I’m not sure if I’m far too late, but as they say, better late than never.
To the professor I forgive but will never forget and to the me that was too absorbed in the moment.
It was just an ordinary day, we were swooped with events coming up. College was simply buzzing with excitement of rushing through the syllabus and muddling through various events, fetching laurels and keeping a stable fame going and that having said , it was my final year there.
I was asked to meet with a sweet professor , Mrs.A, just after the recess (break) to plan an event and get info so I could work on my compering skills alil better. And so as I made my way towards the place she asked me to wait, I heard a man screaming black and blue and white, it took me a moment to realise he was indeed taking the brunt of his pent up frustrations on me. And dare I utter a word in my defense I was told I had no right to speak, I was mannerless and a “Nothing” , a hell lot many things, and also that my parents had failed miserably in my upbringing; now that struck a chord too deep. (He was a professor in the college as well, just never been my professor.)
One: my upbringing was/is utter perfection, I had just the right manners and modesty to never raise my voice at elders especially not professors. NO ONE HAS A RIGHT TO QUESTION THAT.
Two: I am an Ace. Success has always been my friend. I hustle and work hard, I’ve not got everything that I achieved, easily served on a platter. I am most definitely not a “Nothing.”
Three: Students are the assets a professor should feel blessed to nurture and mould, they are not your personal punching bag. Especially, when a professor knows not a thing about me, that gives them absolutely no right to be a judge of my character. Honestly, no professor is a judge, you are meant to teach and guide, not give your opinion on someone. That does not come in your job requirements/specification . If you can’t be a motivator to help positive increase in your pupils then certainly don’t be the source of demotivation, humiliation and unjustness to curb the growth. Correct the wrong, but don’t abuse your designation to manipulate the good as well. To be a role model, you have to be a judge of your own character on a daily basis. No one becomes a teacher overnight, sometimes not even in years, your experience and qualification will mean nothing to a student if you dont give them something to remember you by, something solid, something good and cherishable, if that even must be your explaining skills or a just a smile to go on.
Four: I wonder if he ever wondered what did he earn by creating a reputation of terror, fear and bitterness in his pupils ? And that saying, I was not the only one he ever humiliated. The only thing that happened alil differently was, my parents wouldn’t take such an experience easy. Thank God they did not. It did make me feel alot better to have someone stand up for me.
It’s not like I didn’t stand up for myself , no matter how much I felt like shattering in the moment, I did have it in me to soak what had happened before the entire college, and walk to the principal’s office to speak what I felt and let him be a judge. Gladly the professor who had asked me to meet her, Mrs.A, spoke for me, as even she was not spared in the process of very public humiliation.
The other professor emphasized to her and the vice principal that I – a nothing is worth not being the compere of the upcoming event or any event for that matter . He told her that she didn’t know how to get better suited students and something more along the lines, that I was not fit to be in the organising committee.
While most of the college staff actually had nothing bad against me, I don’t really get it how had this professor been so cruel with his words when never had we the chance to even meet, forget greet in my 2.5 years of existence there. Unbelievable!
My fault was that I wasn’t in class after the recess bell, and it was so naturally presumed that I was a lying , manipulative student, ready to bunk and give an excuse of meeting a teacher. When in reality I truly was, even when Mrs. A corrected him that she had asked me to meet her, he gave her a piece of his mind. That was even more uncalled for.
Five: That day I learnt a very very crucial lesson. I had not one friend in that entire damn college who came up to me and say a word or even ask if I’m okay. Not even the one’s I was close to, even after the soap opera had ended. Everyone around was too stubborn on pretending that nothing had happened and I most definitely was either invisible or didn’t exist in that moment. I don’t know what exactly they feared, him or that I would insult them. But honestly it just made me realize, how poor indeed I was in the friends department. The only people who stood beside me was that sweet professor and my parents -despite not witnessing the situation.
I envy those students who have friends to stand up for them, when I do read about similar experiences in the newspapers. I feel sad to accept, there wasn’t a soul among my peers to say a word, until it was too late, like it didn’t even matter then.
May be a reason I am not so close to anyone that is tagged with the word college, I guess.
Well this happened almost 4-5 years ago, but it still is fresh.
When the professor did realize the mistake he did have something to say to me, what with the pressure of the staff standing for me, after the scene with my parents, and all. I remember the exact words he said – ” I didn’t know who you were. But you should know that even if I threw gold in the gutter, gold will still be gold, its value will not decrease, it will always shine and sparkle wherever it is.”
I smiled and left.
That man a few days back broke hell loose to ensure it was imprinted in my head and the entire college that I was a mere nothing, and now he parables me about being the gold, in a corridor that had no other soul present. Irony of life . You can humiliate before the entire college, but apologies are to be private ?
The damage was done, it couldn’t be undone, and the fact that I was solely determined that my marksheet would scream that I -a nothing am an achiever of something, had a burning fuel in me. I did it, I was able to get me a 2nd Rank at the state in my bachelor’s degree.
Humor me again, Why throw the gold in the gutter? Who does that ? Oh but some do!
So dear self,
Right here, right now, we have made our peace. But I needed to speak up for the me that stood in shock listening to crude words thrown without sparing any nerve back then.
Time to get it straight , shit does happen. As funny as things recalling now seem, it was indeed a grave situation to be in. Especially feeling alone momentarily and questioning if 3 years in a place had given me even one authentic person to rely on or much less call them friends?
No matter how much time you invest in people, not all are meant to be your friends, some are just strangers beneath the word hanging above their fake facades .
Life is not always about give give forgive, it is also about learning to stand up for your own self. I wish it was me now that was present then, because somehow this self of mine is much more able to ensure no one walks over me and gets away with it.
But it’s okay. There’s alot to learn and kindness will always be our virtue, so I wish him peace who has none, and wish them peace who’s masks life had undone.
May be I am alil bitter about what happened, because it honestly is not as easy as people often preach, I can forgive, and I genuinely have, but forgetting is not easily achieved.
I’m happier , wiser and blessed. All that happened, had to, it made me open up to alot of things, and the main lessons of all were;
One : the entire world will fail you, but parents never forsake their child. Honour and respect and love them for they unconditionally love you. And they stand by you, when no one will. Treasure their presence indefinitely.
Two: Things don’t last. Everything is temporary. It passes. Bad times and good, slip away as you blink. You will laugh at the chaos in time. And everything sums up to this question, “How much are you willing to lose and what all are you willing to embrace in a journey of learning to self love and self discover the infinity of all your abilities?”
Thank you for being patient then. It’s okay that you found it difficult to speak up more, it’s okay that you felt your lowest. It’s okay that it took me so long to put this all into words. But for once , now I can lay this to rest in peace.
All you who have had similar experiences or worse, standing up for yourself should come freely to you, if you are right no one screaming at you has a right to tell you otherwise. Give them time to vent and then ensure they realise it was all futile.
Because no one can take away from you the freedom of speech, a significant fundamental right. Practice it for positive impacts and preserving the goodness, stand up for yourself.
(Well, some would say that I’m making a big fuss about something so stupid but it’s not. It taught me something worth sharing. )