Saturday, October 21, 2017

One hour can hardly pass without me dozing in a lecture hall. I could stay for hours awake reading for knowledge or in preparation for an exam. But take me to class and it seems like you are forcing my brain to read when it is not interested.

As a teenager, I could sleep a lot either in church, school or at home. There were times my mum will force me to sit by her in church so that she would quickly tell me to stand up during church service whenever I dozed off. The embarrassment that followed when eyes gazed at me still didn't stop me from dozing. 

At secondary school, I would be tapped to wake up and my eye balls fully red with sleep would pop out like someone caught in the act. Maybe I had sleeping sickness with tsetse fly being my close ally. No one explained.

The sequel of sleep that followed during my undergraduate days made me know that sleeping was big business for me. Staying awake for hours to read on my terms came easy but don't test me during lectures. It seemed like I was being forced or my brain was pushed against its will to learn. Before an hour elapses, my white eyes were slowly metamorphosing into the sleepy red eyes. A short nap within minutes had to occur before most lectures  would elapse. My grades were good as I made up for those sleep times with personal reading.

The height of embarrassment occurred during my postgraduate studies. I had worked for about seven years before starting my Masters degree so I had pretty much forgotten about my sleep escapades. I was in the United Kingdom with classmates as citizens from different countries. Sleep took over in almost every lecture. I prayed against sleeping in class, tried to sleep adequately at night before coming for lectures and did what I could possibly do but nothing worked. Even when I widened my eyes in a bid to chase sleep away, my brain could not comprehend what was taught. It just wanted to rest.

My classmates knew I was a sleeper. I would make phone calls to  my husband but then my fiance to explain my sleep adventures with deep concern. The days I survived lectures without sleep I would call him excitedly that I didn't sleep that day. It was that bad. We got married and I returned back to the United Kingdom to finish up my studies with my sleep business still thriving. Since my efforts to fight sleep in class was not working, I had to accept it and made up for lost time with personal reading, which strangely could last for hours.

The last lecture in my Masters degree seemed to be the climax of it all. I slept almost all through the lecture and woke up when it finished. I doubt if anyone woke me up that day. With my eyes red I quickly walked out of the class embarrassed. When my final results came out, I had a Distinction. I called my husband in excitement to tell him of the good news. His response got me laughing:

"If this is how people sleep in the class and have a first class, he wants to also be sleeping".

When I commenced my Doctorate degree and got information that I would do some academic work, I got worried not because I was afraid of exams but I didn't want another sleeping business. Funny enough, I survived sleep better.

Recently, I talked with my mum about my sleep experience in school and told her that I was wondering if I inherited it from my dad or her. She made her true confession that she slept a lot in her younger years and narrated how she would sleep all through the night till about 12 noon of the next day when her own mum would return from market.

I had to share my story because you may have an issue that is a concern and all your efforts to handle it is not working. Accept your uniqueness and look for other possible ways to handle it. Flogging the things that are refusing to change only waste time and energy. Refocus your efforts on other alternatives that could work. The world is waiting to celebrate your uniqueness despite the adversity or struggles you would need to overcome. In all, give life your best shot. 

I'm not perfect and my shortcomings surfaces at intervals. But rising above the storms to make meaning out of my life is a conscious effort.

In my eBook UNCLOG THE CLOG, I shared my story on how you can move on successfully despite having an issue that is a concern.

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Sleeping too much in class didn't stop me. Nothing should stop you.

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Grace A. John-Ugwuanya is a human development strategist, public speaker, an author and Biomedical Researcher. She helps individuals breakout beyond certificates and become a better version of themselves. She is also the director of Amara's Hub Concepts, an event management, content writing and capacity building service provider.

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