21 Nov 2012


So I decided to digress a bit from my usual rant on the decay in our system of education, my displeasure with the NYSC in kwara, and I thought it would be best to write about something I have always wanted to share with students in the tertiary institution (see me writing like one grandma, I only just finished my first degree), I wish I was in school, because I’d have found it easier to get “in the zone” and preach, but since I have been through school i think I would be able to pass my message across. I do hope all Nigerian youths in the Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges of Education who might read this would please not take what I’m about to write out of context, and would reflect on it.

Everyone who has scaled the hurdle of WAEC and NECO would agree with me when I say the next thing on one’s mind is always how to “jam” jamb and get into the university. While some people were lucky enough to have scaled through after just one sitting, others like me that had to write jamb more than twice can tell you how frustrating that was. The sadness that envelopes you when you discuss with your mates with whom you completed your secondary school education and you discover that they have been accepted into one university or the other is usually overwhelming. To some, they feel they have failed, and begin to take up different vices and bad habits. To others, it’s a wakeup call to buckle up and devote more time to studying with the hope that someday it would pay off.  Some others persuade their parents to pool all the resources they have to pay off “special centers” to arrange “special packages” for them that most times guarantees them acceptance to study the courses of their choice in the university they choose. My point is, the hustle for admission into universities in Nigeria is relentless, until one day, you are given admission.

Now my major concern is what happens after one finally gets accepted to study in the university. From what I observed while schooling at the University of Lagos, I discovered that as soon as some students are granted admission they become “relaxed”. They begin to pay more attention to what they wear, how they look, the sort of guys that “toast “them (some girls), and the latest parties that take place in school. As times goes on, especially in their first year, they begin to forget the real reason why they were sent to school in the first place. The result most times is disheartening, at the end of the first year in school, majority will not be able to boast of a 2.0 gpa. I am not trying to generalize here, and please do not think I am only referring to students of the University of Lagos, it is something that happens in almost every tertiary institution. Young people tend to get lost in the crowd, forgetting the stress they went through to secure their entry into the university.

While I am aware that not every student is gifted the same way, and not everyone can go through school and graduate with either or a First Class or a Second Class Upper or a Distinction, all I am trying to say is students should know their strengths. If you know that you are not capable of “multi-tasking”, do not join the bandwagon. Focus on the main reason you were sent to school. Most times the complaint of some students is that the lecturers are “wicked” or “inadequate” (which most times is true), but as a student, can you honestly say you pulled your weight? Can you really say you studied enough? While I was in school, I knew people who had never visited the library throughout their stay in school; and the few that went there at all most times went there to sleep because there was air conditioning in the library! Most students never read to gain a better understanding, instead they read because they want to pass and be done with it. That is why when you ask a 200 level student what was studied in 100 level, he/she most times would not be able to provide good answers. At the end of the day you have students completing their university education with a pass. I know a lot of people who might read this might think I am trying to sound like I know it all, or might feel I am being too self righteous; but the truth is anything worth doing at all is worth doing well. Like it or not the labor market in Nigeria today is literally “not smiling”. The only people that can afford to be unserious with their school work so to say, are people who have rich fathers or uncles somewhere who can easily place them somewhere when they are done with school. These days, no one is willing to employ anyone with less than a Second Class Upper, and even at that, these people who have such qualifications are not guaranteed employment.

These days, it is who you know, and who can fix you somewhere, even with your first class or 2.1. I am not saying there have not been people who have been able to secure employment with lesser qualifications, all I am saying is that it is better to be safe than sorry. The world is getting much more competitive by the day, and as students and intending graduates, it is important to arm yourself with enough to speak for you. Yes, school life is interesting, we all want to be “social” and be “cool”, its okay, but not at the expense of your education. In the end, you would be happier for it if you are able to complete your first degree with good grades. It also does a lot for your confidence when you are in a gathering of rather learned people and you can actually contribute to whatever discussion it is they are holding.  It is quite appalling most times when I find myself among graduates that cannot even express themselves or contribute to important discussions. Think about it, how would you feel if you cannot impart knowledge to others or function wherever you find yourself after graduating from school?

I do hope that we youths realize that we are the future, and the future starts now. Wherever you are, don’t be content with following the crowd; don’t be content with bad grades. Strive to be the best wherever you find yourself, so that people would not look down on you or rule you out before giving you a chance to show what you are made of. In the end, you win when you stay focused, it is never over until it is over.

by Opeyemi
2012 9JEducation.org work-study

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