The greatest wish of every parent for their children is to see them succeed in life. In trying to make this wish come to fruition, they provide their children with the best education they can afford and my parents were no exception. During infancy, my mom was mostly stern on me when it came to academics. She always made sure I stayed indoors learning when school wasn’t in session because she felt the neighborhood boys would be a distraction to her quest of seeing her son excel in school and eventually succeed in life.. She’d always use people who have made it in life as examples of what learning hard in school can make you achieve. It came to a point I was incited to learn hard as a result of her withdrawing some priviledges i enjoyed away from me. This made me aim to be among the top 3 excellent students in class. My obsession for being among the top 3 excellent students in class was so great that, I mostly got mad at myself if was unable to make it to the list of the top 3 excellent students. Anybody who made it ahead of me automatically became a thorn in my flesh. I’d channel every vestige of time and energy at my disposal to learn hard just to usurp the person in the next examination. It came to a time, I intentionally disrupted the studies of some students I knew were my competitors when it came to making the list of the top 3 best students. When a colleague who doesn’t understand a topic in class comes to me for an explanation, I’d pretend I also didn’t understand because of fear of being overtaken in examinations.
Even though I always achieved my target of being amongt the excellent students in my class during my primary school days, it came at a dire cost. I started losing some playmates of mine as I climbed the academic ladder. Unknown to me, they were intimidated by my quest for excellence which they couldn’t keep up with because they were not that” brilliant” like me. I also didn’t give this any serious thought because I believed in the popular cliché “Monkeys play by sizes” which literally means associating yourself with like-minded people or people within your class or status. Since I was among the excellent students in class and my playmates were not, I felt it was better for me not to mingle with them.
My journey of academic excellence continued when I was promoted to Junior High School. I was always seen among the “brilliant” students and didn’t want to have anything doing with other students who were not among the excellent students in school.
Life has its way of giving us a wake-up call and mine came during my final year in Junior High School. I performed abysmally in a mock examination so I was transferred from a class which was meant for “excellent” students to a class meant for “average” students. I was distraught initially but indefatigable as I am, I didn’t accept this as my fate. I vowed to excel in the next mock exams and make it back to the class meant for “excellent” students. Interestingly, a friend of mine who was also axed from the excellent class approached me and said “Desmond, I know you’d surely make it back to the excellent class and I’d make sure I go with you” I initially thought he was just talking for fun but he later proved to me that he meant serious business. He always approached me to help him solve some examination questions. He sometimes followed me to the library to learn. After the examinations, I excelled and true to his words, we made it together to the class meant for “excellent” students. We went on to write our final exams that ‘d usher us into Senior High School and we all excelled.
This friend of mine later told me that if not for me, he wouldn’t have been able to prepare adequately for his final exams. If he hadn’t decided to learn with me and if I hadn’t helped him in solving some past exam questions, he wouldn’t have been able to excel in his final exams.
This was an eye opener for me! . I came to the painful realization that, I had wasted a great deal of my life chasing after one thing i.e. academic excellence and forgotten about humanity. I realized that life wasn’t all about me but it’s about others. God didn’t give me the ability to understand some topics at a faster rate for self aggrandizement but it was meant to help others and I failed Him in my primary school days. I also realized that it wasn’t any fault of my playmates in school back then that they were playful or not excelling in examinations. Some of them had parents who have no idea about what formal education entails. They were playful because they had nobody to guide them to learn unlike me. What if I was told from infancy that, even though academic excellence was paramount to my success I should also help others make it to their pinnacle in terms of success. Could i have made a change in their lives?
Some playmates of mine whom I neglected because I felt they were not within my class have given up in life because they’ve failed their final examination and can’t make it to the next level of their education. Maybe if I had availed myself to them and helped with their studies, they might have been in a better situation by now. Maybe, if I had remained their friends, they would have drawn inspiration from me just like my Junior High School friend did.
There is a popular saying that “It’s always lonely at the top but the view is nice”. What’s the essence of having a nice view if you don’t have anyone to share the moments with? It’s always lonely at the top because we fail to help others make it to the top with us. God has imbibed in us a lot of abilities that’s not meant for only us but for the benefit of others. God has made some people rich financially in the midst of the poor so that they can also enrich them. The exceptional abilities we possess are meant for the benefit of others.
We are like candles in this world but not everyone has the matchstick to light the flame. It is up to those who have been able to light their flame to also light the flame of others to bring about the illumination needed in our world. Be the one that makes it happen!!!
N:B. I’ve been nominated for the categories of Best GIJ Student Blogger/Writer and Outstanding Student Reporter in the maiden edition of the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ) eminence awards. kindly click on this link and go the Best GIJ Blogger/Writer Category and vote for Tawiah Desmond Kofi. After that kindly scroll down to the Outstanding Student Reporter Category and vote for Desmond Tawiah. Counting on your votes. Thanks.👏👏