MY stomach clenched tight and my heart dropped when I saw a B on my law project proposal. The shock of it made heat pour into my face and then fall back in the wake of cold anger. I’d worked hard on this outline for my project! I’d checked the information and sources; I’d reviewed the methods by which I planned to present my ideas and proposed a working program. I should have received an A! What gives?
Opening the file folder in which my papers were neatly placed, I glanced through the perfectly typed pages looking for corrections, comments, anything that might give a reasonable indication of why I had gotten less than an A, something I knew and very much believed I deserved.
Odi egwu! In this university? I half-smiled at the thought.
Not one red check anywhere, no comment, no observation, nothing. The papers were still as neat as I had submitted them. Just the red biro mark of an inserted B. Stewing and boiling hard, I flipped open my notebook, scribbled down some words I had just heard and tried to concentrate on the lecture. Several times, it seemed as if Professor Okorafo was looking straight at me as he spoke, singling me out from the other two hundred and something students sitting round the lecture hall. Each time, I stared back for a few seconds before scribbling down some more notes. I had a great deal of respect for the Prof. which made the grades even harder to accept.
“I’ll challenge him. I don’t have to accept this without a fight.” I thought
It wasn’t just a good proposal, it was an excellent piece of work and I darn well knew it. I wasn’t a mediocre student. I poured out my heart and soul into my work, and I intended to make sure I was fairly treated. Hadn’t my father instilled that into me?
“You have to fight for yourself Bobo, don’t let anybody kick you around. When they push you, push back harder. Life is as you make of it. Focus on where you are going.”
My father had always said “Make good grades and get into a good university, the best if possible and stick it out till the end. Don’t let anything or anyone get in your way. Get yourself a sheep-skin grade from a big-name university and you will be half the ladder even before you get your first job.”
I sighed as I looked up and saw Professor Okorafo walking towards me…
”Do you have anything to add to the contributions?” I heard some students laugh softly.
There was the creak of seats as others turned to look back at me where I sat in the middle centre row.
“Your hand is raised, I assume you’d have something to say probably,” the professor said with an arched brow.
My face flooded with heat as I realized I’d been waving my fountain pen in the air while my mind raced with agitation.
“Sorry sir, my mistake.”
I flipped my pen into the proper position for writing and aimed a quelling glance at few of the students in front of me; I hadn’t even heard the question that had been asked.
“What is your name again?” Professor Okorafo asked me
“Yes, I remember now. You were in my former class, Criminology, right? You’re hard to forget”
“Yes sir, I was.”
“Okay Nwanneka, try and listen. I don’t like distractions. Are we ready to proceed then?”
Embarrassment melted into anger. The Professor seemed to be enjoying himself. Now I had two reasons to feel indignant: the unfair grade and this public humiliation.
“Yes, sir, any time you are.”
I forced a dry smile and a pretense of calm disdain as I tried to focus on the remaining part of the jurisprudence lecture. By the end of the lecture, the muscle in my jaw ached from tension. I felt as though I had a two-ton elephant sitting on my chest. I sighed as I took my time stuffing my notebook into my box-bag already crammed with some books and one small binder.
Thankfully, the other students cleared out of the auditorium in quick fashion. Only few paused to make remarks to their friends, laugh and talk about whatever they talked about. I said a few words to my two friends and headed out straight to the faculty office without wasting time. I felt the urgent need to ask Prof where exactly I had gone wrong, after all, that was why he was my supervisor. I wasn’t going to waste a perfect opportunity I had to get back my well-deserving “A”, my God had guaranteed it from the start, it wasn’t man’s decision to take away!