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Busola Adedire: Loved Biology & Hated Geography! Reliving Secondary School Memories

Busola Adedire

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dreamstime_l_29039785It’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

21 Comments

  1. funmi

    October 30, 2015 at 1:45 pm

    Hated Biology and loved Commerce

  2. Hello

    October 30, 2015 at 2:13 pm

    HAAAAAA SECONDARY SCHOOL….for me too, that was 10 years ago. I went to 2 diff secondary schools (one for Jss and another SSS)

    Mathematics: MY COUNTRY PEOPLE, TILL TODAY ORI MI O GBE MATHS….chai…God bless my parents for all the money they spent on extra lessons….. I no sabi math at all…THE ISSUE WAS I always got the formula mixed up….and they no dey gree put the formula in the question. my four figure table had some formula coded in it so i could remember….. I even formed songs to remember formula….. I no know how God do am but I had a B in WAEC…. my mother sat with me through the nights while we practised math together…. MUMMY I LOVE YOU.

    English: I loved it…. my teachers Loved me. I excelled
    Biology: I no sabi draw and label…. na struggle jare
    Economics: I was a natural …. I excelled
    Islamic studies: AAAAAAHHHHH…. That man can never forget me…. I will go there and argue Jesus with the man… then he will ask me to go kneel in the sun…. failed it woefully

    Food and Nut: match made in heaven…. I just dey der dey flex

    Introtech: Ahhhh…. I never ever did ANY project or assignment so i just dey chop cane dey go

    Music: I always ended up dancing…. Piano, guitar, drum, flute none of that one concern me….. na so so dance….

    Yoruba: That man will ask you to read yoruba….. if you made mistake na one knock… till today i can read yoruba tho not fluently but i sabi

    Business studies: the class was close to a welding place…. I could not stand the smell sooooo no concentration. and i remember always having tummy issues in that class

    Mheeeen… Secondary school was fun joor…. lets find another day to talk about seniors that almost finished us and all the teachers that finished our yansh with cane.

  3. Cindy

    October 30, 2015 at 2:22 pm

    Hmmm……..I hated biology in sec sch but loved geography like kilode. Map reading was the best part for me. Geography was my best subject in ss3, government in ss2, economics in ss1. My geography teacher was fun all the way but my economics teachers were boring to je pe? thank God I naturally have a soft spot for Econs or maybe because my dad is an economist too. Lo ro kan sha, I wrote my last economics paper in the uni yesterday?? As for English……I was born to be a writer (no mind my badly worded comment pls – don’t judge me?) I’m terrible with spoken English though….. My speaking and writing don’t always correlate? but I still badged an A1 in waec sha. E no easy. Mathematics ehn…..it’s a sad story. I used to be so good in primary and junior secondary school. In fact, in my jss3 I represented my school till national level in mathematic Olympiad.
    Lo, and behold ss1 came. I was minding my own business jejely when my mum stormed my school to make sure I offered further maths. I was in commercial class then so it wasn’t compulsory for us. I joined further maths class 3weeks to exams and failed woefully. It was so bad that during the last general assembly in the first term, I was called out for a prize as 5th overall best student out of more than 200 students. Here was my result…….7 a1s….bla bla bla…..1 f9. So embarrassing mehn. I’d rather have not been given any prize at all. Well, thus began my fear of anything maths in general. I started struggling with general mathematics o. My teachers were confused. Wanted to drop further maths in ss2 also for french, my dad stormed my school this time to uproot me from french class. I sha did strong head and refused to offer it in ss3. Thank God for the recommended maths textbook in my ss3, “progressive mathematics” by macmillian. It had the jamb syllabus in it. That was what i spent sleepless nights reading in preparation for jamb since i had to do maths. I still don’t understand how I scored more in maths than in Econs at the end of the day o. It was a funny something. My sister was wondering how I had b3 in waec maths when she had b2, I was supposed to be better at it.
    I thought I was done with maths until I started studying Econs in uni. I met all the further maths I ran from here. I struggled so much with it ehn. The only carry over I had through out was in a maths course. This final semester had one ridiculous course with 70% of it being maths. Not sure how I wrote the exam….so scared. I don’t want an extra year . I pray God takes control. If anyone had told me that my nemesis in life would be maths, i’d have laughed in the person’s face *sigh*

