Post Image

Dear Joy,

You’re still reeling from the unexpected euphoria of yesterday’s events. Your Semantics lecturer had given the class an assignment the week before, the answers to which could not be found in any textbooks; it required critical thinking. As usual, you paid no attention to the assignment until the morning on which it was due for submission. Before leaving your room that morning you read the assignment a few times, and then put pen to paper, writing less than a page.

Assignment review finally came, and instead of handing them over to the class rep, your lecturer held on to them and announced that he would read out the names of those who flunked it, and those who didn’t. He emphasised that the scores were so poor, he couldn’t say “those who did well.”

You started to sweat at the thought of the humiliation that was coming, knowing you had spent just a few minutes on the assignment. As Ese, the classmate who sat beside you, began to lament the unfairness of an assignment no textbook or website could answer, you comforted her, telling her you most likely had the lowest score in the class.

The names of those who failed were called out. When Ese’s name was called and yours wasn’t, she gave you a look that accused you of pretence. You ignored it, hope rising in you. Then the names of those who hadn’t failed were called out, and your name wasn’t there either. Panic gripped you. Had your sheet been lost?

To everyone’s surprise, the lecturer announced there was one last one, and that he was going to read it out because it was not just the only pass, but it was an “A” pass. You should have known it was yours — your name was the only one that hadn’t been called — but the thud of your heart in your ears, the tightness in your tummy, would not let you think. You weren’t even listening until he reached the last paragraph, “A simple enough solution is this…”

When he eventually said your name, the look on Ese’s face was that of utter betrayal. As if that was not enough, he asked the class rep to make photocopies of your assignment for every student in the class. As your classmates hailed and hugged you, the “baby” of the class, you went from not knowing how to feel, to being exhilarated. You’re still walking on sunshine the morning after, but how I wish you would learn from this experience. How I wish the takeaway would be that you could do so much more, in all your courses, if you actually took your studies seriously.

A strange sadness accompanies the knowledge that, if you actually put in the work, focus on your studies more and apply yourself, you would be a student the likes of which your department — and indeed your faculty — has never seen. Instead you’re content to coast along, relying on your natural intelligence to scale through narrowly.

What you don’t understand now, what I wish I could impress on you, is that everything you do, every piece of work you put out, carries your signature and your stamp. The quality of your work speaks volumes about you, and right now what it says is, “Here is a clearly intelligent and talented young woman who isn’t putting in enough effort.” And that’s not good enough.

Embrace hard work, Joy. You’re not too young. Take every project that comes your way seriously and determine to do your absolute best not just so that others will take notice, but particularly because it is an indescribably fantastic feeling to know you did your best, you gave it  all you had, and that you did a great job. Even the Creator looked at His work and saw that it was good.

Aim high and work hard. You’ll look back and be thankful that you did.



You might also like:
This article was first published on 14th October 2016


Joy Ehonwa is an editor and a writer who is passionate about relationships and personal development. She runs Pinpoint Creatives, a proofreading, editing, transcription and ghostwriting service. Email: pinpointcreatives [at]

Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *