I Am Not Mad

Please tell my family to come get me out of this place! I’m in Ward 9 of the psychiatric hospital, Uselu and I’m terribly frustrated with my life at this point.

This all started three days ago when we were informed that direct entry students would have to write post-entrance exams just like the other intending freshmen. We had no prior warning and this was the first time we diploma holders were to be included in this silly exam. There were also no past questions to prepare with because of this.

I could not let my family down. I had failed the matriculation exam two years ago and opted for the diploma programme to pass the time while I tried again the next year. When I was given physics instead of my preferred mechanical engineering, I decided to just go ahead with the diploma, promising my parents I’d end all this back and forth this year, with a direct entry admission. So failing this test was unthinkable. I had to burn the midnight oil!

My first thoughts when I opened my eyes this morning were about how bright the sun was. Something was wrong. Surely it wasn’t afternoon when I slept off. What was today’s date? Was it not today I had my life changing exam? I couldn’t be bothered with brushing my teeth or bathing or changing clothes. I grabbed my exam slip and pen from my study table and ran out the door without bothering to check the time. By the angle of the sun, it must have been risen for about an hour!

I jumped on the first okada (motorcycle transport) available. I couldn’t wait for the passenger he’d just dropped to find the change to pay. I promised to pay her bill along with mine. Somewhere along the very bumpy road I realized I hadn’t taken any money with me. I decided to wait till I got to my destination before settling the rider. Somehow he didn’t buy my story of being late for an exam. He was seeing me on the university campus for the first time and to be fair to him, I must have looked slightly demented asking him to trust me to pay as soon as I had the cash.

Well, I ran off. He chased me. We turned a few heads as we ran zigzag through the student crowds. I could already see the success chances of my future toasting attempts going down the drain but it was a small price to pay to get to the hall in time. At a particularly sharp corner he grabbed hold of my pyjamas top. I wriggled out of it faster than Houdini would have and continued my race like a boy with a Bunsen burner to his butt.

Like the biblical wife of the Egyptian jailer, the bike rider gave up his chase and held on to my Josephic cloak, shouting threats of capturing me at the gate on my way out. I couldn’t be bothered. I just hoped whatever time I had left would be enough for the exam. Of course I couldn’t even remember what the bike man looked like and now that he’d stolen my pyjamas top, I had no intention of paying anything. He could sell the pyjamas top and settle my debt.

The silence on the exam corridors scared me. Everyone was so orderly and writing quietly. On getting to the exam hall, I overheard the invigilator say they had one more hour to go. One more hour?! Out of two hours for the paper I’d lost one hour already?! I burst into the classroom and begged for question papers and an answer sheet, brandishing my exam slip in the invigilator’s face (now that I think back, it must have been too close to his eyes for him to see).

He refused me entry. He said I was too late. I ignored him and went to the stack of question papers and answer sheets and grabbed my copy. I looked for a vacant desk and sat down immediately to begin writing. But they simply would not get out of my way. They came, overzealous security staff, snatching my paper and hustling me out, claiming I was mentally unstable. They didn’t even let me keep my exam slip.

I went looking for my friend Adebisi. I hoped she’d be able to clear my name and vouch for me. I remembered she was writing for Computer Science but when I got to her hall I couldn’t find her. I was hardly given a chance to. There was a big struggle at the door and before I knew it, the medical staff were rushing me to the psychiatric hospital.

I’ve been here for 10 hours. I want to go home and lick my wounds. I don’t know where my friend is and I don’t know what to tell my parents. I’m just tired and depressed. I don’t know what to do with my life at this point.

A cheerful disposition is good for your health;
gloom and doom leave you bone–tired.
(Prov. 17 vs. 22, The Message)


I love to learn. I love to teach. For me the two are the same.


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