After seven long years of studying law, I finally got admitted to the bar last week Tuesday. I must admit, it still feels so surreal; that reality is yet to sink in. Funny thing is, the week before my admission was nerve-racking. I knew I was supposed to be feeling all kinds of excited, but somehow, the feeling I could clearly identify was anxiety.
I didn’t know how the day’s events would unfold, and that sort of put me on edge. It didn’t even help that when I told my dad I was getting admitted, he had just mumbled a nonchalant, “Ok!” There was no “Congratulations” or anything positive. His reaction was akin to that of someone who’d just heard something so ordinary like, “Hey dad, I’m stepping out to get some fresh air”.
Honestly, that was not the reaction I had expected. For two seconds I almost felt like crying. Then I took in a deep calming breath, and reminded myself he had been an absentee father all through. Since I got into law school, he had never asked to see my transcripts. To most students that would have been a delight, but to me it gave me the impression he did not give a rat’s arse.
What he was so concerned about was the money he was paying. The beginning of each semester was a nightmare. He would behave like he didn’t know there was tuition money to be paid, so my sisters, mom and I would sit him down to convince him to pay my school fees. Interestingly, he was always hoping someone would screw up, say getting knocked up, so he’d have the perfect excuse to bail.
I remember when I was in campus, I was just avoiding relationships like a plague, because I knew if I hooked up with some guy I was seeing and by sod’s law I ended up pregnant, my dad would have the perfect excuse to cut me off. I could almost see the triumph on his face.
Unfortunately for him, that never happened. In any case, I just got almost perfect grades, which he never got to see until I had graduated. Again, not because he asked to see them, but because I volunteered to show them to him so he could see his money’s worth.
The entire time I was studying, I never, even for a single second, felt like my dad was proud of me… and if I ever had any doubts in my mind, his reaction when I told him I was finally getting admitted to the bar was all the confirmation I needed. He couldn’t care less…
Then I thought to myself, why would he care? He wasn’t there when I came home tormented because some lecturer was sexually harassing me. I was my class’ president for four years and that had me interacting with lecturers a lot.
Sadly, some of them seemed to be under the misguided notion that a student in such a leadership position would have no qualms trading in sexual favours for good grades. Therefore it came as a surprise to them when I turned their advances down… and the bitter ones did not have the grace to accept rejection, so they just gave me bad grades to prove they had the power.
Nonetheless, I did not go begging for remarks… and the institution’s administration was so complacent about it, so there was no reprieve for aggrieved students like me. I went home, told my mom and sisters about it, and I’d still go on with my studies like everything was hunky dory.
Dad wasn’t aware of the hell I went through to get here; and for that, I won’t hold his nonchalance against him. As my admission day drew closer I was afraid he would deliberately screw my special day up, seeing as he’d been in a foul mood since he’d come home on leave about a week before then. Worst part was, I did not even know why he was all sulky.
His attitude notwithstanding, I reminded myself I had every reason to celebrate that day. All that matters is I got where I needed to be. I’m now certified to practice law. I can comfortably walk into a courtroom and seek the court’s audience. That’s all that matters to me really.
Best part is, I’m a human rights lawyer, and that makes me particularly happy because that equips me to fight for the issues close to people’s hearts. As I took my solemn oath to uphold the rule of law and administration of justice, all robed up and with my barrister’s wig on my head, I thanked God for granting me such a massive blessing.
In case you’re wondering, dad sort of came around on my admission day and gave me a congratulations hug right after the admission; and for a few hours he actually seemed happy about it. Then he got himself into a drunken stupor for the next two days, purporting to celebrate… made everyone miserable with his drunken rumblings… and after he sobered up he went back to his sulky state.
It’s taken me seven years to get here… Were it not for the Covid disruptions, this would have happened last year, but it’s better late than never. This milestone is a reminder that God answers prayers. If you’re going through something and that break through isn’t coming, don’t give up…
Recently I came through this motivational quote: “God’s plan is always the best. Sometimes the process is painful and hard, but don’t forget that when God is silent, He’s doing something for you”.