  4. Toyin

    October 30, 2015 at 2:33 pm

    i don’t think I liked any subject in secondary school. I always made sure I met minimum requirment to get into the next class. You see, my dad had decided for me that I will be a science student despite my poor performances in science subjects. So I found myself in an all science school. I could have liked Literature but it wasn’t a core subject in my school so our teacher wasn’t that great, but I still made it my elective. I finally found my niche in Uni and came out with a first degree and Master’s. Prior to Uni, I didn’t like school and didn’t know what career path to choose. Thanks to studying abroad. If I were in Niegeria I’d probably still be an airhead.

  5. Honey molasses

    October 30, 2015 at 2:53 pm

    Haaa the Beauty of secondary education! Mine was super fun: it was an all girls catholic school
    Mathematics: Kia! Till tomorrow that lady is the reason I can’t stand maths! The first thing she did when she stormed into the class was to give us hot knocks on the head! That was in js 1 we just rubbed our head and grubbingly crammed the formulas. The most of my junior secondary years was a blurr but the senior secondary, that one I was fully aware of what was happening around me.
    I lovvvvved geography! Most of my class mates didn’t they just left the class leaving about 10 of us with poor man scribbling all over the board!
    The only part of chemistry I loved was organic this was because we used the chemistry lab so we were a little comfortable and I was able to fight for a stool to sit at the front while the chemistry teacher went on about methane, ethane,butane…… You know the rest!
    Physicis? We just went to the physics lab for fun! The poor man had a slight problem with pronoucation(bless him) so we just giggled all through the lesson. Don’t get me wrong my set? We were very competitive amonst ourselves so we read like no man’s business at the end we passed Waec after 2 sittings! Lol!

  6. Blessedheart

    October 30, 2015 at 2:58 pm

    I think my teachers had a lot to do with the subjects I liked. There is an interesting contrast between my junior secondary school and senior secondary school. The only differences were the languages and the core sciences excluding Biology. I did very well in the languages and hated the core sciences.

    Mathematics – I hated Mathematics in JSS. I remember scoring a zero in a test. The Hausa corper and lady teacher didn’t help me then. Fast forward to SS2 and I remember loving Maths. Got an A1 in WAEC. Cool right?

    Physics and Chemistry – We had a system where we had separate teachers for these sections of Integrated Science in JSS3. Needless to say, I knew I wasn’t going to be a Science student.

    English, Yoruba, French – The only 3 As I had in JSCE. Was scoring above 90 for French in SS1 but had to drop it for WAEC (my MUm didn’t forgive me for that) I had A1 in Yoruba and B3 in English

    Business Studies – I had no idea what this was about in JS3 and don’t even get me started on shorthand. Funny enough, I found myself in Social Sciences and loved Accounting from the beginning of SS1. Had the best Accounting result (plus A1 in WAEC) in my secondary school and went on to get a First Class in Accounting.

    Government and Economics – They were just there. I didn’t really like that I had to write so much but I had B3s so yeah, just there

    Biology – I loved, loved and love Biology. I think I had the best result in Biology in my school even though I was a Social Sciences student. A1 of course.

    Agriculture – Mostly interesting. B3

    Geography – I really loved Geography but hated map reading. I think the teacher had something to do with this. I remember him fondly. B2

    Subjects I hated in JSS were Fine Arts, Home Economics, PE, Technical Drawing aspect of Intro Tech. I didn’t do very well in JSS but experienced a sudden turn around in SS. I can only thank God and the school for placing me in the Social Sciences. In general, junior secondary school was such a blur, I only started enjoying secondary school in SS1 in more ways than one.

    Memories, memories…

  7. Zee

    October 30, 2015 at 3:03 pm

    Oh! Sweet heavens!
    I hated chemistry like kilode! It was just too abstract for me but because my class was too competitive ,during exams I had to cram to pass.. You know that kind of cramming you do and you keep mute until after you have written the paper because if you speak one word you might lose everything you have cramed. Lol. It was that bad.

