with alacrity. It took me two years to be able to write 40+ blog posts.
This story is to the SHS graduate out there who thinks failing a few papers is the end of his/her life. I’m here to tell you that it’s not the end of the road.
Never allow your grades to define who you really are or what God created you to be. The fact that you still have breath and hope means you’re more than capable to weather the storm.
Sometimes God allows us to fall in order for us to pick something valuable from the ground of life which we can’t see because we’ve been running around all along. Never give up, but pluck up courage and go hard at life like never before.
Just as Les Brown would say “Use your imagination to come up with a variety of approaches to move your life forward. Challenge yourself to think beyond that which is commonly accepted. Hold the vision of what you want. Be clear about this and move forward with the feeling and expectation that things are going to work out just fine”. Always remember “You have GREATNESS within you!!”.