FLASHPOINTS

“God help me!” I say in my head, my heart pounding as I do not know what waits for me. I have never done this before, and I have heard stories; most bad, and the little good coming with lots of sacrifice and miracles. “Am I ready for this?!” I think again, the indistinct murmurs of the H.O.D. of anatomy continuous. That day I think I promised God heaven and earth-the very ones he created, if I could just get through this. I was that troubled! I needed something to clear my head. “How did I get here?!” I thought to myself.
My brain traced the origin of my dilemma to when I was little. Just in primary four and I was the health prefect of my school. I remembered treating injuries of my fellow pupils, with help from my teacher. “I’m going to be a doctor when I grow up, it seems easy” my young self thought. A grin covered my face at the irony of what I’m facing right now; life backstabbed me so hard! I wasn’t much of a memory keeper when I was young so my brain fast forwarded to my secondary school. There was no relevant experience relating to my situation at the moment, so my brain fast forwarded a little more to my senior secondary, WAEC/JAMB period, where you determine temporarily what your future is going to be like. I didn’t take it that serious then. All I could think of was the glory of going to my siblings school and gisting their friends that I was in the university cause I felt it was kinda cool then…lol… I was so Jew! So I filled in medicine as my first choice and pharmacy as my second, put in University of Nigeria Nsukka as my first institution cause I heard it was the best school then and some other university as second choice. I mean this was all a joyride cause I felt I would be too brilliant for the whosoever professor that would take me in whatsoever course. I mean they called me ‘The Oracle’!
Once again my brain looped through moments, past  the experience of waiting for the JAMB result, the stressful UNN post-ume, again waiting for the results, the brief moment of fear, sorrow and distraught finding out I didn’t make the first list, unnerved a little by the information that there was a second list, the moments of joy shared when I actually made the second list, the preparations for college along with all the advices, threats and warnings about college life, and finally, stepping foot on the red sands of nsukka, along with the initial funny but painful lessons learnt I feel any sixteen year old college newbie has to experience. Call it an eye-opener!
It finally came to halt at the beginning of my second year. Just coming back from home late cause I heard we won’t have any holidays after our first year. Once again I grinned, because now I understand what that meant. I arrived as usual with my two boxes, one big enough to smuggle your twelve year old junior brother through customs if he was illegal product, along with your clothes for the travel. I was all smiles, finally reaching the door of my room and the first question that entered my auditory canal being “guy how jacking now?!”. A vulgar word ran through my head that moment but as a gentleman I chose to withhold it, smile and give the usual response “guy I never start oo…how u been?!” so as to shift the conversation from the fact that I was too lazy to open my books during the holiday. After a few weeks, weeks that I should have spent getting oriented in space and time, I found out people have actually finished the topics for that semester! But I was still taking things slow. After all, I got all distinctions in my first semester result, neglecting the near “death” misses in my second semester result. It got so bad a roommate of mine who had two first degrees and is currently in fifth year medicine actually sat me down to advise me one faithful evening. That was one of the deepest talks I have had in life. In fact I didn’t bother running that tape in my memory cause heart breaking sentences were used. But I have to admit it actually changed my mindset a bit about what the medical school was all about, coupled with the words I didn’t understand uttered by my friends. I felt like an outcast among them due to my lack of knowledge in the requisite subject matters arising. I felt it was too late. I mean it was like a month plus to exams and what I had in front of me would need about half a year to fully grasp whatever its saying. This was a David and Goliath story; and Goliath seemed to be winning…but I could not let it go down so easy!
Day after day, week after week; I read so much that my mind was in a state that Hon. Patrick would call “crinkum-crankum” or if you like “Higi-Haga”! I didn’t shave or cut my hair for days. People talked, but my mind was so much on my books that whatever they were saying was like talking in a vacuum. I joined a reading group to help my distress. I talked a lot when given the chance to give me confidence to know more about whatever anatomy, physiology or biochemistry has to offer; and this confidence grew and grew…until now! I felt like my confidence had been ambushed and beaten to a pulp. I felt numbness where I usually felt my ego. “What happened to my ego?!” I thought to myself. “How can…” my thoughts interrupted by the words I’ve been reluctant to hear. “You can now turn your papers and start” said the supervisor.
I disobeyed this order for a moment. I looked around as people’s faces changed on turning their scripts. Some smiled; it could have been cause maybe the questions were easy or they don’t know the first five questions. It bothered me! Some frowned, they looked like the questions irritated them. I smiled at this. It seemed funny to me though. “So it’s my turn now!” I said to myself as I looked down at my paper which was still faced backwards. I took a deep breath in and out, did a sign of the cross and dropped my hand down to turn up my paper; I couldn’t help but smile!

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