I was only 17. Finished high school and got my mind set for the next phase – A Levels.Wanted my parents to spend less so I vowed to do a 9-month intensive study programme at home. A 2-year programme abroad would have been the wiser option. Would have been less stressful, better paced and more likely to yield outstanding results. But why spend N2m when you could spend N250,000?
Others before me had done it. Some with straight A’s and some with B’s. We’ve all got brains, I thought. If I equally studied just as hard then I could pull it off. I was going to dedicate myself 25 hrs a day, 8 days a week, I thought. I chose Economics, Business Studies and English Literature. Nothing and no one was going to distract me. My entry into a UK university was within my reach. It was that or risk spending 6years amidst strikes doing a 3year-course in Lag.
3months into the course I realize that I’m achieving only 6hrs of private study aside from lectures and lunch breaks. Some of my peers were doing 10-12 hrs and were topping the class. I got the result of my Mock exam and my heart sunk: nothing but D’s – not usually enough to make the cut. I knew what I had to do. I needed to know the secret behind keeping up late and becoming a human hardrive of study notes.
Thats when my Economics tutor introduced me to an uncontrolled substance, readily available in most supermarkets and very affordable. In my case it was already a household drug…right there under my nose the whole time. I took a small dose, and managed to stay up for longer, retain information better…i didnt have to wedge matchsticks between my eyelids anymore. I had the edge.
I was getting better with my exam writing techniques, I was analysing questions of Cambridge standard, I was getting commendations from my tutors for my rapid improvement. My family were 101% behind me and the big exam was bearly 2 months away. God and my drug would get me through this, I thought.
And then it happened. Just when I least suspected. It wasn’t a hault in the production of my drug, nor was it a depletion of the supply I kept at home. I was struck with Typhoid. I lost 5kg and along with it all my apetite, my concentration and willpower to complete my sworn task. I had no energy and for 1 month I had undergone intensive treatment. I kicked myself for ignoring my immune system. I let my guard down and my white blood cells were facing the music. It took 1 month to get back on my feet.
With only 1 month left to revise I resumed my drug intake.I stepped it up to a more concentrated level and also doubled my intake. I became a shaky leaf and I had extreme highs and suicidal lows. I was a walking zombie. No longer eye candy but an eye sore for the girls in class. My secret was out. I was desperate and I got hooked. After the exam I would never touch this substance again. I wanted my life back.
God was probably teaching me a lesson. I passed with the exact minimum no. of points to gain entry into the Business School of my choice. I walked tall with my head held up high once I arrived at Heathrow airport. As I walked through the duty free section, past Starbucks, I got a hint of the aroma that haunted me for 9 months. My heartbeat accelerated at the prospect of just getting a quick fix. I reminisced about those long nights when I’d sneak to the kitchen cabinet, set up my chemistry lab and begin to experiment with the brown crumbly substance…How the sound of the of the kettle boiling got me excited…How the feel of a teaspoon made me weak in the knees…How that first sip was no different from the warmth of a woman you couldn’t get enough of.
I reminisced long and hard until I saw a little boy smile at me as he sipped on an ice-cold Frappucino. You’re starting pretty early, I thought. Just you wait till you’re 17 and you’ll be sorry, I thought. My hands started shaking. I dipped into my pockets and felt some loose pound coins. I struggled to make a stand, to abstain and conquer my addiction. I took a deep breath and took a bold step forward…or was it back…I can’t remember…
But what I do remember is that it was the first 3pounds I’d ever spent…and I enjoyed every f***ing penny of it.