“You will not suffer my feet to be moved. I carry your presence everywhere. Who am I that your mind is so full of me?” — Noella
The year is 2016. It is 2 am sometime in early January and my phone rings. I am angry that someone should disturb my sleep with a phone call because I only just fell asleep. I look at the caller ID. It’s Elsie. I say to myself, “okay, this must be important.”
“Hello Blessing”, Elsie starts. She is crying. I know why, and that is what kept me up till almost 1 am. I listen to Elsie. She continues, “Why has God abandoned us? Why has he brought us here to just leave us? What did we do that is so bad that we deserve to be disappointed like this over and over again?” I have been asking myself these same questions, and even worse, I have been wondering how to go home and tell my parents that my transfer to my new department did not go through.
I and Elsie have just started our transfer process to another course. We will be starting afresh from 200 level after spending the last four years of our lives (2011–2015) at the College of Medicine. I have chosen to transfer to Psychology and Elsie, Cell Biology and Genetics.
As you would imagine, being withdrawn from medical school was not a walk in the park as we had to each go back to our respective houses and tell our parents why and how we had failed after resources had been poured into our education.
Sitting at home for the six months that followed before the next session would resume was difficult. Disappointment, gloom and nothingness stared me in the face. Every day, I would wake up to listen to my parents bemoan my predicament, and not in an encouraging or “this is only a drawback” kinda way. It was more like a “now that your life is finished” kinda way.
Well, we started processing our transfer and we were accepted into our different departments but there was a snag, and this night, 2 days to the deadline of solving this problem, Elsie and I are on the phone, in tears.
What is the snag? Well, when we got admitted into the university through Direct Entry some four years ago, we were given a different matriculation number, and this matriculation number was changed when we got to the College of Medicine, the next year. This only happened to DE students though, as the UTME students who came in through Jamb maintained the same matriculation number throughout.
I and Elsie being DE students, were the only ones affected by this and everyone else who was withdrawn had sorted out their transfer process.
Nobody seemed to be able to help us. We wrote letters to Senate, the IT centre, and even went to different lecturers in the new department who could only look at us with pity and advise us to go back to the IT centre. The problem was, every day we went to the IT centre, we were told to come back the next day. Without this problem being rectified, we could not register, and in essence, we would have no business being in school.
Isaiah 43:2: When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.
On this particular day, two days before the deadline, I and Elsie had missed classes so we could spend the whole day at the IT centre waiting for a resolution or response to our letter or to be attended to, as you would imagine, the day ended fruitlessly and, in another bout of anger and frustration.
I am quiet on the phone, afraid for my life, afraid that I may have to wait another extra year if the transfer deadline passes without us sorting this out. “Elsie, I don’t know mehn. God will help us,” I say finally. We talk for another 1 minute thereabout, strategizing on how we will go and literally beg in front of the office if they refuse to answer us. Elsie has stopped crying, and I'm glad I can cheer her up even if for a bit. But I feel it too. I feel her pain. If I thought the last 6 months spent at home was hell, I can only imagine what awaits me if I have to spend another 1 year at home. Kuku kill me plix.
We get off the phone and I am about to sleep when I hear it. It sounds like a whisper, but I know that sound. It is a still small voice. It is a sound I am used to. The voice says, Exodus. I have never jumped up from my bed as quickly as I jumped up that day. I ask myself, “What happened in Exodus?”
Exodus 14: 13–14: Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
I am reminded that the people of Israel left Egypt and were confronted by the Red Sea, and God made a way. Quickly, I call Elsie. I am hoping she hasn't slept. I am right. She hasn’t. I tell her, about the story of the Israelites and how God made a way for them when it seemed like there was no way. I tell her that God has great plans for us, and he would not leave us just like that in the middle of nowhere.
Exodus 14: 21–22: Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided, and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left.
The next day, I who was the motivational speaker the night before, well, I have lost all my motivation this morning, and I have resigned myself to fate. I am in class listening but not really listening to the lecturer. I am also planning how I would pack my luggage home in two days time.
My phone begins to vibrate. Someone is calling me when I'm in class. Wozzalldis?
After class, I check my phone. It is Elsie. I call her back. “Babe where you dey? I don dey call you since. Meet me at New Hall asap!” I’m like “okayyy what’s going on?” She says, “Come first.”
I walk to New Hall, and when I eventually see her, she explains that one aunty who she didn’t even remember called her out of the blues and asked her about her transfer process and she told her what was going on. And the aunty asked her to wait for her so we could go to the IT centre together. Apparently, this aunty is very connected in school too. In my mind, I'm like, “omo, I don’t know what this aunty can do for us that we haven't tried sha, but make we dey watch.”
Well, we get to the IT centre with this aunty, and she walks straight into the Director’s office and asks us to sit on the couch. In my mind, I’m like, sit on the couch ke. So you mean I am in this same office that we have been standing outside of for two weeks every day? And we are sitting on his couch? The man turns to us and asks us if we will like to have tea. My mind is running wild at this point. Tea? Sir it’s like you don’t understand the predicament that brought us here. But I'm as quiet as a mouse. Turns out that the aunty and this Director are cool, and even throwing banter here and there. Isn’t this the same man that sent us downstairs when it seemed like we had spent time standing outside the offices waiting for our file and letter to be attended to?
Elsie’s aunty explains the situation to him and he says, “oh not a problem, let them submit their documents and check back tomorrow morning,” Eskis me sir, just like that? are you sure that’s all?
The next morning we check back. It is done.
Exodus 14:29: But the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left.
It is really done and we are almost in tears because today would have been our last day at the university if this issue was not solved.
I would have had to go home again, a failure again. I would have had to pack my luggage home the second time, anticipating a new session in another year. Another year added to the four already wasted years. A new session which may, or, may never have come for me.
We would have really been on our way, but God said, not today and gave us a 2nd chance at school, at life, and at success.
Psalm 126:1 When the LORD turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like those that dream. Then was our mouth filled with laughter, And our tongue with singing.