One time, I sat for an examination. It was a tough one. I had spent the past nine months, preparing for the paper but I had that unmistakable heart dropping feeling as I opened the question paper. There was just one word to describe the questions, ridiculous! I stared at the questions, long and hard as though the answers would just pop out of the question paper. I looked around and met the same expression on everyone’s faces. Some had even resigned to fate and had just closed the question paper to rest their heads on the desk before them. I knew how important this paper was and how badly I had to pass it. I sighed heavily and started to answer the questions. Answer?…More like I started to make words up that I thought could correlate with the questions and fit into it. Forty-five minutes into the paper, I had run an out of more words to use and it seemed like all was lost. I scanned through my answers knowing it was utter rubbish and couldn’t even fetch me up to quarter the desired mark. I had almost resigned to fate too when “help” came!
Apparently, one of the invigilators had goggled the questions and was passing around the answers. I was one of the first she approached with the answer. Without thinking, not even once, I grabbed my pencil and scribbled away little of what I could hear her saying. You have no idea the sense of relief I felt after she left. She went to my other colleagues and whispered the answers to them and they had the same reaction as I did. Some even went as far as passing the written answers to one another. The hall seemed to suddenly come alive. Wonderful, wasn’t it?
After the paper, my friends and I were talking about how “good” the exam was. We were comparing what the invigilator had told us and we were all happy. Had it not been for the invigilator, we would have all come out with long sad faces. The feeling was great until I spoke to a friend of mine. I was going to compare answers with her. I asked her about a certain question and she just shrugged. Then I asked her if she had written what the invigilator told us. She said she had but she never really transferred into her answer script. I looked at her like she was kidding and in response she gave me a serious look. In return, I gave her a quizzical look. She shrugged again and told me she had done her best knowing fully well how tough the questions were. Either she had not had a meal or she was utterly stupid, I thought to myself. On a second thought, I looked at her and smiled and it hit me hard, I was the stupid one. I felt good and foolish at the same time. I felt good because I was proud of her and I wished we could just switch places.
Today, Nigeria is regarded as one of the most religious nations of the world. Yet, this country stands tall in the ranks of corrupt nations. What an irony, aint it? The word? COMPROMISE! Athletics doesn’t happen to be one of my favourite sports but I happen to pick a thing or two from athletes that perform high jump. A barrier is set before them. Now, the only way their attempts are counted as jumps is by jumping completely over the bar. If they happen not to reach the bar or knock it over in their attempt, then it is completely ignored. With the number of Nigerians that flock to and flood churches, mosques, one would expect that this country won’t be where it stands today.
There are standards set by the society, religious bodies, God. What we do is bring down the standards so that we could earn more, prove a pointless point, become socially acceptable, get higher grades and so on. The excuse given most times is that people feel that these standards are too ridiculous to meet. A student, for example, would say, how do you expect I pass if I don’t talk in the examination hall. A business man would cut corners to win a contract. Pastors lie to get more money for pointless church projects. Girls open their legs to any pot-bellied rich men to get money. Isn’t it rather sad? It’s almost like no one is daring to be different. It’s like everyone is joining the crowd and no one is trying to do the right thing.
I want you, yes you, to know that these standards set are very achievable. They wouldn’t be set if they weren’t achievable. We can meet these standards by being very disciplined. Make up your mind every day to do the right things only, even if it means you could be ridiculed by the public. MAKE THE DIFFERENCE. Resolve to stand out! Be the odd one! Let people know you by your standards! I know it gets difficult but be like my friend in the examination, do what is right by your conscience.