Living The Dream

"The thought of being labeled 'lazy and dumb' by my classmates flashed before my eyes and sent shivers down my spine. How was I going to cope with the gossip and stares?" The story of Grace Williams, who is caught in the web of having to fight for her dream or let her father choose one for her.

LIVING THE DREAM

chapter one

"I had in the past always been confused about What I wanted to do with my life. And it became worst when I entered senior secondary school. I chose science over Arts. Being one of the brightest students in the school, I had always received prizes at the end of each term either for excellent academic performance, well dressed and neatest student for the term, punctuality, most well-behaved student, and so on. I definitely thought without a doubt that I was meant for Sciences. Art class is believed to be occupied by lazy students who just like to read novels and probably draw images. At least that was the ideology we had about Arts students those days in secondary school, and it is quite shocking to still come across junior students entering the senior section having the same belief and mentality we had those days when it comes to choosing either Art or Science".

"was praised by my junior class teachers when I told each one I came across that I was in science class. We had the popular Nigerian Musician, Olamide's 'science student' song he released back then to back us up as we were feeling kind of special and superior being Science students. I was excited and thought that I was living the dream.

Earlier my dad had tried to discourage me from being in the Science, pointing out My main weakness, Mathematics. 

"You have to be Good in it, Grace, to qualify for science, and sadly you are not. How would you then cope with physics, further maths, and maybe chemistry," he had said to me one night during the holidays, having finished my junior WAEC exams. 

I was never good with that compulsory subject, maths, and my chances of passing it were like a Carmel passing through the eye of a needle. I hated whoever it was that brought about its existence. My Dad was right, and I knew it, but then I was placed by the school to be in science class in my SS1 based on my choice and Past academic performance in science-related subjects in junior secondary school, subjects like basic science, agriculture my favorite subject, and others.

My dad wasn't pleased with the development when he came back to spend the weekend with us. He wasn't Living with us as his business was not based in the town where we were living. He hadn't been home for a long time; hence, he wasn't aware of my being in science class. I avoided talking to him on the phone whenever he called my mother and wanted to talk to his children to check on us. The rule is that we weren't allowed to own mobile phones till we were about to enter the University when it is essential and important to be in possession of one. "It would reduce the rate of their being exposed to bad things children of nowadays do with their mobile phones and besides they would have been more matured to handle it." my dad had said

"Why would the school authorities determine where you would be placed? My father asked me rather calmly. 

But I could sense that he was slightly angry at the guts of my school and decided not to reply to him. 

He then dropped the bombshell. "You will Switch over to Art". I wasn't sure if it was a command or a question. I was dumbfounded. The thought of being labeled 'lazy and dumb' by my classmates and seniors flashed before my eyes and sent shivers down my spine. I quickly went on my knees to plead with my dad to change his mind, which I knew was impossible as a basket retaining water. But I wanted to try; at least I was his only daughter in the midst of three boys, his pride and joy, as he often called me. 

"No, grace, you are moving to Arts, and that's final." He said. I then pleaded that I should at least be allowed to finish SS1. We were on holiday for the second term and would be resuming in two weeks for the commencement of the third term.

He motioned me with his hands to sit on the sofa close to him. I quietly obeyed. He was still holding my first and second-term results that I had just given to him a few minutes ago for assessment. We always presented our results to him whenever he was around.

"Take a look at your grades. It's not impressive at all". He said in a fatherly tone. I knew my grades in physics, further maths, chemistry, biology, and geography were poor, though I had still come 2nd position in my class for both terms, yet he wasn't impressed. Any grade other than an 'A' doesn't impress my dad, and he is quick to point it out to us each time we show our results to him. I knew my position meant nothing to him; my grade in each Subject was his main focus.

I never knew tears were dropping out of my eyes until I felt them trickle down my chin feeling warm. I was deeply pained and knew that my father felt it. We were so attached to each other.

I felt that my dream of becoming a Vet Doctor and taking care of sick or injured animals had been shattered. But my Dad has been so supportive of my love for animals. He got me a male and female Parrot for my thirteenth birthday; even if they weren't talking like I had expected, I knew that they would have cost him a fortune to buy, being rare species. He even allowed me to keep a dog in the compound even though he wasn't in support of keeping dogs in a rented apartment like ours. But he scolded me when I tried keeping stray kittens I found sleeping peacefully under our car packed in the compound, saying, "you can't have cats in the house, not even a single one. Their saliva is harmful and can even make one go completely blind. And besides, you are allergic to cat fur; he pointed out. You suffered much as a child due to that allergy because one of the neighbors had a cat for a pet. And then my mother is, a typical Nigerian Woman, added, " better take those witches and wizards out of my house this minute. You want to give my village people a chance they have been looking for to get into my family. Why are they all black in color? She asked rhetorically" and went into the room to get her anointed oil.

"Gracy stops crying," he said and placed his hand around my neck, drawing me even closer to him. Then in his calm and reassuring tone, he said. " You are my daughter, my one and only. Only God knew the joy I felt at your birth, after your two brothers before you. I have been privileged by God to watch you grow to this stage. I knew your hobbies as a kid. I know your strength and weaknesses. God forbid that I should mislead you. He said and smiled, revealing his dimples on both sides. Okay, let's make a deal. I look sharply at his face Searching for Clues from his expressionless face.

"Try moving to Art this third term, and if you don't like it and your performance is not improving at all or is worst than your science grades, I would allow you to switch back to science fully from your SS2, and I will give you all the support you need to improve your grades. Are you okay with it? I nodded in approval and hugged him before leaving to my room to console myself completely. It wasn't going to be easy. The side gossip and the weird gossip stared from my classmates and fellow students. The friends I was about to lose, the disappointment on the face of my teachers and school authorities. How was I going to cope? I cried silently on my pillow so I wouldn't attract my father's attention. The next day I visited Jessica, an Art student in my class, to get her notes and have a chat with her about the subjects. Surprisingly I found the literature interesting as I copied it. My Dad got me textbooks, and I enjoyed reading them. The government seemed a bit too much for me to handle. But then, I am so good at cramming dates and notes easily.

"Grrrrr grrr grrr," the bell sounded for morning assembly. I sluggishly dragged my feet to the assembly ground. The holiday was over, and the third term began in earnest. The first week of resumption was usually hectic and tiring. Students were already gathered in little groups trying to catch up from where they left off for the holidays. I could hear the sound of giggles, cheerful laughter from all around. It was exciting to be back to school. I was sighted by my group of friends comprising Amina, Bilikisu, my favorite among the group, Jennifer, and victor, the only guy in our midst, the best footballer, the hottest and coolest guy in the school; he was also brainy. He was almost every girl's crush except me. I am not usually attracted to fair Guys.

I became suddenly bright and cheerful as we exchanged pleasantries and complimented each other looks from the holidays. I was about to tell them that I would be switching to art when the sound of the school bell drowned my words and brought about total silence as the principal, Mrs. Aisha Sani, mounted the podium to Address us.

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