It's Never too Late...to start studying!
Those who encourage others will be encouraged (1 Thessalonians 5:11; 2 Corinthians 1:4). I will never overestimate the significance of this verse in my life. It came to me at exactly the right time. Ever since I was younger, my mother has always echoed the words, “be good to people.” And that’s exactly what this verse implied, be an encourager, speak life into others, even when on the inside you don’t feel encouraged. And it doesn’t end there, when you encourage others, your heavenly father would encourage you too. I had four modules in my final semester of my final year- three courseworks and one exam. My three courseworks were due on Monday the First of June and my only exam Jurisprudence on Friday the fifth of June. So just as you would expect, I had spent all my time on my courseworks. I handed in my three courseworks on Monday and I remember thinking that I was not even half ready for my Jurisprudence exam, which was in only four days on Friday.
After submitting my three courseworks that Monday, I had a very long nap. I woke up later that evening and I went to the library, but I was still so tired and all I could really do at the library that day was a plan of how I would study. So I did not have a very productive day, then Tuesday went and Wednesday, my productivity was still not optimum. Next thing I know, it's Thursday, my exam is the next day and I am still not even half ready. I remember those paranoid thoughts coming to my head, I had given my three courseworks my everything and I was so sure I would do well on them, now this exam was going to mess me up- it was going to be the reason I wouldn’t get a first class. So I made a decision that I would read Dworkin, one of the topics in Jurisprudence. Anyone who did jurisprudence knows that Dworkin is the most difficult thing you could ever read. In fact you’d read a sentence by Dworkin ten times and it wouldn’t make sense and you would actually wonder if you were retarded or something lol
But our lecturer had told us that the best way to get high marks was to attempt the hard questions. So I made a decision, I was going to answer a question on Dworkin in the exam. After all, the core reading was just one chapter- 80 pages, if I may add. So I started very early that Thursday morning, probably one of the most depressing things I have ever had to read. But I told myself, it’s just chapter 3, you’re almost there...so it went 20, 40, 70, 79…OMG! I was almost done with Dworkin, I could actually answer one question in the exam, I had started at about 10 am in the morning and it was almost 6pm now, no breaks, nothing, just me and Dworkin. 8 hours strong, I got to page 80, the excitement was unreal, I was done with chapter three!! I had done the core reading! Some confidence for my exam! So I turn the next page , just to see what’s after and wait...what?!! I see a page with chapter three written at the top. Wait, wasn’t I reading chapter three for the past 8 hours, the day before my exam when time is everything!!...So I go back a few pages and realise that I had read chapter 2 which was not even on the core reading or even further reading! It wasn’t on the syllabus! I had just read the wrong chapter. I could swear I died inside at that point. I had just gone through the torture of reading Dworkin for eight hours and it was irrelevant because I had done the wrong chapter. I came out of the library, I remember calling my sister and telling her how screwed I was, and how I was going to fail my exam, she told me to calm down and just do what I could do.
I went back to the library after getting off the phone with her, my space in the library was gone, and every space was filled up. It was exam time in Surrey so I couldn’t find a space. I walked round university that day like someone that had just seen a ghost, trying to find an empty room where I could study but I couldn’t find any spaces, plus I literally didn’t know anything for the exam. 9pm, 10pm, 10:30pm…before I knew it, it was almost 11pm in the evening and my exam was at 9 am in the morning, the last exam of my degree, the determining factor of my fate. So I went back to my room and I just sat down on my bed. It was over. I was finished. There was nothing I could do at that point. It started to sink in- I was going to fail this exam. Eventually, I came to a place where I was like, God please help me, I need a miracle right now because that’s all that can help me now. At that point, it was total surrender, it was that, ‘Jesus take the wheel because I can’t do it on my own’, kind of prayer.
Someone had told me once that sometimes, when we have no other cards left and we have 0% control of our circumstances; that was the best part of the game, why? Because now we gave God a chance to show up, and work wonders. At the start of my final year, I had searched the internet for tips on how to be successful, because that was what I wanted my final year to be, and surprisingly I had found this Bible verse that said, “keep the word of God on your mouth, do not depart from it, meditate on it day and night and then you shall be successful (Joshua 1: 7-8)” and I held that word on my sleeve. I remember saying, God we have a deal- you mean if I obey your word, I’ll have a successful semester? alright it’s a deal. I had kept that verse on top of my reading table. In my final year, I used this Joyce Meyer devotional. Somehow it spoke to me everyday, I’d have days where I didn’t feel like leaving my room to go to the library, and my devotion for that day would say something like “God wants you to step out today” lol it was very creepy initially but cool at the same time. So I told myself, the only way I can succeed on this exam is by obeying God right now. So I opened my devotion for that day and it was right there, at the top of the page: “those who encourage others would be encouraged.”
