School leaving exams are nothing but skilful determinants of oneself. Sitting for exams unprepared and losing concentration results in failure could be like a man behind the wheel. Progressing through the highest learning levels and passing exams determine one’s future or instantly change the course of life.

This thought crossed my mind on a fine Saturday evening when I went for a walk with a long-time friend in my neighbourhood. On our way, we recalled what she had endured in her 20s, a surgery that could have been avoided as it was not life-threatening. It had now left a long scar across her face.

As we were having this deep conversation, our selected route led us to a notorious crossroads. Slowing down our pace as though our minds were synchronised, we turned our eyes to the left and right before stepping onto the lane.

On the spur of the moment, a white painted old car out of nowhere passed without a hint of letting us cross the lane. We could not even identify its model as it all happened in a blink. All we identified was a driver wrapped with a white woven ‘gabby’ - a typical attire associated with mourning or attendants in the medical facilities. Our yielding had paid off, for us at least.

Looking back at the incident, the driver never chose to think about the catastrophic ending his decision might have caused. It did not even cross his mind to think about the risks involved had he made one wrong move. We wished him a safe arrival. He was apparently not paying attention while driving, just a man behind the wheel.

As much as we did not want him to get in an accident, we did not wish for him to shake the near-miss incident off or stand by his reckless choice. We hoped for him to be consumed by the terrible outcome that could have happened. If not an accident, we ought to feel remorse for hitting him.

Our yielding on the road, which avoided an accident, led me to bring up the incidents happening in the school leaving examinations currently underway all over Ethiopia. I hailed the utmost fluency demonstrated by the administration while lamenting the thousands of students who boycotted the exam because it was clinically administered to avoid cheating. It was an eyebrow raiser to my friend, who was wondering if it had anything to do with our topic.

Syria is the birthplace of farming, a dream place for those interested in beekeeping, with a specific race of honey bees and traditions that have evolved to expertise. It contributes to making Syria a desert land buzzing with life. This is the perfect example of the need to take exams. Exams direct or redirect choices in life.

Life’s essence is being continuously fit to its tests; not preparing oneself for continuous tests is the same as crossing the roads as the man did that evening, falling head over heels into unforeseen circumstances.

PUBLISHED ON Oct 22,2022 [ VOL 23 , NO 1173]

Tadesse Tsegaye (, a polyglot with experience in multicultural-cum-institutional settings in resources management.

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