Most senior secondary school students (SS3 precisely) dream of successfully writing the West African Secondary school certificate Examination (WASSCE), or the indigenous secondary school examination prepared by the National Examination Council (NECO) and any other required examinations. They wish to pass them in flying colors, sit for and pass the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) examination, write the Post-JAMB of their chosen tertiary institution and immediately gain admission into these schools. But most times, things don’t go as planned and these dreams are delayed.
Gaining Admission late into the university, the phases that highlight your journey
Here, I will highlight the phases that such students go through from both friends and family members when they don’t gain admission immediately into the university.
1. The happy phase: The day you finally graduate from secondary school, how happy you were. At the graduation party, you try to outshine others with your unique dance moves. At this time, you are feeling like a man who has made the first million which is totally normal.
2. The cloud nine phase: This phase comes with the joy of being called a prospective undergraduate. At this time, you are attending lessons in preparation for the JAMB exams, you successfully pass the exams even way above the cut-off mark, write the Post-Jamb exam of your desired institution and get a good score. You are elated and top of your game. Your parents go as far as buying you new clothes, shoes, bags and other materials needed to begin life outside the home. Everyone congratulates you in advance and you go about with your shoulders held high. For the boys, you may visit your friends to discuss university plans like how you will get to have one fine babe with a figure eight as a girlfriend and be called a big boy. For the girls, you will boast of how your dress style will change, you become a slay queen, have a boyfriend and finally get your first kiss.
3. The shock, anger and anticipation phase: The admission list comes out at last and you joyfully go to the cybercafé or with your smart phone you go online to the school’s portal to check your admission status. Lo and behold, your name is not on the merit list. Shock sets in, the joyful face falls, you question where you got it wrong and anger finally surfaces. You are angry at the whole system because you did well in the exams and had the required cut-off mark for admission but can’t find your name on the list. To you at this point, the situation has no logical explanation and suddenly you hear that there is a second list to be released soon. Anticipation sets in and you tell yourself ‘Surely my name is on this second list’. Advice from friends will lead you to bribe someone to help you secure the admission and even buy supplementary forms.
4. The grief phase: Three months down the line, you are still waiting and hoping but the list is still not out. The phone calls from friends tells you that lectures have started, then to add salt to the injury, you hear that there will be no second list. At this point, grief and an overpowering sense of sadness grips you, believe me I have been there. You start to ask questions like ‘why am I a failure? Are all my mates better than I am? and many more questions. To make matters worse, Mum and Dad constantly send you on errands all day which you carry out grudgingly.
5. The consolation phase: parents, siblings, aunties, uncles and friends console you and encourage you to try next year. You will take heart and say to yourself: I must make it!
6. The frenzy phase: Next year comes around, you write JAMB and go through the processes again but this time, you did not even meet the required cut-off mark. You console yourself and say: once there is life, there is hope. The following year, you write another JAMB exam. Yet again, you are unsuccessful because your first school of choice is on strike while your second school of choice rejects you. By this time, everyone begins to wonder what is going on and you ask yourself in pidgin English ‘Omo wetin dey happen? It’s like my village people are following me. Facebook updates and WhatsApp statuses confirm your worst fears because you see your mates posting selfies and rocking campus girls and boys. Your parents reconsider and asks you to learn a trade like barbing or sewing which you initially refused but because you feel you are running out of options; you succumbed to them.
7. The humility phase: At this point, you become humble. Friends laugh and snicker behind your back when they learn of your predicament but encouragement and loving words From your loved ones keeps you going.
8. The victory phase: Finally, you gain admission into the university maybe after 4 or 5 years. Your joy knows no bounds and you would have learnt a lesson or two from your experience which you share with others to encourage them.
No matter how dark a tunnel might be, there is always a light at the extreme end. Whatever your situation might be, just work hard towards your goal, pray about it and believe in your heart that you must achieve it. See you at the top!