MY FAILURE STORY 3

rsz_1picsart_1459820801148MY FAILURE STORY 3

We will all have to live with the consequences of our choices whether we made them ignorantly or not. Failure may come to anyone but to see yourself as a failure is your prerogative. You alone choose that one.

After my experience with the counselor (read part 2), and I was admitted into the sciences, I began my academic struggles. From SSI to SS3 (Grade 10-12), I battled hard to stay afloat. Success was now difficult. Unlike my JSS days when I rarely read (I just listened in class and thought my way through answers. Psychology? Perhaps) now I had to bother much about equations and theories. Michael Faraday, Einstein and Archimedes were living lives which they chose to live. Why was I now compelled to find their Xs and Ms which I didn’t misplace? But I wanted to be Doctor Mike so my choices were limited.

I will always be inspired by guys like Femi Eyetan. He came across to me as one of those kids born with a book. He was playful but even when he played good grades seemed to seek him out. I was therefore surprised when Hakeem Badmus told me Femi had changed from the sciences to Arts or Social sciences. That was preposterous! Femi was the next Albert Einstein as far as I was concerned. Well now, I begin to think his mother, who was an educationist as well as a teacher in my school then, was instrumental to the making of that decision. Femi wanted to be an accountant I gathered. Fancy making good career moves early.

Well back to Doctor Mike. I ran my course like the common cold. SS1 to SS3. While guys like Tayo Olawepoo did quite well in sciences, I discovered I began to struggle. I still did better than many people, no doubt, but I was average. This was not the me I used to know. At the end of our SS3 exams, I did fairly well. I had a couple of As, Cs. Outstanding were the Ps in Mathematics, Chemistry and Physics. Luckily for me, my father had registered me for GCE exams which were due to hold in November 1995. That was a smart move. Don’t put all your academic eggs in one basket (am I talking to someone?)

I graduated.

It was now preparation time for GCE. I read on my own. I really gave it my best shot. I used to read at State Polytechnic Yola back then. I was going to turn the tables this time. It was a tough time, but I was disciplined. Thank God I didn’t have to contend with the modern-day distractions of cell phones and all what not. But I had distractions all the same which I managed quite well.

Examination day came and I was ready. I had prepared hard. I was ready for Gay-Lussac, Galileo, Faraday and Einstein all put together. I was going to beat them at their own game. I had devised means to discover their missing property- their Xs, Ys and their MC2s. I did well during the exams. Even I knew. Until my last day, that is. I had Physics that day. I was all set. I was finally beginning to feel like Femi Eyetan or Jokotola Kemi. It was going to be a walkover. But when I opened the question paper, something happened to me. I went blank! I suddenly became clueless. As clueless as people have accused our governments of becoming. Then I began to cry. God recognizes tears, unfortunately WAEC does not. I knew I had to do something. So I began to shade. Anything! I was already down, I feared no fall. Finally, amidst silent sobs, I finished. I answered the essay part and submitted my script. Caution: Not everyone that submits their paper early knows what they wrote! I must have looked like a smart guy to those other students because I finished about 30 minutes before the best of them. I confess that I never read some of those questions. Guess work ruled the day.

Exam over, I cried wee, wee, wee all the way home like one of those little pigs in the nursery rhyme. My sister Chinyere Adeyemo and my dear mother tried hard to console me. I had lost all motivation to go for the last paper that evening. They finally managed to convince me to go for my evening paper-Agricultural science. Thankfully, I had an A in that one.

When the results were released, I can still picture Elisha Sunday (he went to WAEC office to check my results. We didn’t do online back then) lying on the floor distraught. He felt bad for me. But I was feeling sorry for him. He couldn’t bear to see me fail yet I couldn’t bear to see him looking defeated. Talk about crying more than the bereaved! But I do not blame him. He was a big brother. He watched my back. He knew my stuff. I was the smartest kid in the block. But I had failed again. Archimedes, Robert Boyle and Albert Einsteen, their cousin, had conspired against me.

I had failed again. But I’m still standing today. You know why? I’ll tell you without a consultation fee – each time I encounter failure, I fail forward!

I am Michael Nwangwa. And I have failed countless times.

Watch out for part 4.

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MY FAILURE STORY 2

Upon resumption during midterm break in my SS1, I needed to go to the guidance and counseling department to assign me to a class (Lost? Refer to my first post with this same title). The practice then was to get all the children together and move them into different arms of classes depending on their performance in Jss3. The best students were most likely to get into science classes. Most of us accepted it. The world sold us a lie, our parents bred us in the lie and we bought it. We believed Science students were smarter than Arts students. The years have since proven us wrong.

