“Nice! So that’s when you officially became a law student!” Oscar said.
I nodded. “Indeed. Back to the classroom as a student, chale. Abi I had been a teacher, or tutor, whatever, for national service, so yeah, it was quite a return.”
“So what subjects did you do for the first year?” Anasah asked.
“Umm… criminal law, contract law, public law and common law. The last one is pretty much like Ghana legal system. And public law… I dunno, maybe I’ll equate it to constitutional law. Something like that.”
The Dolphynes nodded their heads, amidst okays and I-sees.
“So yeah, the first year was pretty slow. Over the years, I’ve come to realize that as far as law is concerned, I tend to be a bit of a slow learner. Like, I take quite some time to really imbibe what has been taught. So it wasn’t always easy for me. And our lecture times were from Thursday evenings to Saturday mornings, so sometimes, man is tired already before going.”
“Hmmm, that work and school stress is something else, I can tell,” Diamond sighed.
“Yeah. It’s not for everyone. Some people manage to handle both pretty well. Others just can’t. But for the first year, I had to put up with it. Chale, the money was good mohm, but you know… that feeling in the morning. Or even let’s say, Sunday evening. After enjoying my time as a tutor with Ghana Institute of Languages, it really sucked to have that sinking pit feeling in my belly whenever it came around. But well, it’s over.
“So yeah, that was my reality for the next couple of months. Go to work, go and study at the Balme Library afterwards from Monday to Tuesday, Wednesday was for midweek service, lectures for the rest of the week. It wasn’t easy ooo. I remember one time I went to the library after work. When I left after about 8 or so, my car had been broken into.”
“Oww!” the Dolphynes gasped.
I nodded. “Chale. They took my bag, some money and a power bank. If I had slacked and left my laptop in the car…”
“Herrhhh! Anka no be small la wu!” Toby exclaimed.
“Major la wu oo, Toby, major la wu!” I agreed. “Chale, they broke the windows kraa and made off with the stuff. But I later got a call from one of the security guys at one of the halls that my bag had been spotted around. So I went for it later. Chale, life happens to us all, doesn’t it?”
“Hmmm, yeah,” Oscar nodded in agreement. “Still remember when Addy and I ran into some kwashey boys. Chale, losing the phones and the money wasn’t nice kraaa, but at least they didn’t hurt any of us.”
“Yeah, chale, that’s all. Between losing possessions and getting bodily injury in those robbery situations, the former is always a better option to take. It’s not nice to have your phone taken from you, but I’d pick that over getting my face slit with a blade or knife. Only God knows what kind of infections you may end up getting from that!”
“Same thing Maa said afterwards,” Diamond agreed.
“Simple. So anyways, that’s how it went. Obviously, with time, I made friends. From Mimi to Abena and Nii to Faustina. Helen, Ebenezer, Nana Antwi… all of them became friends, pretty much. And the lecturers too were good. The contract law and public law lecturers, in my opinion, were really good. Criminal law too, he did his best…”
“Whenever I hear of criminal law lecturers, then I think of how Maa is always showering praise on her criminal law lecturer,” Oscar commented.
“Chale! Since we were babies ooo!” Diamond chipped in. “She always talks of how she is one of the greatest ever.”
“Hehehe, no surprise. Virtually every old student of the Legon Law faculty has a lot to say about her. So yeah, 2015 came about, and it was time to prepare for the first exam. That’s when my regular visits to the WAEC office started, with some long online process bi included. I did all that, got my leave just in time for the exam period, and… June came around.
“The exam period overall was okay. Criminal law was the first paper, and I did just about enough to make it through. Public law was a painful one, though. I answered three questions nicely, but the last question totally confused me, so I couldn’t answer well. Common law diɛɛ, I was badly prepared for that, me naaa, I knew it was gonna end in tears. Contract law ended the period nicely for me, so that was it.”
“Cool, so what was next?” Serwaah asked.
“Next thing? Leave the company. I had already given them one month’s notice, so right after the exams, I went and spent the final days there. Oh, and I almost forgot, during all that time too, one major person that kept me happy there was Nii Tei. Another Santaclausian, who was also looking to do law, and also didn’t really enjoy being there. At least, for him, it was national service, so nothing spoil.”
“Okayyy, so after July is when you became a full-time student?” she further asked.
“Yep. Went back to the full-time student life. Quite a few of my mates did the same. Those who could handle the stress, I mean, good they could, but already I didn’t really enjoy being there, and I was stressed on top. So yeah, that was it.”
“Anyways, the results arrived, and I passed Contract and Criminal. Public and Common had to be done again. At that time too, the school rules allowed us to only resit for one. So I went with Common Law. While we prepared for it, the new academic year began. Property law, Trust & equity, Company law and Torts. So lectures were underway. October arrived, and me and some of my mates went to write. It was as smooth as could be, chale. So when the results dropped somewhere in December, it was a straight pass.”
“Nice, nice. Man could finally locomote,” Toby said.
“Oh yeah. We locomote. But 2016 came about… and chale, at a point, I think I was stuck in mental quicksand, to be honest. I mean, the learning materials were at my disposal. Notes, study manuals, the books the University of London sent… I had them all. But it felt like I never really went far with what I was studying. And for some reason too, I totally neglected to study with others.”
“Wow! But isn’t that dangerous?” Toby asked, looking very much surprised. “It’s group studies that has been a little saviour of sorts for me in school.”
“Yeah, eventually, I realized how important it was as well. But I dunno, I really didn’t help myself with that. So June came about, and I had five papers to write. Tort, Public, Trust, Company and Property Law. It was not an easy exam period at all, but I did what I had to do.
“After that, I managed to get an internship at a firm. Fugar and Company. It was about a month there, and it was a pretty good one, with the other law students from other faculties I met, and a brief intro to how Ghanaian law is. Started in June, ended in July. And it was back to waiting for the results.”
At this point, I had to stop for a moment and shake my head before continuing. “The wait was not easy, because that exam period had not been a pleasant one at all. But eventually, August came about.
“And when the day of release came, it was one of the lowest days of this journey. I was so embarrassed when I saw my results.
“Out of 5 papers I wrote, it was only Public Law I passed, and even with that, I got exactly 40, which was the past mark.”
The Dolphynes at this point had slightly cringing looks on their faces. “Ouch,” Oscar whimpered. “That must have been sooo unpleasant.”
“Hmmm. You know what made it worse? The results came on a Wednesday. Already feeling downhearted, I still went for midweek service. Before the preacher for the evening came to speak, we had testimony period. And listen, virtually everyone who came forward was a student, talking about how they had not had an easy exam period, but by God’s grace, they managed to pass very well. Guys, terrible is an understatement to describe my feeling.
“At that point, I really questioned whether I was meant to do this law thing. Coz see how slow I am with the learning. And while squad are there saying they didn’t do anything proper yet passed, I can’t say the same about myself. As for me, I failed miserably. It was definitely a major low.”
“Wow. Hmmmm. Well, journeys like these will be that easy, will they?” Diamond said.
“Oh, no, not at all. That was a tough moment for me. But ultimately, I knew giving up could not afford to be an option. Already, I had heard a lot about how many people drop out of the course after a while, and even after first year, quite a number of my mates stopped. I mean, falling along the way is not the sweetest feeling, but to give up? Never. Too many people gave up on this course, and I absolutely refused to be one of them. Sure, I failed all my papers, but I couldn’t stay down there. I had to get up and make things right.”