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Jumping Grades

We were in a Physics lecture when the news filtered in: our results were out! Immediately my heart jumped into my mouth, and I had to swallow hard to send it back to its cavity. There was a silent commotion in the lecture hall and although the class was still starting, many people crept out of the hall to go and check their results in the department’s notice board. Although my heart was thumping hard, I and Loveth, my best friend, decided to wait till the lecture was over before leaving; after all the results were not running away.

Yet I could barely concentrate on what the lecturer was saying; all I cared about was having sterling grades as I used to back in the secondary school. And as that was the results of the first exam I’ve taken in Unizik, I prayed that they would be good.

It was as if the Physics lecturer noticed that we were just bodily present in the class, while our spirits were long gone to somewhere else. This was because he ended his class early, and we did not wait for him to leave the class before rushing out of the class.

Loveth advised me to wait in front of the Physics class while she would go and check our results; she said that because given my condition, it would take only the slightest shove in the throng of people to send me falling to the ground. I agreed and impatiently waited for her while playing some Nigerian music to calm my spirit down.

About thirty minutes later, she came back, and the first thing she said when I asked her about my results was: “You did good, but I’m sorry.” I then took the piece of paper that she wrote down the results on and my eyes nearly popped out of their sockets.

As I stared at the singular strange result, I wondered how it was possible for me—me of all people—to get such a score. I knew it was not my result, but the reaction I was getting from my friends was completely discouraging, many people told me that they were sorry, but I had to try harder when I would be rewriting the course. One person, an old friend of mine (who went to the same secondary school with me and knew my academic abilities) said the most hurting thing to me.

He said, “Oga na you get the result. You don go fail, come here dey complain.”

As at that time, I hadn’t taken his words to heart that much because I was more interested in how my correct grade would be given to me. I looked at the paper again and the score was still there:

MAT 101—13 (F)

Loveth advised me to meet our department’s staff adviser, to see if anything can be done about it. She hurried to the man’s office to check if he was around, but he wasn’t, and since that day was a Friday, I had to wait till Monday to see him.

That weekend was hell for me. After telling my roommate and some of my friends, I could see that most of them did not believe me; it was an eye opener for me then, because I saw what would happen if you stumbled in life. I also called my parents that evening, and thankfully they believed that I couldn’t have gotten such a ridiculous score; they told me to take things easy, that everything would be sorted out.

On Monday, I went to the staff adviser’s office, and after explaining everything to him, he said that my problem was not within his jurisdiction to handle, that I had to go to the course adviser. That was the first time I knew that there was a difference between the two.

I had series of lectures that day, and was very tired, but I carried myself to the course adviser’s office. I wanted everything to be rectified as soon as possible. When I told him my misfortune, he was at first sceptical about my academic abilities, and so he asked me “confirmatory questions”, questions that were geared towards knowing if I merited the 13 I saw as my MAT 101 score.

“What did you get ICH 101 and ICH 111?” he asked.

“I had A in both of them, sir,” I answered.

“And your BIO 101?” he continued.

“An A too,” I calmly replied. I could see that he still thought that it was possible for someone to be good in both Chemistry and Biology, but terrible in Mathematics.

Then he asked one final question: “What of your PHY 101?”

“I had a B in Physics, sir,” I said.

“Wow, that is good. There is no way you can get these grades in those courses and then have an F in MAT 101. No, it’s not possible. What you will do is this: you will write a letter to the HOD of Maths department through through the HOD of Biochemistry department, requesting for the review of your MAT 1O1 script.”

I thanked him and left. When I went home that evening, I wrote the letter and the next day, I went to the department’s secretary’s office to submit it. On meeting her, she told me that she would not be the person to submit the letter, that I had to go to the Maths department myself and submit it.

Off I went to the Maths department, where after explaining everything to their HOD’s secretary, she sympathized with me, took the letter from me and promised to make sure that the HOD attended to it. She also told me to come back in a week’s time.

One week later, I went back to the Maths department. There I was told to go and check at my department, that I shouldn’t be checking at their department. I went to our HOD’s secretary to see if there was any progress, but she said that there was none. This continued for the next one month till I finally accepted the fact that I would rewrite a course I knew that I couldn’t have failed. How could I have gotten 13 in MAT 101—a course that was almost the same thing I did in SS3—when I was the second best in Mathematics during my time in secondary school?

Anyway in my 200 level, I registered and rewrote the course. One day when I was taking another exam, my course adviser saw me and asked me what the outcome of the letter was; I told him that I rewrote it, and he said that I should go to the staff adviser, who was also our result officer, to inform him about that, so that he would be able to collate my results better.

After that exam, I went to the man’s office with Loveth. When I told him that I came to inform him that I had rewritten MAT 101, he was surprised. He asked me if I wrote any letter to the Maths department and I said yes; then he said that they had forwarded my result a long time ago. I was surprised and then asked him what the correct score was. His reply further shocked me into silence.

“You got 76,” he said after checking the file.

I did not know what to say and so was Loveth. We just stared at him in utter bewilderment, as I realized that everything I had calculated about my results had instantly changed. Just like that my results turned to 8As and 2Bs from 7As, 1B and 1F.

Till today, I still cannot understand how my 76 jumped to 13. Do you?

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