Ever since I got into Junior secondary school, I had always wanted to please Mr. Taiwo, our mathematics teacher. I remember when he called John, Samuel and I out of the class. He told us to kneel and raise our hands. The whole class was noisy yet he called only the three of us out for punishment. Most of my classmates were startled. But we knew what we were doing. And so I did not need the I-feel-sorry-he-was-one-of-the-unlucky-fish-caught-today look from my empathic friends. Mr. Taiwo, who was standing, slowly collapsed to the desk of a student in the first row.
“Listen,” he crossed his legs to maintain balance, “even though you are just freshly plugged out from primary school, you should not still behave like a pupil.”
“I expected you to be reading and solving mathematics and not discussing trash you’d soon forget before tomorrow.” He gave us a sidelong look. “Or playing whot cards.” Mr. Taiwo was referring to our trio. And now the class knew why we were awarded such singling-out punishment as best offenders at that moment. He began to talk about our hidden potentials, how some of our seniors had wasted theirs, how we should think of the future, and set goals.
Somehow, even while I was still on my knees, the pep talk he gave sparked up something in me. I did not want to be a mediocre student anymore. I wanted to represent the school. I wanted to compete and win the Cowbellpedia mathematics competition. And so, after getting high on Mr. Taiwo motivation, I promised to set it as one of my new year resolutions — yes, I postponed the preparation till the next year. And when the 1st day of January of the next year came, it was my major goal. The goal in and of my mind.
The second term began about a week after January 1. And unlike the first term, it was quite harder. And when I secured slightly fair scores in my first two continuous assessment tests, my I-must-win-cowbellpedia drive was volumed down to I-kinda-want to-just-participate-in-the-competition attitude. And when I wasn’t even among the top ten in the class I suspended my pursuing the goal. I just wanted to be normal Jare… Throughout Jss 2, I did not even bother thinking about the goal. I had other “worries” to think of.
One evening, while I was eating pap and Akara with family at the dinner table, the program we were watching on the NTA channel ended. And to my surprise, the Cowbellpedia show started shortly after some ads. My mum was so happy seeing young students solve mathematical questions in seconds. I could read it on her face that she wished I was there. This was it. I was determined to make her proud.
With the coming of JSS 3, the thought of the next edition of Cowbellpedia Mathematics competition flooded my mind. And as usual, I started preparing for it on 1st January. I renewed my new year resolution. I always had this spirit of procrastination, and I defended myself saying that new things should happen in a fresh new year, not a year that’s dying out.
I was as determined as a chameleon crawling stealthily towards an unsuspecting fly. Until I realized I was doing the proper thing at an inappropriate time. I was supposed to focus on my Junior “WAEC” exam, and so I dumped the goal, again.
Senior secondary school, and its call for seriousness, commenced. I still wanted to go for the competition but my brain formed another excuse — the habit it was a professional at. I should use that time to work on my chemistry instead of prepping for mathematics competition.
By the time, I was in the highest class attainable in secondary school, I realized it was too late. Feeling guilty about how my witless procrastination had denied me a goal, I was creamed in regrets. I wanted to undo the clock. It was only then that I knew that every class before my previous class was the best time to start preparing for the competition. I came to realize that my secondary school new year resolution did not later work out due to procrastination — my worst closest friend. I cried. I still do.
Ebube Ezeadum, a lover of creative writing wrote in via email@example.com