Choices… they make life so hard…
My first year in University was far from uneventful. I came all fresh and bouncy after IB, geared up for management with a positive attitude and pep in my step. Life had other plans for me. Reality slapped me in the face. It took me a while to notice (I thought it was the occasional emptiness I sometimes experienced). Nothing made sense anymore. I felt trapped. I picked a program I had no interest in just because I could. I could do anything I wanted, the world was my oyster. And that WAS my problem. I could do anything… but what did I want to do?
I had never given much thought to this. Before university I always had a wide array of subjects to do and most of my choices were insignificant. People around me had carrier paths, dreams, goals. All I had was un-channeled potential. For a while I reveled in this. Having come from a French system my time in a British secondary school was a breeze. I passed exams with little effort, sped through assignments others spent eons on. Occasionally an obstacle would appear, a boring subject, a tough topic, but like clockwork I overcame it. I spat in the face of adversity, looked change it the eye and said “I’m your Daddy”( well Mommy… bleh). I was Queen of Academia and I loved it. IGCSE’s came and went. A’s galore.
Reality lurked nearby.
IB time came. Less subject options but that non commitment to one discipline was still there. I picked the usual suspects. HL math because it thought I could do it, French and English, chemistry and biology and Economics. Surely I was geared for life. All the tools were in my hands. Still no path. Still no dream. Still no goal. I drifted through IB like a stray fart in the air.
I had no passion for Economics. It was one of those things you pick because the world tells you you’re guaranteed a life with the skills it teaches you. Math was hell. I was not prepared. I had gotten so used to school with no effort I didn’t remember (or know how to) how to work hard. Chemistry was a mess. I picked it to challenge myself. Physics was really my forte but the fool in me thought it right to experiment at such a “crucial” point of my academic life. Biology however was a gift from God. Scientific literature. The beauties of the world were revealed to me, the intricacy of our systems and the wonders of our bodies. I was hooked.
French and English were my solace. I had always had a passion for languages. Words flowed out of my mind to my fingers like gushing rivers. I was a Creator, a Master of mellifluous prose, an Explorer of hidden truths. “How do you built a carrier from English?” they said. I listened.
The day my results came out I wept. The genius had fallen. How could this be? What did I do to deserve this? Nothing. I hadn’t failed. In fact most people would have been glad with those results. I wasn’t. I had become average. In an instant I caught a glimpse of my true potential, saw how I had failed myself and wept.
My results were more than enough to solidify my conditional offer to the university of my choice (It seemed perfect at the time and till now seems to be the best choice I made). By the time I left for school I had forgotten my upsetting epiphany. I was ready for my new world, a changed hardworking girl.
Old habits die hard. By midterms the aimlessness that had plagued the last two years of my life was back. I questioned everything. I wanted to quit. But how do I tell my father he wasted a year of school fees? How does his first child tell him that she can’t do it anymore, that she can’t bring herself to go to classes, that she knows she will fail. How does she tell herself that she’s let herself down, that she had the skills but gave up, that she let others decide what she should do with her life?
All of these questions haunted my mind for weeks. I was too proud to quit but I knew nothing good would come of this. I was lost. Slowly my life began to fall apart. I tried hard to find purpose but it was all in vain. I fell into a world of darkness, numbing myself with earthly pleasures praying for things to end, for life as it is to come to a halt. I wasn’t satisfied. I never noticed at first how hollow my life was. It took months for me to drag myself away from this self destructive pattern. I didn’t want to though. I felt such an end was befitting. A worthless end for an worthless child.
Another slap from reality.
Am I stupid? My parents didn’t bring me into this world to give up at the first sign of hardship. The African in me was indignant. How could I have reached this new low, and then sunken even lower? Things needed to change. In the midst of my pitiful wallowing I had forgotten one thing: I was young, this WAS my time for mistakes and if I knew better I’d find a way to fix this. Not alone though. This was clearly beyond me. I couldn’t take summer classes because let’s face it; I didn’t know where I was headed. I did make an effort to find out. I saw counselors, academic advisors. I still had no clear path but at least now I had an idea of where I was going. I needed to stop pretending and do what I was wired to do. Succeed.
I changed my path completely, picking a double major in Biochemistry and English. Most people would wonder why the U-turn but I could care less because now I feel like I’ve finally found my footing. If it does turn out that I’m wrong once again there’s time (although my father might differ on this one 🙂 he does pay my fees after all). I can feel it though.
This could be the one.