My mom smiled as she read my final year project’s dedication. It read: For those who have learned to love chemistry despite all odds, for it is possible that one dislikes a thing which is good for oneself and that one loves a thing which is bad for one. But Allah knows and we know not. I had returned home to receive her blessings. Seeing her sitting on the praying mat, I knelt before her and hugged her simultaneously while she made dua’ for me. A mother’s love, what can surpass it? She was elated when I called her earlier this week that I had collected my final result and crossed the border line. I flashback to when I collected my 500L Harmattan semester (was it really Harmattan cos it seemed like Rain semester to me) result, my cumulative GPA was 3.49. Alhamdulillahi ‘ala kulli haal( Praise is to Allah in all circumstances). This was not how I had planned my final year. I had envisaged that I would be in the comfort zone like having a strong 2-1 that practically nothing could happen to. I had imagined that I would have time to do other things than school work. I didn’t want to be reading like I was in 100 level, trying to build a good GP but alas! I was on the border line I had no choice but to still activate READING MODE. I recall telling Dr. Abdulhameed (Abu Rodiah) that I was given a grade E in CHM 545 (Food Chemistry, who would say he got an E? After all the ‘dikoko- dikaka’ Prof. Faboya put my class through in dressing ‘corporate’. He had often said he didn’t like a Dugbe class (large class) and we were many in my class. Abu Rodiah had said jokingly that maybe I didn’t pray well. I think he further said I must have prayed in this format: ‘Olohun je ki gba E ninu ise yi’ ( A in Yoruba language is pronounced ‘ a ‘as in apple and not a as in blade). I think he continued by saying that next time I should say. ’Olohun Jo, je ki gba a’(God, Please let me score an 'A'). There wasn’t going to be a next time. I didn’t do food chemistry the following semester.
I tried to think when my plan for final year started to crumble (comfy zone c G.P.A.). It was not news that chemistry department was amongst the ‘crazy’ departments in school. I had tried to cross in my sophomore year to CSE dept. It’s a difficult task when one is trying to cross from one faculty to another. You try to attend the lectures of your department and also try to attend the lectures of the department you want to cross to. It’s like trying to look left and right at the same time. So what I did was I gave myself a duration and after that duration if my crossing wasn’t sure I will stay put in Chemistry. Well I’m sure we all know what I did. I had learnt of people who waited till a week before exams began before finally accepting their fate that they could not change courses had bad results that same semester. A good number of them do not recover from the effect that semester had on their CGPA. I tried hard to think again, to ask myself when going down the hill began. Sometimes Chemistry department makes you think you’re not smart, like you are pouring water in a basket. You think of all the 7 a.m. lectures in the cold Harmattan, the long standings while receiving lectures, the STRESS and then you collect your result. What do you see? My set is a very special set. We’ve been through a lot but then I’m glad we still achieved some feats (we didn’t lose anybody to death, Alhamdulillahi). I think for most of my classmates our dreams started crumbing in 200L. CHM 231 a 4- unit course dealt greatly with us. I recall the exam vividly. It is one of those few exams I have written in my life that I practically did not KNOW ANYTHING. Worse, it was a fill-in-the gap type of exam. I was really tempted; I thought I was going to cheat. I thought I had to cheat if I wasn’t going to fail but thank Allah I was able to overcome the temptation. I had 59 C when I got my result (trust me I know the value of 1 mark). Then there was CHM 211, another 4- unit course. Inorganic chemistry has always been a mystery to me even till my final year. Sometimes you’re confident that they should go and mark the script in heaven (as if that is possible) that you’ll get an A but when people start collecting results and you realize that ‘DEF jamz’ was distributed around, you’ll be VERY GRATEFUL if you get a C. Then came second semester, the infamous CHM 222(Angel of Chemistry) dealt another blow on us not forgetting other courses borrowed from other departments like PHY 202 ( Dr. Yeye Odu punished us by not giving us constants in the test). Results were so bad generally that people started crossing in the beginning of the third year. I sensed that we just got started in Chemistry department. The coming times proved my thoughts right. I think in every department, if you’re able to survive your third year then you’re a genius. The third year for my set was the year we became the black sheep of the department. My set became the set practically every lecturer in the department loathed and it all started after we collected our first semester results. CHM 311, an inorganic chemistry dealt another serious blow on us not forgetting Prof. Ige’s CHM 331, I learnt people sneaked out of the exam hall after seeing the his own section of the exam. They sneaked out to go and delete the course. I recall a lecturer that invigilated and saw the CHM 331 question paper,I think she said, ‘se masters ni awon omo yi se ni?’