So for some of you who don’t know, I finally had my much-anticipated convocation from the Obafemi Awolowo University on the 7th of December, 2016. It was a day of mixed emotions for me. I was glad, proud, glad that my parents were proud, sad, tired, dissapointed and grateful. There was just too much to deal with. Now, I’m going to share the most of it with you guys, trailing it from the very beginning. If you are up for some story-story, hang in here. I’m very certain you are going to find some lessons to leave with.
By this time, I had finished secondary school and written most of the exams required for me to get into a University. For my first choice, I had picked OAU for Law. For the second choice, I had picked the University of Osun State (UNIOSUN), also for law. I wanted law. Growing up, I had always liked professions that came with prestige and a uniform. So, one time, I wanted to be a doctor, another time an engineer, another time, a lawyer. I ended up going for the third when I realized the sciences were not made for me. (All thanks to Integrated science and Intro tech … ooh, and maths.)
Never in my wildest dreams (or nightmares) would I have thought I was going to study English. Didn’t even know it was a course. My other alternative to Law would have been Mass communication. (I had always thought those two were the ‘most important’ courses any art student could study.) I didn’t bother about it much though, I knew I would get law, considering the fact that I really passed the exams for both schools.
When OAU however started to release their admission lists, my name was not on them. At this point, my dad decided we took UNIOSUN seriously but even they had closed their admission for the year – without picking me. I was lost. Anyway, I was immediately enrolled for an open diploma course in UNIOSUN. The course didn’t offer Law or Mass comm, so, I had to choose the next available option – English. The entrance exam of the course had also closed, but I was told if I paid the school fees on time, that would not matter. The next day, my dad sent my fees. It was over 200k. I paid and immediately joined my mates in Ikire on the promise that if I passed the course, I would join my other colleagues in 200L.
Trouble, Tears & OAU:
I schooled in UNIOSUN for a span of three months. It should have lasted longer. The course was for a year, but towards the middle of the third month, just as we were about to write the first semester exams, the issue of my admission letter came up. To write the exams, I needed to submit my admission letter, but I didn’t have one because I didn’t write any entrance exam. The provost had promised that as long as I had paid, I won’t have any issue, but I was having issues, plenty and my studentship was being threatened. I made frequent back & forth trips between Ikire and Oshogbo to rectify the whole thing but it kept getting worse.
On the day of the exam, my pass was withdrawn and I was sent out like a dog. This period of my life was very sad. I always spent the nights crying. I thought I was going back home and I started to prepare an answer for when people who knew I had gone to school saw me back. My parents were sad. They had paid all that money, out of their inconvenience and now, it was going to waste. We thought about writing another JAMB and when the form came out, I immediately filled UNILAG for mass comm as my first choice and UNIOSUN for Law. I didn’t want anything to do with OAU again and I thought I already knew people who would help me get into UNIOSUN this time.
The trouble and the tears lasted for a month. We were approaching Christmas and I decided to take a resigned trip with my friend to Okuku, Osun State. (*Resigned meaning that I was tired and didn’t care anymore). It was while in Okuku one morning that I received 19 missed calls. 15 from my uncle and 4 from my cousin. They were both in OAU. what could this mean? I called back immediately and was greeted with congratulations. OAU had just admitted me.
Everyone who heard the story thought it was the miracle of the century. My friends in UNIOSUN were happy for me. One guy said I was now going to a proper university environment. My dad was more than eager to pay my acceptance fee. Uncles who didn’t call when I was in UNIOSUN called to congratulate me. It felt like I was just going to school. Though I was also offered English, I didn’t mind and gladly I left for OAU some weeks later.
February 2012; Matriculation!
My matriculation happened sometime in February 2012. It was my official entrance into OAU. Nothing much happened, but I was told by those I knew that OAU was hard, that English department had not graduated a first class student since 1980-whatever and that if I ever had an A in a course, I should thank God.
That night, I also said yes to my first boyfriend ever. He bought me a big bowl of ice-cream to say thank you. (Please when did I enter school that I’m having boyfriend?) I later found out that about 70% of relationships entered in the first year at school don’t last. I was naive but I also wanted to test my ‘freedom’. haha. We broke up 8 months later.
Some nights after my matric, I took the grades I wanted for my first year before God. I wrote all As and few Bs. When the results came, I had exactly what I had asked. I smiled at the pessimistic sentiments about my department. Life was good. I was a first class baby.
I also forfeited the second JAMB I wrote cos I didn’t see the need for it anymore. I took my grades to my part adviser with the intention of crossing over to Law. I was told that it had just been cancelled but I could cross to any other department I wanted. There was no point. OAU didn’t offer Mass Comm, so I took studying English as God’s will. I learnt during this period to do my part and leave the rest to God where my studies were concerned. It was with the truth that God will always have my back that I entered part two.
My first class dropped in part two first semester. Till today, I still blame it on the fact that I moved out of school hostels and spent the semester crushing on a particular boy. By the end of that half, I was determined to build my GP up again, so, I threw my feelings to one side and moved back to school.
One significant thing that happened this year was praying for the right association. You see, it is good to pray about everything, no matter how fickle your request might seem. I remember dropping off some people and picking on new ones, with whom I am still friends today.