    I lived for the arts- literature, government, English.. Oh! I loved them.. I understood them easily maybe because I was surrounded by books on them.. I loved literature and all the interesting books we read. Who remembers Sinzwe Banze is dead? Black boy? Oliver Twists? Our husband has gone mad again? Oh good Lord!!

    I loved Yoruba too.. Funny enough I am Igbo but I wrote Yoruba in Waec.. I can speak and write Yoruba..most of my childhood friends are Yoruba so that enhanced my understanding of the language. We learnt some of these ancient cultural songs. You know the ones sung at marriage ceremonies, birth ceremonies..the ode to God.. Oh! Sweetness.
    Settled for the Commerce.. Subjects like Commerce, Economics, Maths, Futhermaths, Accounts agreed with me. I dropped Geography for Literature .. The maps and all those drawings we did were too hard for my brain..
    Our Biology teacher was way above our level so all we did was copy notes upon notes.. No real understanding.. I hated CRK too.. Out teacher was too boring..lol
    Chai! Who remembers their crush in secondary school… LOL!

  8. mo

    October 30, 2015 at 3:34 pm

    Awww busola! Memories… can totally relate.
    the intro tech classes, the construction and the drawings urgh!
    Maths, we all had to love or like, maybe cos of of d teachers then..
    That English language teacher made us carry Oxford dictionary to school everyday.
    How I bagged an A in geography, only God knows because it was free period back then, just chat away or read novels with the man drawing and drawing on the board..”the earth rotate around its axis…”
    Totally hated chemistry, thank God for cramming.
    Economics was like my best subject in senior class, the thing just cooperates.
    All in all, like d popular saying, no knowledge is lost,

  9. mo

    October 30, 2015 at 3:45 pm

    Awww busola! Memories… can totally relate.
    the intro tech classes, the construction and the drawings urgh!
    Maths, we all had to love or like, maybe cos of of d teachers then..
    That English language teacher made us carry Oxford dictionary to school everyday.
    Agric Sci, the plot we had to cultivate then…
    How I bagged an A in geography, only God knows because it was free period back then, just chat away or read novels with the man drawing and drawing on the board..”the earth rotate around its axis…”
    Totally hated chemistry, thank God for cramming.
    Economics was like my best subject in senior class, the thing just cooperates.
    All in all, like d popular saying, no knowledge is lost,

  10. Lade

    October 30, 2015 at 4:39 pm

    Please where is Edreamz the jupiter guy? We miss him no doubt!

    • Tosin

      October 31, 2015 at 5:46 am

      a sweetheart.
      come out, come out, wherever you are

  11. AMAKA

    October 30, 2015 at 4:46 pm

    I hated mathematics. Kai!! Still do till today. Who went to CDSS Ojo and knows Mr Seweje? He was the maths teacher who put the fear of God in us but sadly, that fear hindered me from learning anything in maths. No wonder I made D7 in WAEC *hot tears*. Meanwhile, I lived for Literature. Gosh!! God bless Mrs Chidolue wherever she is. I loved all the books we read. From Tess of the D’ubervilles(sp) to Shakespeare’s Macbeth, A Walk in The Night, etc. The poems nko? J.P Clark’s Abiku, Niyi Osundare’s Ours to Plough, not to Plunder. I particularly enjoyed when she asked us to identify the figures of speech in the poems, plays or novels we read. My love for Literature drove me to study Law.

    Another course I loved was Commerce. I wasn’t surprised I won best student in Commerce during my time. Economics ,English and Government too were subjects I was really good in. Biology was neither here nor there. Yoruba and French too.

  12. Gee

    October 30, 2015 at 4:52 pm

    wow… memories
    maths was a no-no if derez sumfin else frm f9 i so dserv it.. funny enuf my maths teacher was my padi-padi cos she knws my mum wella,am d 1st persn r ask of afta d nrmal greetin… ow i managed 2 gt c6 iono. well mayb cos of d tears i shed on my paper
    Oh mine…. English,literature,govt,commerce,economics r moi favouryt.. i love dem die cos of my teachers…. i cried ehn wen my govt teacher resignd cos of his masters progrmme… God bless d dae.. i sneaked outta science class my “dr mum” forcd me in2 2 continue her practice.
    My commerce class was full of fun… my teacher is gud buh his grammatical blunders r “OMG”. cnt frgt d dae e strmd my class n e calld me “Ola… enter ur shoe n follow me” cos of my “simbi goes 2 school” shoe…..
    n yes… i attended my extra lessons al cos of a boi dah lives nxt 2 my ouse… e is such a cutie… God bless my mom ehn… she really tried mkin me a “dr” buh i ended up being a lawyer

