My Guidance Counsellor

Hi hi 🙂

To all of you who have called and texted, wanting to know why things have been very quiet around here lately, thank you very much for loving us and following so faithfully. To those who wondered quietly ;), we cherish you too for caring. The answer to your questions will soon be manifest, ceteris paribus. 

In the meantime, the story below is that kind that is both fiction and non-fiction, you know those greedy ones? Yes. It was inspired by a facebook post by one of my sisters from another mother. Please enjoy …

My counsellor

Years ago when I was in secondary school I went to the Guidance Counselor’s office to talk about my future. Two years earlier in SS 1, I had chosen the Science class over Arts without consulting anyone because at the time, it felt proper. And in the following two years, while things looked rosy on the outside, I agonizingly vacillated between my passion for the Arts and the career path I had chosen.

So when it was time to apply to universities, I thought ‘maybe … just maybe I can make it right’. I decided to do the first thing I had neglected earlier – seek coaching. And that was how I ended up in Miss Ugo’s office.

I remember walking into her ‘office’ and thinking that I just could not end up in one like that. It shamed me sometimes to think so lowly of my teacher but it was such an undignified workspace. It was probably 10ft by 5ft; a simple wooden table sat in the centre effectively dividing the space in two; two chairs on either side of the table and two shelves (of the same polished wood) were the only other furniture. Then there were books; makeshift mountains of books covering most of the table and floor, tomes that caused the wooden tiers of the shelves to curve, and were piled high along the cardboard wood walls, almost to the ceiling. She smiled when she saw me, and beckoned me in. I moved books aside to sit, trying not to think about how it felt like consulting a witchdoctor in a Nollywood clip.

As best as I could – and the words were not easy to find – I explained my dilemma to Miss Ugo. I told her that I was making very good grades in Science class and I even enjoyed some of the Physics and Biology classes, but I could not get past the feeling that I should be in the Arts; I told her how I loved my English and Literature classes to death, how I could swap my break-time for a debate on government and politics; I told her how this feeling grew steadily from SS 1 through SS 2 until the first term in SS 3 when I decided to make the move; I approached Ibechukwu in the Arts class and after listening to him and leafing through his Government and CRK notes (two large thick-covered notes worth of material EACH), I chickened out and stayed in the Science class. I told Miss Ugo that for the choice of a course to study at university, I wanted to find something which could leverage my sound Science background while allowing me explore my love for the Arts.

— Is that all? She asked.



Still seated, she swiveled to her right, plucked a hefty book from the shelf and dumped it with an oomf on the mountain of books that was her table. I picked out one word – Architecture – before she slammed yet another large one over it, and another, and another. From all over – behind the door, against the wall, over my shoulder, beneath the table – she pulled out books with multicolored backs, all thick as bibles, and piled them on top of each other.

When she was done, Miss Ugo shifted in her seat and looked at me – I scraped my seat to the right, because I could no longer see her face over the pile.

–See this book here, it is for those people that like Fine Arts, like Mr. Umunna, those that like to draw and paint.

She handed me a volume whose cover read ‘Fine The Arts – choose right for college!’ in flamboyant colors. There was a –

— And this one is for those people that like Mathematics, like Algebra and small small calculations.

This one was thicker than the fine arts book, but surprisingly lighter, I dropped it on top of the first book, in my lap.

— If you like engineering, those people that fly airplanes and build machines, sometimes they even go to space; if you like that kind of thing, look at this one.

She handed it over. I dropped it in my lap.

— This one is for medicine and medical sciences, doctors, pharmacists, lab scientists and those people that do research for diseases and cures in big hospitals. You will see those ones here.

Hand. Drop.

— Do you like to read novels? If you like storybooks and all those figures of speech in literature, or even English, or Law, you will see many of that here.

Hand. Drop.

This went on until the entire pile of books had been transferred from the table to my lap. Then she adjusted her spectacles and smiled a very reassuring smile. Unsure of what to do, I thanked her.

— No problem, my dear. Just make sure you return them soon so that other people can also use them.

I staggered a little under the weight. Balancing the stack of books on my hands in front of me, I used the door. The day was Friday.

First thing Monday morning, I returned the books to Miss Ugo’s office.

— I hope they helped?

— Yes, they did. Thank you very much, ma.

— You’re welcome, my dear.

She smiled, and I used the door.

If she had paid any attention, Miss Ugo might have noticed that the thin film of dust on some of the book covers remained undisturbed, and that the books were returned stacked in the same order she had given them to me. She would have known that I never read them.

Share with us below if you had any Guidance counsellor experiences … have a fabulous day!


19 thoughts on “My Guidance Counsellor

  1. “Chisom” that’s all i had to say ar the end. Ofcourse there was a smile to the Chisom. Well i never had any such experience. They were all scary. More importanrly i knew what i wanted to do. I mean arts was for me. Science on the other hand…hian i always wondered why they had to balance the equation. i never saw two or three or five being dropped into anything bikonu. And i had this irrational fear that the board would explode if they kept balancing that thing. oh yes i always had a contorted face in Chem classes. Biology was great oo. Physics…lol…that one was just there. I loved arts..debates…politics…break periods spent in one meeting or the other. Then during first period after break you get to eat and while everyone is asking why you didn’t you say “judge’s meeting”. hehehe. sha nice write up nna. If only she had noticed the thick layer of dust. Funny scenario would have been you telling her “oh i wanted to return it exactly how i got it”. lol

    • Lmao @ ‘why they had to balance the equation’. My dear, I know exactly what you mean about loving arts, debates, politics, and the life of the ‘busy-student’ hopping from one meeting to the other.hehehe. What can I say, some of us are luckier than the rest and are blessed with clear vision of the road to take. Thankfully, hopefully, mercifully, we will all reach our destined niches – one way or another – from where we will shine till there’s nothing more to give. Thanks Ezinma 🙂

  2. Lol… Mine’s similar. Though painting, acting, singing traits were there; i still loved dy/ dx. I believe that made my inclination to science more pronounced than arts. Nice piece, as usual!

  3. Someone looks to me like she needs a Counsellor herself, cause she really does suck at being one and oughta go find another career path…one that actually DOES work! *tsking*

    Enjoyed reading this piece I did Chisom, crazy hilarious and hopefully; the one seeking to be helped, against all ‘odds’, ‘counselling’ nonetheless; discovered him/herself! I hope! 😂😂😂

    • You’re spot on right there, Yem-yem … SHE was the one who needed counselling. About discovering him/herself, this character is still on the journey, taking steps one at a time, a work in progress. Methinks that process is the success in itself, no? 🙂

  4. Nice one Chisom.

    I guess I always knew what I wanted to do. However, I wanted to be able writer (not just an occasional one)

    I told my self that I could study anything in the university and still no become a Flora Nwapa.

    The g&c department knew only one thing: grouping lessons. Thank God I never visited them

    I totally loved this article.. Daalu rinne

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