(Are these students writing Master's degree exam?). But all this was just the beginning, few days after we collected our 300L first semester result, my set became notorious in the whole of LAUTECH. That incident caused so much pain to the members of my class, such that some of us are still licking the wounds till now. A list was pasted around Chemistry department with the names of the lecturers alongside grades which included 'courses' like approachability, teaching skills etc. A few lecturers in the department passed according to the list but it was unanimously concluded that my set was responsible for pasting that list. After all, the Yoruba people will say ‘Aje ke lana, omo ku leni, tani o mo pe Aje to ke lana ni o pa omo je’(The witch cried last night, the baby died this morning, who doesn't know that it was the witch that killed the baby). Alas that’s how my set got into a trap we really never got freed from and most of us paid dearly especially with our grades for that semester. I recall Dr. Adeoye when he took us CHM 312. He had just returned from Canada, he wasn’t around when the list was pasted but the news got to him. The first class he took us in CHM 312. I think he said, I learnt you gave me two carryovers, I have come to do them’. Then I knew we were doomed, only Allah could save us. But if you ask me, I do not think we were responsible for pasting the list, what’s my alibi? Well there were some lecturers whose name were on that list that and they had never taught us, some were not even in LAUTECH anymore so how could we have known. Though the odds were against us since our predecessors were not in school as they were doing their IT (Industrial Training). Worse, our set was not given the opportunity to choose, there was no INDUSTRIAL CHEMISTRY OPTION or ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY OPTION. There was no escape for us. To make matters worse there were two important courses that the lecturer who taught us wasn’t the one who set our TEST and EXAM questions. By the time we had resumed for our penultimate year, most of us knew that the question wasn’t about graduating with a first class, 2-1 or 2-2 the right question became ‘when will I graduate?’ . I recall someone told me that 300L second semester alone didn’t make some individuals go for IT.
‘ONAWOLE ABDULMUJEEB’, Dr. Abdulhameed called. ‘Sir’, I replied. He was sitting on the podium in the old chemistry laboratory. My class rep. assisted him in distributing our final results. I could feel my heart beat faster, I had remembered Ukty Monthurat Ogunyemi’s comment on MSSN LAUTECH’S Facebook group . She had talked worshiping God wasn’t a business deal such that it was only when things happened your way you were a true servant and if otherwise you were rebellious. One had to be true to God in all circumstances. May God help us have faith in all circumstances because seriously it's not easy. I flipped through the pages till I got to the last page (all the results right from 100L was printed till date). I scanned through till I saw to the bottom. Cummulative Semester G.P.A =.3.62, Cummulative Semester Class=SECOND CLASS UPPER. Immediately I prostrated not minding that I was still on the podium. Alhamdulillahil ladhi bini’ matihi tatimus saalihat (Praise is to Allah who by His blessings perfects all good things’. I left the podium and hugged the person that wanted to ask me a question about CATENATE CHEM E-BOOKS he had bought, he was a fine chap in his third year. I called my Mom some moments later and then my Dad. Mom was so glad no doubt and Dad was happy but still I could sense a little bit of disappointment in his voice, he reminded me a little bit of KAMBILI’S father (Chimamanda Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus) when she came second position. I know the idea of having to cross the border line at the final lap makes one sound like an average student but then I can vouch for even those that will graduate with a third class in my set. We’ve been through a lot and I know most of us were the best in the various industries we worked during our IT. Our results might not say it. But we’re TRULY LADOKITES and I know someday the world would come to give us the positive recognition we deserve. Insha Allah we’ll FLY HIGH. The most important thing is Allah’s blessings. I pray He blesses us in all that we do and I also pray I am one step closer in building the BRIDGE. I am grateful or the friendship of all those wonderful people I have met during my journey in this great citadel of learning. Thanks for proving that water can be as thick as blood. Till we meet again.