What could this mean? What did I have to do? Ahaa! now I remembered. There was this girl in my class that had really been struggling with the module. I had done well on the mock exam and she had told me she needed my help with the module a while back. The day before my Jurisprudence exam, I had put off my phone because I did not want any distractions or anyone calling me for help. I love to help people when I can, but when you think you’re going to fail an exam, the last thing you want to do is help someone else who also thinks they’re going to fail the exam. I thought, I can’t even help myself right now, how can I help someone else plus I don’t even have the time, my exam is in a few hours and time is golden right now. But that was God’s word, to be an encourager, and I knew God’s word was the truth and his promises would never come back void. So I probably did what any reasonable person would have called a very stupid move. I called up the girl that was struggling with the module, and I told her to meet me in the library so I could teach her. Something kept on telling me that was a very stupid move, but I forgot that no one understands the ways of God, and the ways of God are not the ways of man. To man, that was foolish for me to do, I was wasting time. I had forgotten that God was the author of time.
So I get to the library, it’s freer now because it’s late, so there’s an empty study room for me, talk about favour. For some reason, from the moment I made that decision to call my friend, I felt this peace, this peace that surpassed my understanding. The word of God had said lean not on your own understanding, (Proverbs 3:5) and the peace of God that surpasses all understanding shall be with you in all your ways (Philippians 4:7). At that point, I was no longer leaning on my own understanding, if I was to do that I would never have called up the girl in my class, because I would have been wasting time. But I was leaning on the promises of God and he was filling me with peace.
So I’m in the study room, this is a girl that might fail her exam in a few hours, but I’m thinking about my friend that was on her way. I asked myself what topic I knew that I could teach her, so I remembered that I had answered a question on 'sanctions' on the mock exam and I had done really well, so I knew something after all. At that point the only topic I knew for a six questioned exam was ‘sanctions’, meaning I could only answer one question, and rather than leaning on my own understanding and trying to read more topics, so at least I could attempt more questions, I was calling up a girl in my class, to teach her the only thing I knew. She came into the library, it was about 11pm. I brought out my jurisprudence mock exam script and I taught her everything I knew about 'sanctions'. I told her not to worry that she would do well and she would not fail because God was with her. It was funny because I wish I believed that for myself at that point. When I was done teaching her, she left around 1am, so I stayed back in the library. When I say my God is amazing, I’m not lying.
Rather than feeling like, I had wasted time, I felt better, I felt more confident about the exam, I felt this hard work and drive. I was only a few hours from my exam, which I knew only one topic for but I just had this reassurance that God would go before me. I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel fear because I did. But one thing I’ve learnt in life is that faith is not the absence of fear, but it is knowing that even if you feel fear, your faith is bigger than that fear. So I started reading topic by topic, a few hours before the exam. And just like that, God sent me help from everywhere. One of my friends came in from nowhere and she saw me making notes and she said “Tunrie I don’t think you should still be making notes, since the exam is tomorrow, that’s wasting time, just read and try and retain”, I had told her earlier how I had read the wrong chapter and wasted time, now she was determined to help me save time. A few hours after, another of my friends came in with encouraging words as well, he said I should just keep on going and I could do it. That night too, I ran into my friend on my course (drinking coke lol) in the library (he was very good at jurisprudence, so good at it that at such a crucial hour, he had no textbook on him and he was drinking coke lol that's how ready he was), I told him I was worried about the exam, and he encouraged me too, he went over all the topics with me and after speaking to him, I was more confident in what I knew. Another girl in my class also explained some topics to me that night. That was God sending me help and encouragement from everywhere. He was encouraging me because I had encouraged someone else.
