On the event of his birthday, April 13, Mr. Brendan Chibuike Kenneth, a lecturer at the Biochemistry Department, Spiritan University Nneochi Abia state, wrote what he termed ‘story of my life’ on his Facebook account. The story is about his rise above failure to academic glory. We bring you this inspiring narration and urge you to learn from it.
“I never believed I could fail a course until UNN cleared my doubt. I mean, I knew I was bright. Wrote WAEC and JAMB at the age of 17 and cleared both. I applied for Medicine and Surgery and my name appeared in the Merit List! I quickly paid my acceptance fee and printed my Admission Letter. My joy knew no bound but was short-lived.
Weeks later, I saw a red notice on my portal saying that NUC reduced the quota of UNN for Medicine and Surgery, therefore they had to increase the cut off mark for Medicine again and I was among the ‘unfortunate’ set of people affected.
Our admission to study Medicine was withdrawn. But rather than send us packing from the university, they ‘mercifully’ sent us to ‘smaller’ departments in Biological Sciences. Some found themselves in Zoology, Botany..Some how, I found myself in Biochemistry.. A course I put as second choice just for putting sake.
The bitter part was that the same UNN still gave some people admission (VC’s list) to study medicine after throwing us out. So I came into Biochemistry (BCH) with superiority complex, saying that since I was supposed to study a bigger course but ended up in a smaller one, that I will easily walk away with a first class. Ladies and gentlemen,
I ended up studying a four year course for five years graduating with a 2.2.
Fast-forward to 3rd year, 2nd Semester, Chem 324…I had a brutal F! That was the 3rd F I had in UNN. I rewrote and passed others, but failed 324 again in my final year, 2nd semester! That meant a whole year at home!
I was final year forum coordinator in my fellowship (Jesus Reigns Catholic Charismatic Renewal, St. Peters’ Chaplaincy). My fellow finalists, who ran to me back then seeking prayers so they could graduate all graduated, me that prayed for them and counselled them now failed. Those I was counseling and encouraging, now turned to counsel and encourage me..chai…ije uwa.
How do I spend the whole year while waiting to restore my battered image? Maybe travel out of Nsukka so that it will be like had gone for NYSC and come back days to the exam, pretend like I came for a visit and run away again! I chose not to run! I decided to find a school where I will be teaching so that I won’t be ‘idle at home’.
I contacted four secondary schools, the one that readily accepted was paying 5,000 Naira per month as salary (this was in 2011, imagine!) If a term ends 15th of a month, the teachers will be paid 2,500 Naira for the month! Lwkm. I wasn’t bothered though.. I just needed to be going out every day, no transport fare was needed as it was just behind my house. After a term, I moved to another school, City Comprehensive Secondary School, the pay was 8k/Month for a start, they paid during holidays plus some small bonuses too.
In these two schools, I found that I easily connected with students! I rarely struggled to make them understand me, my class was fun and educative. An Mc is An MC everywhere! I could spend plenty hrs in a class without being bored. The little advice I gave randomly as I taught, they treasured! Many would sneak out from their class, sneak into my office pour out their hearts, their secrets (most times, in tears) to me trusting that whatever I told them would bring solutions to their problems. I couldn’t help but wonder how in trying to pass time, ‘a year of shame’ I had become so useful and important! I found my passion! Youths! Children! I found where I should be! Teaching gave me plenty joy!! Secondly, I needed access to these young souls! The classroom, became my own pulpit!
I rewrote the Chemistry 324. I even attended Almost all the lectures. The set of students who were in first year when I was the Secretary of NSBS (Nigerian Society of Biochemistry Students), Students I organized their first year orientation, they were the ones I rewrote the course with. The look in their eyes each time they saw me in lecture hall said it all, but I cared less! I needed to pass this course this time or forever remain silent! Lol. To God’s glory, I passed!
Those are all history now! The teaching experience I got made me zero my mind about job hunting during NYSC. I served in Ibadan and had opportunity to tour Ibadan and Lagos looking for job like my friends did. I needed to teach, but secondary School teaching wasn’t all to it. I needed a Masters Degree! My path had been positively defined by my failure!
Here I am today, teaching in a University to the glory of God! I may have not been here if I didn’t fail, If I didn’t have an extra year in the university! I hope my story inspires someone today! You may have failed, but you are not a failure. I could be God showing you a ‘way’. Don’t cover your eyes with tears of sorrow, so u can see where God is showing you! Remember, our God writes straight in crooked lines! Do your best, do your part, believe in him… You will smile later! God bless you for reading
Disclaimer: the academic gown here is not a PhD convocation gown. It’s the official academic gown of Spiritan University Nneochi, Abia State. It’s arguably the best academic gown in Nigeria.
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