I have never really been the one who got on well with people of same sex. I dont know why but it hardly ever works.
As an undergraduate, there were five of us who somehow were always seen together (it just happened). Four females, one male. I was particularly the one who never really knows the “group” gist. 2/5 attended same secondary school, the other 2/5 lived in the same city. I never had a reason to worry about it as I was more an introvert.
Not to paint them black, most of the gists were “You remember that babe, the one whose guy lives in xxx lodge?”. Imagine when you don’t know “the babe”, “the guy”, not even “the lodge”. #GistCancelled.
I was cool with every other person in class but they were the ones I could call for updates on some stuff.
Industrial training came and I went back to Lagos. I studied a science course, and I needed to train with specific industry which are few in Nigeria. Bank was my last option as I couldn’t get a placement. I thought “since I can’t get desired knowledge, why not earn some money?”
A month after staying idle, a bank needed my services. And work did I start. I had barely worked a month or so when one of my “friends” called me, she was in Lagos and wanted to visit me. I was a bit reluctant because I have had reasons to doubt her loyalty in the past. But, I gave her my add. It was a pub hols, so I was home.
She arrived and ofcourse the inevitable talk about IT started. Foolish me! I told her how I was in the bank for the time being while still searching for a place relating to our discipline (which was true BTW). It was more like an interview! She asked what bank, what branch, what dept, what i do exactly, how much I was earning etc. I answered all, I still don’t know why.
The upper week, I was in the staff bus on my way home after a stressful day when my phone rang. Pulling my phone out of my bag, the caller ID left my heart racing! Why would my HOD be calling me? “Hello sir, good evening.” I greeted …”yes, (my surname), good evening, call me back.”
Did he just say “call me back?” (It was his usual way with any student) … ifahear!. I didn’t call back but then he did. And he screamed into the phone….”You are working in a bank, right?!”… “no, sir!, I am still se”..that was me trying to say “searching for a placement”. But his voice wouldn’t let mine be heard. He went on..”Just have it in mind that you are repeating this next year”.
Anyone who knew/knows him can tell how much of a loud guy he was. As rude as it may sound, my HOD barks like a wild dog!.
When his call ended without him letting me speak, my soul dropped! I was broken. Despite not being his enemy, I wasn’t exactly a friend. I was that one who never really smiled but I spoke to him no matter how scared every other person was.
Six months passed( I worked in the bank throughout) and back to school we went. I had my heart in my mouth as i didnt know my fate. Logbook was not signed, no supervisor visited since I didn’t submit one of the forms as instructed (when this hanty was in the bank). I had spoken with him much later and he explained how a report came to his desk through another lecturer that I was working in a bank. This lecturer had told him a student reported me and there was a record of my conversation with the said student ( yesu! Till this day, I want to believe this line was exaggerated).
Prior to IT defence, my HOD and some other lecturers had invited me to question if I truly worked in a bank. Bank? Is it a name of a place, animal or thing?#mythoughts…. never! I didn’t visit anywhere that has letter “B” in it!… Mind you, there were a few coursemates who spent the 6 months at home! But no! My case was different! Hallelujah!!
I had more male friends within and outside the department (my dept was more like a boys’ high school), so I had this guy work some ish to make things genuine. On my part, I would stand in front of the mirror and practice my defence. My ppt slides were on point with really good images.
IT defence day 2; that was my day, and I was the first for the day. 9am, I was ready to begin with just few lecturers seated. It was an “open defence” so students from other departments were allowed to settle in. I started before the supposed lecturer who got the first hand report walked in. The first thing he asked was “where did she say she did her IT?”. I replied, giving my proposed company name. It was a straightforward defence. Then came the question time. One would think I was defending an armed robber in a court of law. I remember students asking why i had the most questions ever directed to any one. I was done! And it was time to wait for the results!
The next semester(it took that long), students demanded the result be pasted. I was their spokesperson. I asked the HOD first hand to disclose my grade to me, he wouldn’t! He was disciplined! But I was more persuasive. He told me it was a “C”. 9 credit unit course! You all know what that means. My GP was dragged in the mud!. whatever happened, I lost every atom of fear, spoke to him like a father, reminded him of people who said nothing who as he insinuated got same grade with me. What was my offence? I defended my work well, so what? ( remember I was still holding to my ground of never knowing what a bank means).
He said it was the average score from all lecturers present that resulted to my grade. I left his office, went home and cried. He wouldn’t tell me who made the report but I had a suspect right from his first call.
After a few days, results were pasted, i already knew my grade, so there was no need going to the board. Out of 56 students, over 40 got “A’s while the rest got Cs (he told me earlier).
“Babe, why dem give you B naa”, one of my coursemates came telling. I needed to go back to my lodge as I was sure it was a C. Then came another and another announcing the B grade. No one got a C. My HOD had upgraded all Cs to Bs. My GP smiled! I was really happy!
Now, results were out and I needed to know who reported me. I’d go to my HOD and psych him but dude was a smart ass! He would only say “mind the people you call friends” (ofcourse he knew the few i moved with). I needed a name! I got a name at last! It was my “friend” who visited my home! Duhh! It was obvious! I felt really bad. After our project defence, i invited us all (5 of us and 2 close friends). I poured out my heart about how it was a small world and how no one would gain anything doing such to anyone not to mention a friend. At one point, she was in denial, the next min she was stressing on how she didn’t record a thing. But that wasn’t the reason for the invite. I had spoken my mind and I felt free.
Fast forward to NYSC, I met her in one of the NYSC job conventions or whatever it was called. We said hi and everyone went their ways. Haven’t heard from her since then.
Long read, huh? Sorry, I didn’t mean to get it that stretched.