Another significant thing that happened was being threatened by two of my lecturers. In my second semester, with the resolve to build back my GP, I supposedly stepped on two of my lecturers’ feet. Angry, they threatened to fail me (we get that a lot in Nigerian universities, don’t we?) Anyway, I have heard cases of lecturers being true to such threats or they demand other things in return. I couldn’t risk both options but I couldn’t do anything either, except to pray. I remember telling God how scared I was and how I wanted Him to help fix things. Even with that, I would still go to their classes, expecting the lecturers to call my matric number and tell me to wait behind.
Few weeks after, I didn’t see them again. I asked around and was told both had gone on sabbatical leave and weren’t due to return until the end of the semester. Some lecturers, who also went on leave still attended to their students, but these ones handed us to entirely different lecturers and by the end of the semester, in the same course I had been threatened, I had an A.
Boys, Finances, Part 3:
For this post, I will intentionally leave the boys part out. Maybe, I will write on that later. Also, you can see how I lived through an allowance that was barely sustainable here.
Anyway, part 3 was very eventful and eye-opening. We lost a colleague and we held an all-black day & candle night procession in his honor. Because of this, I became more aware of the lumps I had found in my chin a couple of years back. I was really really scared but that phase passed soon after. I will share how it did in another post.
By the second semester, most of my secondary school classmates who went to private universities had graduated but anytime I tilted towards complaining, I was reminded that entering OAU was by Grace.
In part 4, I still held unto the hope that I could graduate with a first class. My GP was so close. I devoted myself to teaching classmates and junior colleagues who came to me for help. I learnt during this time that the more you teach others what you know, the more understanding you get yourself.
I watched some of my classmates switch departments, some for unavoidable reasons. I watched a friend almost run mad to drugs. I saw some others start again from the top, I saw some who compromised to pass, I saw some hanging by a thread, even though they did all they could to excel and I saw some who failed.
I realized that ‘to pass is not just a function of how smart you are’. Lecturers sometimes misplace scripts or record a wrong score, the time to answer exam questions may be too short, and the possibility of missing a test that really counts is there. In spite of these scares, I still did all I could – I was very deliberate about my books, I read when exams were close, missed classes only when it was necessary, attended all my group tutorials for fear of impromptu tests, submitted assignments on time, borrowed library books, did overnights and took plenty coffee. In the middle of all these, I handed everything to God.
In second semester, I was faced with my project. It was my first contact with the supervisor I choose but I was always favored when I went before him. He didn’t change my topic and he always granted me audience. The boys in my group said it was because I was a girl. The girls said it was because he liked my topic. I didn’t care why. Till today, he still keeps in touch.
When my final results came out, I knew I wasn’t going to graduate with a first class, but I was grateful I was even graduating at all.
PS: My roommates in Part 4 were the best I had in OAU.
December 7, 2016: Convocation!
For some of you who know, my colleagues and I almost did not convoke with the rest of the school, but eventually we did. I was so glad. When I went to pick my graduation gown, I intentionally selected a dry-cleaned one and I still ironed it twice so it could look new. I spent a lot of money on frivolities though and I still regret that as I write this. Some expenses seem necessary, but they really are not. I knew if I didn’t have, I would have managed but my salary had just been paid and ooh well, you guys can guess the rest.
The hall was full. We sang anthems, got our degrees conferred on us by the chancellor and we danced. When it got the award part, I was quite sad. You see, some weeks before the convocation, some people started to spread a rumor that I was graduating as the best student in my set. Not that it couldn’t happen, but I had never given a thought to it until some started texting me to say congratulations. Then I let hope flicker. When I saw in the brochure that it wasn’t me, I was sad and angry at those who had brought the rumor to me. They should have just left me in peace.
I remember leaning towards a friend just before the award-giving started and telling her that this was the sad part. She looked at me, smiled and showed me a name in the brochure. The guy was going to get an award but he was dead. She asked me then ‘do you still think it’s sad that you are here but not getting an award?‘. I didn’t have to answer.
The rest of the ceremony went well. Some of my friends (in other departments) got awards. I gave each of them a standing ovation. I was very proud. One girl in Law collected eight awards. Her mum was called out to take pictures, but the music department didn’t help matters. They started playing a touching music and with the standing ovation they got again, both mother and daughter started to cry. When the mother got to the front, she even knelt before her daughter. The whole thing was just emotional. Personally, I was glad my parents did not enter the hall. I trust my mother. She can be crying like that.
Anyway, the lesson I took from there is this: ‘Never let anyone tie you down with their own failure story. Some people can make failure look good and you think ‘well, it’s not necessary to put in my best in this thing. It’s not prerequisite to my success in life’. Truth is, whatever your hands find to do, do it well, whether or not is prerequisite to your life’s success. There really is no success story that is wasted. So, while looking posh and tush and living life as you want it, still put your best in everything that you are doing. It will pay off eventually.’
That’s all for today guys. This is not all from my academic journey in OAU but I hope that you learnt some things you can apply, whether or not you are a student of any school.
Writing this post made me reflective and even more grateful about the year 2016. Can you guys think of one reason why you are grateful for the year? Share it with me in the comment box below. Also, if you are having problems planning towards the new year, you can let me know too. Would love to be of help.
Still gonna share a couple of more posts before the end of the year and I’m also giving out some things for Christmas and New year. So, stay in touch. 🙂