So I still remember the day I met the counselor lady. She told me she didn’t think I could cope if I joined the Science class. She suggested me joining Arts or Social Sciences. That was when my dam of tears broke. I remembered how my parents could not afford my school fees; I was almost blaming them. I was afraid my life was about to be ruined if I went along with her suggestion. I was about to be sentenced to the Arts. That was worthy of eliciting tears. Well, I cried well and she gave in. I had won the battle of her mind. She allowed me to join SS1 Gold. I was now in the sciences. Yipee!

But as I would discover later, that was one of the worst decisions of my life. I should have just gone to the Arts because I am a man of the Arts. Society forced me into her mould and I allowed it. This message of career choice, purpose etc. were not known to me then so I acted based on what I knew. The result was that I came 7th to last that term (35th out of 42). Interestingly, I was the best in English language. That was my strength.

That decision affected my life a lot and I struggled all through Senior secondary school. I was just average.

I want to speak to those reading this today. Whether you are a parent or guardian, please encourage your wards along their strength lines. It is better to build their career around their abilities. Don’t force your Child to read the Medicine JAMB did not allow you read. You need to be futuristic in your thinking. Who would have thought years ago that Programming, ICT, music, comedy, public speaking would be money raking today? Talent never fails. Just be trained to monetize it.

I have had to live with the scar of the injury my wrong choice delivered to me. I have been empty knowing I was not in my place of assignment. About 17 years later I had to go do a Masters degree in Communication management. I just had to fight back. It gave me a sense of fulfilment, but the truth is I still lament for the wasted years. I am a lot wiser now as a father of two boys so, yes, I can speak as a father to the younger ones: Get it right the first time. It will save you a lot of pain.

However, despite my wrong choice, in spite of my failings, I’m glad to say I am not a failure. I have failed, but I am not a failure. Each time I look at my scars, I get a message that will prevent others from failing.

It’s okay to fail. But when you do, fail forward.

I am Michael Nwangwa and I care about you.

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MY FAILURE STORY 1

I was well exposed academically at an early age. I got interested in reading from my days at University of Lagos Staff School. We used to have reading periods where all kinds of books were brought from the university library for us. We would read, return and pick a fresh one. Reading was made fun.

I have had to attend about four schools from Nursery to Primary school. Sometimes I have to skip one or two while filling out forms because most forms leave you with space for 2 or so primary schools. I guess that’s the number for normal people. I am supra normal.

I have always been self confident, maybe over confident, about knowledge I had. I always aimed for the best. I argued with my teachers in primary school, especially in the subject English language. My mother did a good job as she taught me to consult the dictionary for myself pretty early. I still remember Chinyere Adeyemo and I had MICHAEL WEST and THOMAS NELSON dictionaries as our first.

Fast forward to secondary school. Command Secondary School Jos . My grades were great from year1. I still remember how I cried when I came 3rd. It was like my world had come crashing down. During our JSS exams, I had the best result in my school. This earned me an award from the Directorate of Army education that oversaw my school then. I was excited.

Transiting from JS3 to SS1 (grade 9-10 in some climes) was not a walk in the park. My parents could not afford to send me to school on time. If you’ve not been there before, you wouldn’t understand how demoralizing it is for a father, much more a child. Your child is deprived of education because of impecunity. It’s not a place to be.

Finally, when the world had given up I would go back to that school, my parents raised the funds and I went back to school-during midterm. I had lost so much ground. Being the best student in Js3 and wanting to be a medical doctor Elisha Sunday can identify with that, I insisted, despite advice from our school counselor that i would do sciences. She obliged.

By the end of the term, I came 35th out of about 42 people. The only thing I am still amazed at today is who those 7 people I beat were. And they were in class all term long?

The summary is that I failed. And woefully too. I fell headlong from the very top. That was supposed to be my albatross, my end. But I survived. It was hard, but I came back. I failed but I was not a failure. I felt rejected, stupid and retarded. But those feelings did not define me.

Are you going through a failure bout? I’ve been there and have got your back. If you forget anything, do not forget that FAILURE IS AN EVENT AND NOT A PERSON.

This is my failure story. Would you like to share yours? Please go ahead.IMG_20160508_102627

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