The System

The System.
The entire system, be it educational, political, societal, whatever kind or type, has been set up in such a way that it doesn’t favour the masses but the few on top. The interest of the few on top are protected and looked into rather than the interest of the masses, the many.

From the moment we are born, we are made to understand or taught the next step to take. After crawling, standing, walking and then talking. We praise accomplishments and shun failure like it’s the plague. Once the child reaches a certain age, he/she is made to enter school, pressured (either subtly or not) into being the best. 1st positions are praised, celebrated and in some families 2nd position is ridiculed and mocked not to talk of 10th position and below. The stigma of not being the best or at least, among the best follows you like flies to a decomposing corpse.

‘The person that came 1st does he/she have two heads?!’ 
That’s the most common question asked by disappointed parents.

The child grows with such pressure and if not able to satisfy his/her parents sense of accomplishment for him/her, depression, disappointment and dissatisfaction sets in. Nothing so serious yet but the seeds have been planted.

Fast forward to the exam before University. Almighty WASSCE and JAMB. (Don’t worry, this is your first major exam as a person. There’ll still be many more ‘Almighties’ during your lifetime.)
You’re 16, 17 or maybe 18, for some people, too young to know what you want to become in life. A form is set before you. One that will set the path for your future goals and ambitions. Your preferred University and Course of Study and the alternative of both. You’re given a book which contains a list of Universities in Nigeria as a guide as well as the faculties, departments and courses each offer. Yeah, it’s a really big book. You see random names and courses you’ve never heard of in your short life on earth. You turn to your trusted parents for guidance and they in their wisdom, guide you.
Law, Engineering, Medicine, Accountancy.
The big four professional courses.
‘Write Engineering and University of Nigeria, Nsukka as preferred and alternative. It’ll show your determination.’

‘But I hate Maths!’
‘Don’t worry, you’ll love University Maths, it’s not the same thing as Secondary School Maths.’
‘But but…’
‘What is it? Speak up!’
‘I want to study Fine Art.’ She can’t even look into the eyes of her mother.

Her mother glances at the drawings left purposefully on the dinning table. It’s not that she hasn’t seen them. She acknowledges her daughters talent but would the world acknowledge it too?

‘Chidinma, you need to study a course that will give you money. A professional course. Engineering is a good course that will earn you money and will assure you a job when you’re done with University.’

Chidinma looks into the eyes of her mother. So full of trust and belief.

Her mother looks away. ‘You can… still draw as a hobby.’ She adds this part to placate her daughter and her conscience.
‘Chidinma doesn’t know it now but I’m doing what’s best for her future. She’ll thank me later.’ She thinks to herself, proud of her decision and the whole desire to study Fine Art is shelved for God knows how long.

It continues. Five years of stress, of struggles, of lecturers trying to make you do demeaning things to earn a mark, a letter of the alphabet that according to them can make or mar your life.
After years of complaining to your parents about unmerited F’s and random missing scripts without their cooperation, you decide to take law into your own hands. You successfully record a lecturer requesting to trade a grade for sex. You put it up on social media, hoping to get the Justice you deserve but things turn sour. You are painted as a pained student who was given a merited F. The lecturer, who is a highly esteemed professor in your department and a personal friend to the Vice Chancellor of your University is, unsurprisingly, believed over you, the quiet, unknown student, seen or painted to be desperate for attention and a good grade. Luckily, you were smart enough to upload the post anonymously and not divulge your plan to friends. Threats are thrown but it isn’t traced back to you. You keep struggling and finally, you graduate with a Second Class Lower. Your parents are disappointed and blame you, claiming you wasted their money which they had lovingly invested on your future by not reading.
Alone you stand, neither family nor friends on the day of your convocation. Your parents make up excuses about not being able to attend, you know the real reason is because they are disappointed in you. You can’t bare to tell your friends because your parents’ disappointment has managed to rubbed off on you as well…
To be continued…

(2) Comments

  1. This is the life of the average Nigerian student…
    Keep going girl, bring it all to light.

  2. Thanks so much Antho! I’ll do my best☺️

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