Other than write my name in capital letters, half an hour into the exam finds my answer sheet as plain as a Chelsea attack; empty, clueless and infinitely boring. I have only managed to tackle question 1, ‘’ List all the equations of Photochemical Smog fomation’’. To this I had neatly crossed ‘’fomation’’ and with the best handwriting I could muster, corrected it to ‘’formation’’. Question one tackled.
Every head in the room bows except mine. When Proff said we begin the exam I had mine bowed too, but immediately sat straight after reading the first question, looked at the Professor in front, just to make sure I wasn’t doing the wrong exam. It was him, and the unit his. So I bowed to my answer sheet too, said all the Catholic prayers I could remember. I had to make everyone see that I was really enjoying the Chemistry paper, that the equations you see, were coming along very fine on my end. I soon ran out of prayers after half an hour- my friend I had even borrowed some other two prayers from Protestants. So I raised my head up.
Such exam moments tend to invoke anxiety among many a students, not me. ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’ are the lines caressing my ego as I look at question two. ‘Discuss’ is the only word I can give a proper definition to in that question. An hour gone and I’m now nibbling away at the unexpectedly delicious graphite from my pencil. Some things will never make sense to me, how for example photochemical smog formation will be of aid to me in my mattress-testing career. Okay I know I’m still trying it out with my bed only but deep inside me harbors dreams I’ll not carry to the grave. A year or two and I expect Tuffoam mattresses to come looking for my services- the best mattress-tester the region can offer.
The Prof’s assistant moves closer to me when he realizes that without intervention, my HB pencil will soon sink whole into my mouth.
If looks kill, I would have been convicted by now. I replied yes, with a do-not-even-make-another-step-I-have-enough-problems-already look. He turns and goes back to the front.
Sam Mabooks is the fusion of the first three pages of google and yahoo search engines. The son of man never looks up from his answer sheet and when he does, he’s asking the Prof for an extra piece of paper. He literally writes the hell out of every question. Rumor has it that in year one a lecturer used one of his answer booklets to mark the marking scheme first before marking the rest of our pathetic answer booklets. So Sam asks for two extra sheets, he’s filled the 6 pages normally provided already. I am on page one, question one. As clueless as Mourinho against Newcastle.
I’ve thought of all the heart-warming quotes that frequents my Facebook timeline once in a while until ‘it’s better to die on your feet that live on your knees’ is the only one remaining. A phone rings from the front of the class, everyone can tell it is Joan’s the class rep. She’s the only one who’s had a taste of P-Unit’s ‘Nyongwa’ in her playlist, and brave enough to use it as a ringtone in Prof Majid’s exam.
This event though spells danger, this is Professor Majid’s exam, any phone that rings renders the owner’s exam cancelled with immediate effect. Eyes fly to where Joan is seated and I can see how badly she’s cursing her phone, but praying silently for it to stop ringing.
‘’Who’s phone is that?’’
Prof croaks, silence.
‘Nyongwa’, goes silent then as if by cue comes back again just when Prof is headed to where everyone’s bags and handbags are placed.
‘’It’s mine, Bwana Professor’’
‘’Pick it up and leave the room at once!’’
It’s one and a half hours since the exam started and I’m yet to write anything that would make sense to Michael Faraday. I pick up my pen and half pencil, head to Joan’s bag, pick it up and leave the room.