Let me take you on a journey, do come with me.
Since my childhood, academic excellence has always been something that came naturally to me; I took the top position in class without much effort. So it wasn’t a surprise that those who knew me (especially my parents) believed that I would end up being a medical doctor, or in the least, a pharmacist.
I, on my part, didn’t bother about what the future held, as I was the type that took life one day at a time. The only time I ever thought about what I would be in the future was when I read a children’s story in my Primary Six about aliens visiting the earth from a faraway planet. The story had unlocked my imagination, and since then I went off track.
By that I mean that I started reading more stories. I read all kinds of stories, no matter the genre or age they were meant for. I even read stories in Igbo, my native language. My hunger for stories increased to the point that if I didn’t see any novel to read, I would make do with the multitude of stories in the Bible.
As I grew up, I read more novels than textbooks, which angered my teachers and friends, but not really my parents. I guess the reason they weren’t that concerned was the fact that my grades never suffered. I had a good brain, I only needed to read a topic once for it to remain stuck in my brain.
Even during my WAEC exams, I spent more time reading novels than past questions. My friends always said that they envied my memory; to them I was a genius.
As you well know, nothing in life lasts. So I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that my streak of having stellar grades came to an end when I came into the university. I had gotten admission to study Biochemistry (this was after I had applied for Pharmacy, but wasn’t accepted because my score was not up to the cut-off mark).
Biochemistry was more demanding than I ever imagined, and more frustrating than Nigerian bus drivers. After each exam, despite my efforts, I would get mediocre scores. I tried harder, reading more textbooks than novels, but things got worse. Ironic, right?
But things really went downhill during the second semester of my second year in school. My girlfriend of eight months broke up with me, saying that she needed to have a sense of direction in her life. Whatever that meant!
One thing with me is the fact that I’m an emotional person. And it didn’t help that I really loved her. The break-up threw me into the darkest time of my life, at least academically. My second semester exams were horrible, the courses I didn’t fail, I escaped with a pass. But my results didn’t bother me, my problem was the fact that I was heartbroken. And there was nothing I could do to take away the pain.
But there was. It was during the vacation that I discovered my future—writing. I wrote stories based on the pain I felt, and surprisingly writing helped reduce the pain. And so I continued. The more I wrote, the bolder I became to delve into worlds I never knew I could explore. It was the beginning of a lifelong adventure.
But Biochemistry didn’t allow me to explore my writing as I wished. I was still in a loveless union where I was required to give everything I had, but didn’t want to give. In the end I decided to try harder, if not for anything, for the fact that I wanted to graduate with my set. I employed another tactic that seemed to work well for me. I had a friend who summarised all the courses we did, so I usually photocopied her summarised notes. These were what I read and my grades somehow became better.
After I miraculously graduated, I knew that there was nothing else I wanted to do with my life than write. And that was what I did. This decision was a source of discord between my parents and I because they were already planning on purchasing a masters degree form for me immediately after my NYSC programme. I don’t know if I would further my career in Biochemistry, but what I am sure of is the fact that my writing is here to stay.
It’s funny that I, who never knew what I wanted to do with my life, would discover my passion after a heartbreak. Funny, right? That singular event had become my door to tomorrow.
And so we’ve come to the end of the journey for now. Thank you for taking this walk with me.