I lost interest in school and began cutting classes, annoying my friends, who soon grew tired of my antics and stopped persuading me to keep up with my studies.
When the Republic of Benin registered its first covid case, my school’s administration subdivided our class size into groups of 50 to accommodate social distancing. This was where my decline began as lectures went from 3 to 4 hours per session to one hour. Teachers no longer had enough time to explain the course. They seemed to just want to progress quickly to finish their course work on time. As such, I lost interest in school and began cutting classes, annoying my friends, who soon grew tired of my antics and stopped persuading me to keep up with my studies.
One month later, when the pandemic worsened and forced the government to shut down schools, I returned home. But that didn't mean I joined classes online. I found the online classes annoying online and wasn’t motivated to sit through them. Instead, I spent most days on WhatsApp, TikTok, Likee and YouTube. My lackadaisical attitude soon led to resentment for my classmates who, unlike me, had used this period of confinement to improve their technical knowledge. Disgusted with life and at myself, I disconnected from social media for two weeks. Indeed, I have always privileged my studies and this brand new attitude of not caring bothered me.
One night, I looked in the mirror and said to myself: Modestine, you were always among the best in school. You have a scholarship, which means you have potential. You are your family's hope to get out of poverty. What is your excuse? It was at that moment that I decided to take charge of my life. The next day, I started reading self-help books and studying again to catch up with school work.
With exams immediately scheduled after lockdown ended, I was scared because I was not ready for them. Thankfully, my friend’s helped me in areas that stumped me. Weeks later, I received my results. I had passed all the subjects in spite of my doubts and worries.
Prior to the pandemic, I had no particular goal, no ambition and an immature way of tackling issues. This happened because I thought I had achieved the unthinkable by being selected for a prestigious scholarship and began to rest on my laurels. Thanks to God, lockdown helped reprogramme my mind and gave me a reason to fight. Even now, when I feel like giving up because of fear, I remind myself that hurdles are surmountable and then go back to work. I love the person I became after this experience. I am a changed woman.