“When you call on me, when I hear you, I’ve got wings to fly. I feel like I’m alive”. This hit song by Celine Dione had always made me wonder if she really knew what she was singing about. I mean; it sounds odd to hear a living being say “I’m alive”. The dead of course say that. So if you are alive, you are alive. There is no need pointing what we already know.
My days an undergraduate in the University of Ibadan made me realize that it is possible for one to be alive, yet be theoretical dead. I think that’s why the phrase “The walking dead originated”.
Gaining admission into the prestigious university was one of the greatest things that have ever occurred to me. It was the beginning of a new life entirely. It was the beginning of academic success, the dawn of a new era, and importantly the beginning of freedom. Yes it was but hey it was not easy.
The first four weeks were ok. All what we learnt were things we have been taught in secondary school. At the inception of the fifth week, I began to realize what those who said that life is not a bed of roses really meant. The lecturers stopped treating us like secondary school students and started treating us as undergraduates. They stopped teaching and started lecturing. By lecturing, I mean coming to class, delivering lecture noted and teaching so fast that only the very intelligent students could catch up and after the stressful and compulsory lectures, they give so much home-works that you would spend hours solving them and by hours, I’m not talking of two or three hours. I’m speaking of six, seven even eight hours. These home-works of course shouldn’t be avoided because they form part of your continuous assessments and attendance. What annoys me most is that the home-works have deadlines so close that it is extremely impossible to keep up to them.
Now the deadline speaks a lot about my days as an undergraduate. It is because if you keep up to them, you’re theoretically dead because you would have spent hours trying to do so. Fail to keep up with it, you’re deader because you are toying with zero and in the long run you are toying with expulsion.
Again reading was always stressful. Now I understand the facebook joke that student plus dying equals studying. You have to read for hours to pass and you always have to be prepared. I don’t think there’s anything more annoying than struggling to keep up with one’s home-works thus sleeping at two o’clock A.M and trying to meet with the eight o’clock lectures only to be faced with an impromptu test that you’re not prepared for.
Studying was not a bit easy. Life generally is not. You have to indulge in what we term T.D.B “Till Day Break Reading” because of the fear of “Tsunami”. Tsunami is the slang for expulsion from school. So If you were ‘Tsunamized’, you’re expelled for academic failure. The fear of ‘Tsunami’ is the beginning intense reading.
Academics were not the only issue during the undergraduate days. If it was, it would have been better. The financial problem seconds the list. For no matter how much you receive or how prudently you spend, you would always get broke. Living in the hostel also presented its own challenges. I’ve always found it devastating when I wake up to take my bath and I have to queue to do so. It’s very difficult to read and sleep amidst the shouts, quarrels and whining of students in the hostel. An average undergraduate is nocturnal being. This list is just endless.
But as stressful and frustrating life as an undergraduate in the university of Ibadan might be, there are days and moments when life is peaceful, lovable and enjoyable though these moments are rare and short lived. This period of time include the first week in which you collect your pocket money. It includes departmental dinners, fresher’s welcome party, barbeque night and soon. Occasionally some classes do not hold and you feel a bit relieved. You also get to meet and relate with a lot of people.
There is no argument in the fact that the most glorious moments in the University of Ibadan are experienced after exams. Not essentially for everybody though. I’m speaking of that golden moment when you walk up to the notice board and found out that you got seven points in a course. You’ll find yourself chorusing Dione’s song “I’ve got wings to fl, I know that I’m alive”