  13. Tosin

    October 31, 2015 at 5:44 am

    always loved ze books. sometimes i didn’t like a subject very much and years later it would be my favourite – EVERYTHING is fun once you find the connection.
    nowadays i’m mad about online video learning. watching Steven Strogatz’ math on youtube right now.
    the future of education tho’, more experience, less testing. more grass and sun, less bums in seats. i’m a teacher. when i’m not doing everything else.

  14. motebeam

    October 31, 2015 at 7:42 am

    Physics was my main sub,imagine spending hours solving questions on schaum college phy,while w were still in ss2,…further maths was really cool…bio was latin to us…..

  15. Lols

    October 31, 2015 at 9:12 am

    See how maths don show everybody pepper! I was a mix of arts and sciences. I took crk commerce literature food n nut biology furthermaths maths english government but quite suprisingly i hated government but always had A1 failed maths like kilode but passed further maths till today i dunno how … lol

    • ATL's finest

      October 31, 2015 at 10:06 pm

      Lol @ d maths. Government, history.. Baba I got A1 in maths and my further maths was an apology don’t know how it happened either. E be like say this maths na Epidermic problem lmao

  16. deedee

    October 31, 2015 at 7:49 pm

    Hmmm,secondary school days, finished 14 years ago,it was fun and adventurous for me. I wasn’t a bad girl just a fun lover.My teachers back then tried their best but u know kids in FGCs were naturally stubborn,as per coming from different backgrounds.
    Anyway, Geography was my best subject in my senior secondary class, i always topped the class,it was not surprising to me because my dad always ensured that i studied the atlas from an early age. I love learning about places and their history, thus the love for Geography.I was very good at Biology though i didn’t love it. I hated Chemistry in school because we had a very bad teacher,i failed in WAEC but God heard my late night prayers, i got a C6 in NECO. .Physics nko, was just there,the teacher tried but menh,i was not just getting it,though i loved the practical class (glass prism, potentiometer). Economics was okay, at least i always got 70% and above,the woman was boring sha.English has always been easy for me, i love words.I had a love-hate relationship with Mathematics,had a C4 in WAEC,thank heavens.Islamic Studies was very easy for me,that was an assured A1 subject for me.

  17. deedee

    October 31, 2015 at 8:00 pm

    I hated Fine Arts,all those landscape and perspective things were just not for me abeg,i wanted to get an F in JSCE but ended up with a Pass, crazy right? I didn’t just understand Technical drawing, Business studies was annoying,most especially shorthand, who invented it sef?

  18. ATL's finest

    October 31, 2015 at 10:04 pm

    Omg! High school days or My secondary school days. I sure do miss my boarding school for shizzle. Ok let’s start..
    Agricultural Science I LOVE
    Chemistry my favt part was the lab & mixing up the base/acid & sucking it all I LOVE
    English till this day, I was born to write – don’t mind all these Ogor comments of mine
    MATHs till this day abeg I give up.. My pharmacology in Nursing school was hell na only GOd save me jare
    BIOLOGY OMG that’s I was MADE for that.. Anatomy & Physiology was a piece of cake for me in Nursing school. And in high school my Biology teacher was a bitch in Christian soul but she didn’t scare me mtchew.., Edo language dear heaven I passed don’t ask me how lol. Geography GOd bless my Dad & till this day I didn’t have a problem. Physics whoever invented that subject needs to be castrated lol. Learning those laws, #FIRE# Thanks to God for it got to my turn, Igbo language was canceled lol. Fun memories with my school. Economics na manage jare. Account God punish am.. Till this day, there’s sth about that subject..

  19. Ezegbu Lisa

    October 31, 2015 at 10:55 pm

    I live for Biology! I totally agree. It’ll always remain my best. Nice piece. Please visit my blog lisasquill.blogspot.com #fictionblog

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