It’s been ten years since I left Secondary School… and just like yesterday, I was that nine year old who was excited about the ‘glorious’ phase of life… Secondary School! I knew Secondary School was going to be different as my mother made me study M.O Odiaka relentlessly, but I didn’t know how far it would stretch me. Talk about uncharted waters! Soon, I discovered that there were subjects I loved and others, I didn’t… and sometimes, I even questioned why we bothered with them. The thing is… we were not encouraged to have negative conversations about school subjects with our parents. And parents likewise, would rather you be ‘jack of all trades.’ Thankfully, I was able to distinguish my strengths from my weaknesses at an early age which has led me to where I am today.
Mathematics was a subject I enjoyed overall because it was mentally stimulating, it also didn’t help that I came from a household were your relationship with mathematics is ‘a by fire by force something’. Sometimes, I felt like there were subtle scams in worded mathematical problems. Cue… if Sade has 10 Coconuts, and Bode gave her 3 apples… How many ‘oranges’ does Sade have? You know those kind of questions that will have you looking at the paper like a mad woman. Yes, those ones! I am not a fan of them. I would rather we solved straight mathematical equations because worded questions breaches the territory of mathematics, and crosses over to comprehension which is too much task for my brain to do at once. Maybe I’m just lazy but you get my drift!
I was in love with English Language because I had cultivated a relationship with words in my formative years. The best part of English Language for me was reading comprehension passages and answering them. I love stories and I can read fiction till thy kingdom come… for me, it was second nature. But English like mathematics also had a little comma which was phonetic transcription. Although, I didn’t suck major at it… I just didn’t fancy it. I get that it helps with pronunciation, but I didn’t think it was necessary to speak ‘perfectly’ like British or American people in Nigeria. This is where my ‘why do we even bother’ mentality kicks in. And oh… did I mention that one of my English Teachers had an accent? He championed the cause for phonetics in English classes but it bored me significantly.
Still speaking about languages, Yoruba was one I struggled consistently with. Although in my head, I am Minister of Culture ‘20something’ but I am ashamed to say I cannot read Yoruba
please don’t judge and vote for me when its time oh However, I do understand Yoruba, and I can speak it fluently. It also didn’t help that my Yoruba teacher would always dictate Yoruba notes and whenever he decides to write them on the blackboard, he adds those intonation marks which I still don’t understand till date. My consistent failure in Yoruba examinations came largely from my inability to read it. And French? Let’s just say it was one of those waka pass subjects you read to pass just for ‘passing sake’.
Business Studies is an interesting one as I vividly remember that I decided to pursue a medical career in my business studies class. You see, I was in JSS1 when we were introduced to all these glorious terms like ‘credit’ ‘debit’ ‘balance sheet’ ‘ledgers’ e.t.c and I had a surreal moment that it was simply not my calling. There and then, I made a decision to stick with Science.
Now Geography, was a subject that fell blatantly into my ‘why do we even bother’ category from its onset. I apologise to geographers out there, but geography BORES me 🙁 . All I can remember was how I spent more than half of my geography lessons sleeping, and how I was struggling to answer those mapping questions in NECO examination. That examination moment for me was surreal!
You know when they tell you to pay attention in class but you don’t listen, and then you start counting the ceiling in examination hall. Yes, that was what happened! It was indeed a miracle when I discovered that I was awarded a B in WAEC and a C in NECO. Till date, I have no idea how that happened. *God must be involved*.
As I pride myself as a student of life, I had always loved Social Studies and Arts… and I still do! I think its content should spill over to Senior Secondary School classes as I missed it terribly in Science class. Perhaps, there should be an opt-in/opt-out system for such subjects.
Physical Education for me was too theoretical. We wrote A LOT of long winded notes which I think was unnecessary and contradictory to the subject title, ‘physical’. I had expected it to be more outdoors than indoors and where that could not be achieved, why do we even bother?
Now, about the CORE Sciences… I live for Biology! Really, I found biology very interesting and engaging. I doubt that part of me will ever die. Chemistry, on the other hand, is one I have a love-hate relationship with. Although, I was fine with physical chemistry, organic chemistry involved A LOT of ‘cramming’. Let’s just say I blagged my way through Organic Chemistry unscathed. And how can I forget Physics? You see, the problem I had with physics was the same I had with worded mathematical questions.
Plenty Plenty grammar before calculations… *SHAKES MY HEAD*. I wasn’t a fanatic, but I enjoyed the practical classes and the mechanical aspect of Physics (Heat, electricity and motion).
This is a simplistic narrative of my Secondary School learning experience in Nigeria. Please note that schools, settings and teachers differ, which significantly bias one’s opinion of the secondary school learning experience. There are no right or wrong opinions… feel free to use this medium as a fun way to relive your secondary school memories. Share the likes and dislikes about your secondary school subjects, and you can also include whether you chased your childhood passions, or changed paths further on in life.
Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Michael Zhang