It’s another edition of our #StudentsDiaries and today, we’re coming back home. What is it like to go to a university in Nigeria? Is it as bad as people often portray it to be? Adeyinka Adefemi answers these questions as she tells us her experince as an undergraduate in Obafemi Awolowo University.
Why did you choose to study in Obafemi Awolowo University?
It was condition actually. I just matched a university with my course and I just ended up choosing OAU; not because I knew really knew anything about the university
If you had a second chance, would still have chosen to study there?
Yes and no. I would say yes because the whole undergraduate experience was great but I would not want to further my studies there. I wouldn’t want to do my Masters there because at the end of my degree, I got to realise that things that happened on campus were as a result of the Nigerian system factor.
Talking about the Nigerian education system, we know that there are challenges with it. How did that impact on your learning experience while you were in OAU?
It inhibited a lot of things for me personally. There are times that you are trying to learn to know, especially when you are studying a course that you are actually interested in. Some structures are put in place that makes it difficult for you to do so. I remember in my second year, we literally had to lift from our handouts to answer exam questions. You had to answer it the way it was in the handout. In such a situation, you don’t have the opportunity to take that thing, chew on it and make your own derivations. Apart from that, things were not based on merit. For example, I knew my grade score for my final project before I was half way done. I had seen it. My supervisor had put it down. So your score was on the basis of how much she liked you.
How were you able to overcome these challenges?
First, spiritually. I put things before God always. Then I had to study my lecturers and understand them. I found out how lecturers expected us to do things and did them like that. I got involved in a lot of group discussions and tutorials. They really helped; and using past questions too.
Despite these challenges, what would you say that you loved most about OAU?
I liked the environment. There was this prestige around. Apart from the structure, there was this kind of mindset that people had. It was also a place of development. It just came naturally with the place. You find that when you go out of the campus, you are really treasured. You also find that the way you think is different from the way other Nigerian students think.
How did you handle the freedom that comes with university education?
For me, I didn’t experience that excitement that comes with the idea of ‘freedom’ on campus. I was in boarding house throughout my secondary school so I was already used to being on my own, not under my parent’s supervision. When I got to University, I found out that the university was not really a place of no rules and all freedom. There were even more strict rules but they did not come on strong like how it was in secondary school. The freedom thing did not get into my head. Having discipline helped me and guided me through it.
What did you wish you were told before going off to university?
How to calculate a GP and how it worked generally. It would have helped if I had known that your GP accumulates throughout your degree. I would also like to have been told about how to manage money. Not just managing money alone but how to be financially independent and how to make wiser decisions regarding my finances. Then I would have loved to have been told how to live more liberally, instead of just focusing on school alone. Yes your primary assignment is your school but there is more to get out of university aside from your studies.
How do you think prospective students can make the most of their life on campus?
They should put God first. That works a lot and goes a long way in a lot of things. It relieves you of stress and even takes away the pain. Then they should live a balanced life. It should not be about books alone. Join an organisation. Make good relationships with people. Understand your lecturers and have a good relationship with them. Be careful however; know when to draw the line. Make sure whatever you are doing is open. Get financial independence. Finally, build yourself. Use your holidays wisely. Learn something new.
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