I don’t know how it happened but when it was 5am, I had read enough to write the exam. I went home and took a quick nap. When it was six, I went back to the library and went over all my topics again. I saw the girl I had taught on my way back to the library and we went for the exam together. When it was nine, I wrote the exam. I answered two questions. The first question was the one I had prepared for the day before. And how I knew God wasn’t playing with me. I actually answered a question on Dworkin, but how? The chapter I had read thinking was irrelevant, even if it wasn’t on the reading, actually related to the question. In fact, there were quotes from the chapter (i.e. the different stages of moral interpretation and how it formed a new community) that were directly relevant to the question. How could this be? I had cried thinking I wasted eight hours reading the wrong chapter, when the chapter was actually relevant to the question. See the word of God, says that God works everything together for our good (Romans 8:28), he doesn’t say good things would always happen, but that even when bad things happen, (even when we make those embarrassing mistakes, we’re not proud of) if we lean in to God, he is ready to work it all together for our good. And that was exactly what happened, God had turned my mistake into a blessing. The day before, I had emailed our lecturer asking him if I had wasted time by reading a chapter that wasn’t on the reading and he had told me that the entire book was relevant, that he just tried to make it easy for us by giving us the most relevant chapters to read. I thought to myself, "of course he’ll say that". I didn’t believe him at the time until I saw the questions. I came out of the exam just with this relief, I didn’t know what to expect but it was over, I was happy to be done.
As I walked away, I just beamed like nothing else, I saw one of my friends in the library on my way home and she said “we made it, it’s over” and I beamed back, I was so happy, it was finally over. This is a digression by the way but it’s one of those funny memories I don’t want to forget lol, so on my way to the library, I entered the lift with these three girls from my class, they had all written the same exam as me and they were all friends. They were standing in the lift looking so petrified like they had all just seen ghosts. They stared at each other for like thirty seconds, then one of them belted out “I’m so confused, I did the question on sanctions and I’m so confused” another one said “ when I got half way I realised I shouldn’t have done that question on sanctions” the last one said “I don’t think I understood what the question meant”. Their faces at the start killed me, there’s no moral from this story though. Just trying to show you what a Jurisprudence exam does to you lool. The questions are real Jamb questions. Even I was unsure of my fate but I was leaning close to someone who knew my fate.
As I walked back to my room, I had ‘overwhelmed by big daddy weave’ playing in my ears and it was the right song for the moment because I was so overwhelmed. God had really overwhelmed me with His love. Just a few hours ago I was crying that I would fail and now I left the exam feeling satisfied. I was just so happy and thankful. It was over. I felt this huge weight being lifted off me. I could relax; there was no exam the next day or the next week. I got into my room and then I shoved all my books into a box, every single notebook, textbook, lecture slide, everything, one after the other. Then I zipped up the box and threw it under my bed. I had dreamt of this moment for so long! It was the best feeling! and then I fell on my bed, sleep! at last!
Fast-forward to a month after that, I was sitting in Bwari in a law school class, my results were coming out that day and I didn’t know what to expect. I COULD NOT FOCUS in class, all I could think of were my results. But after all my fear, I came to a position of complete trust where, I believed that God had got me no matter what and I had nothing to fear. This was a powerful moment, I had taken my hands off my own desires, and was 100% trusting God no matter the outcome. When I checked my results, I didn’t just have a First Class on my Jurisprudence exam, I had achieved all firsts in all my assessments that year; more importantly, I had achieved a First Class Degree with Honours!
I remembered having fears that my Jurisprudence exam would mess up my degree, and it would be the reason I didn’t get a first class degree, but I held on to the promises of God and not the lies of the devil. And that’s what all those things are, ‘lies’. TD Jakes in one of his sermons said, ‘the word of God says that God thinks thoughts of peace and not of evil towards us and so if you ever have thoughts that are not of peace then they are not from God’. I had believed God’s promises even if they didn’t seem possible at the time. I encouraged someone else when I did not feel encouraged myself, and I saw God’s favour manifest from everywhere around me, up until the end. This post was meant to be on encouraging others, but there have been so many other lessons lol I need to stop talking too much.
I don’t know how your day is going, but if you have those thoughts of failure and fear or any thoughts that are not of peace. Girl! That’s the lie of the devil. I want you to hold on to this and believe it because it is your word! and that is this: “no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no human mind can fathom, the amazing and beautiful things that God has planned for you (1 Corinthians 2:9), so wipe your tears baby girl! don’t let the enemy fill you with shame, when God has already won the victory! Smile! You are beautiful and guess what’s better? Jesus loves you! And He knows your name! (I mean, how else would you have found this post right when you needed it, if He didn’t know your name ;) He is with you, He sees you, He is close to you and He will never leave you. I assure you, you haven’t seen your best days yet! Just be patient and see God show off with you! Girl! Nations shall call you blessed!!! (Malachi 3:12)
And remember, IT’S NOT TOO LATE, YOU CAN STILL DO IT! even if you start the day before like some people *coughs* God can still use you to do great things!
Sending positive energy your way