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Sometimes we win, other times we learn

My phone chimed, so, I quickly unplugged it from the white charger, on the wall socket, close to where I sat. I had been anticipating my exam result from the university academic board. My heart pounded loudly, as I unlocked my phone, to check if the message I had received was from the university. As expected, it was. I panicked. I couldn’t bring myself to read the message. Instead, I hurriedly hard pressed the power button, until my phone turned off and I dropped it on my study desk.

Whatever message the text contained, would determine if I’d qualify to be in the new clinical class or not. In that singular moment my thoughts were stampeded by fear and regret. Fear because I couldn’t tell what my result would be. And regret because I didn’t think I worked hard enough to merit a pass.

I received the text from the board on August tenth, two thousand and fifteen. At around 2pm. And at 7pm, five hours later, I mustered courage and turned on my phone. My hands trembled as I located the message icon on my phone screen, and tapped it open. There on the top of my message list , was the text from the academic board. I couldn’t avoid it anymore. I had to know what it read. Good or bad, I just had to know.

I felt mental bombs tick off in my head, as I read the message. No. No. No. This can’t be right. I reread it, to be sure it had my matriculation number right, and my name right. Everything was correctly written. The result details was plainly written, like it didn’t have the power to make me beg that the ground opened, and swallowed me whole.

Omorie Nancy .C.
11/12677
Anatomy : 35
Physiology: 45
Biochemistry: 39
Remarks: RY.

After three long years of preclinical studies in medical school, I wrote the professional exam that should have paddled me to clinical class, and I blew it. I couldn’t even get the standard pass mark of 50. I had to repeat a whole academic year (RY).

God I was a clown, only that I didn’t make anyone laugh. I failed myself, and disappointed my family. Especially my mum. She had been rooting for me and cheering me on. Yet, I didn’t bring the victory home. I let it slide from my hands.

I soaked my pillow with my hot tears, and luckily, since it was already night, I shut my eyes and forced myself into the most none refreshing sleep.

By morning, I woke up to my mother’s call. I didn’t answer at first, but my mother being my mother, would call me nonstop until I picked her call. Reluctantly, I answered. Naturally, she asked about my result.
My mum is like most mums, she would get involved in every aspect of your life, and it was hard to keep things away from her.

I told her I passed. I didn’t know what good I thought would come from lying to her, but I did anyway. I could hear the excitement in her voice. She sounded proud of me. Like I had made her encouragement matter. The joy in her voice felt good for a moment. But then it was double tragedy for me; I failed my exams, and I lied to my mum. Shit! I was toast. Bad toast.

I couldn’t stand friends calling to check up on me, so I set my phone on flight mode, while I played sad songs. After a while, when I suspected that anyone who must have been trying to reach me on the phone, must have tired, I turned off the flight mode.

It didn’t take up to two minutes, and my phone buzzed from text messages. They were all from my mother. My heart sank into my stomach, and a hard lump formed in my throat. My mum never sends more than one text message, unless she was upset. And she sent me five. I was in deeper trouble than I had thought.

They were mostly messages of disappointments, and how she didn’t raise a liar.

From her text, she revealed that my best friend Queen told her I was asked to repeat a year. Queen was the only person I texted to tell that I didn’t pass. How ever, I excluded the part about lying to my mum. Knowing my mum, she must have called Queen to ask about her result and congratulate her too. At this point my heart felt like I had received multiple knife stabs. I could visibly palpate my pain.

Part of assuming responsibility, was facing my mum eye to eye. So I packed my bags and travelled home. It was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do as a young adult. God it was hard.

My mum’s reaction shocked me. I expected her to rip me apart with angry words, but instead she hugged me welcome. She even prepared my favourite soup( Uha soup) and Fufu. Frankly, I felt the food was poisoned. Don’t get me wrong, she’s my mum and she loves me dearly. But then she didn’t react how I had imagined. So just maybe she might have poisoned me, so I could die quietly, since I shamed her.

Reading this, you could tell that I wasn’t in fact poisoned at all. Instead, I had a bare it all moment With mum. I told her exactly what had transpired with me, myself and I.

Few months to the exam, I had given up because I believed I couldn’t make it. I wasn’t a bad student at all. I always did well at school, and for some reason I lost the ability to believe in myself. This change in mindset, led me to an unreasonable behaviour. I would skip classes because I accepted it was a complete waste of time. I would tell myself that staying at home to read was wiser than being in class. However, rather than reading as planned, I’d wallow in self pity. Mostly of how I wouldn’t pass the exam, because I simply didn’t have what it took. I told my mum of how I walked away from an oral exam, simply because I was too afraid to try.

Mums will always be mums. She expressed her displeasure, but she also encouraged me, and reminded me of how determined I was to become a Doctor. The obstacles I had crossed to be here and the reason I wanted to be a Doctor in the first place;which was to help save lives and put smiles on faces. “It may not be easy” she had said. “but it is achievable and you’d achieve it Nancy.”

The next school year, I wore my mum’s words like a band around my neck. It wasn’t easy at all. There was the pain from watching my former classmates ascend to a new class, while I stayed behind. There was the frustration from having so much to read. There were days. Oh there were days I wanted to simply quit. But I couldn’t. I had come too far to give up now. One step at a time, a little by little, I reclaimed my confidence.

Medicine is not easy no doubt, but I was also equal to the task. People who passed studied, and I could too. And I did.

After I retook the exams a second time, the results were published. Even though I had learnt courage and fortitude from failing, I was still terrified to read the message from the academic board. Like the last time, I turned off my phone, and put it back on after few hours had gone by. Unlike last time, I was met with the most delightful message.

Omorie Nancy .C.
11/12677
Anatomy : 65
Physiology: 55
Biochemistry: 63
Remarks: Pass.

I couldn’t contain my excitement. I screamed and jumped so high, that my forehead almost cut through the rotating blades, of the brown ceiling fan, in my room. I was overjoyed. Not only did I pass, but I also exceeded the standard pass mark of 50.

In life, we face situations that never leave us the same. Maybe you’ve never failed an exam, but perhaps you’ve lost money from a business, or you’ve made a mistake that have cost you. It’s hard , but one step at a time you can reclaim yourself, and win. By assuming responsibility after responsibility, and by showing up.

Keep soaring!

About Venicia Iroakazi

Hi. I'm a Wordweaver and I truly enjoy making words come alive.

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13 comments

  1. Wow, this is amazing and encouraging. Thanks for shariing

  2. Awwwww……such are the kind of challenges one is expected to face in medschool, I know that anxiety when the result comes out….well thank God it ended in praise , a happy ending indeed.

  3. Wordweaver, may your ink never dry.

  4. Wow… This is an amazing write up
    ….

  5. So touching and inspiring too

    • Knowing you sis, I was certain you will kill it but after reading this, you murdered it babe. Thank you for being an inspiration.

  6. This story strikes me Everytime, it’s a push… Thank you

  7. Inspiring ,Deep and beautiful …. Good job Venicia

  8. Wonderful!!! that’s the word.

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