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FRESHMEN, E KÁÀBÒ

-By: Toyinbo Olumide

For those who do not understand Yoruba, the title might just look gibberish asides from the ‘Freshmen’ present. Well, we are in Ibadan, this is South-West and Yoruba as a language is the prominent here, thus, my choice of title. ‘E káàbò’ simply means ‘you are welcome’. This seems to be a special way of welcoming you.
Yes! It is a dream come true for freshmen just being welcomed into the academic abode of the University of Ibadan, it could have been a dream existing for a long while. Out of zillion of heads who chose UI last year, it could be considered as a rare privilege to have been one of the heads chosen by the school based on credible measures. It is with great pleasure that I register my congratulatory message alongside the sea of congratulatory messages that might have flooded your territory. Being a student of the acclaimed first and the best University in Nigeria is no longer a dream but an accomplished reality. Congratulations and you are welcome.

For as many as the freshmen just resuming, UI is an unknown land- a land yet to be explored. With the aid of a map, a strange man in a strange land would find it easier exploring the strange land compared to when the strange man is without any form of aid. In this sense, the strange man is you, the strange land is UI. Guess who or what the map is? The map stands for people already in the system no matter the number of years. Acting all alone without guidance can be dangerous, seek for aid from people around. It makes things easier. Use the map.

I can still remember clearly, some two years ago when I was a freshman. Joy mixed with anxiety was what garnished my tender heart. Registrations almost broke me down. I was all alone, I thought it would be faster that way. Now, I have the opinion that walking in company of one or two friends could be helpful. It was during the registrations that I almost got a ‘yam-leg’, I trekked like the early men. From Hall registration, which was the easiest for me, to medical registration- this seemed to be the most frustrating one for me. I had to go there as early as possible, yet meeting people already there before me. Tests upon tests and co, it took me almost all days in the first week. I almost gave up but at the long run, I got my Jaja card.

I intended to be a very serious student who would find library as a second home after my room in Zik. So, I made sure I did the library registration as quick as possible. How library later developed to be a once-in-a-while-room for me was very funny. At the long run, I dropped the idea of going to the library regularly even though I have scores of friends who cannot do without either Kenneth Dike Library or the Faculty’s library. Well, I discovered what is better for me. I now prefer my room and at times the reading room. There are reading rooms in various Halls of residence. I go to the library if I need a book or sometimes when the body is willing to read there. This is another spotlight to note, discover the YOU in you and be yourself. Following the footsteps of friends can be disastrous to your academic growth. Find what is good for you rather than lifting for yourself what is good for others. Library may be a very good place for you but not for me.

Course registration was another issue that was strenuous then, probably because I was new in the system. Last year, I found it much easier to register for courses than the first year. It should be noted that after selecting courses online and printing the registration slip out, you still have to take it around for lecturers-in-charge to sign it and take your name down. I had to move around three Faculties to get course registration done with the fact that some lecturers were not even around to sign when they were seriously needed, I got a lot of ‘come-back-later (s)’. The frustrating thing was that, lectures were going on, I don’t want to miss classes and I still had to make sure I perfect all concerning the course registration so I could concentrate on my studies. Registrations can be tedious and time-taking but can be made easier if you help yourself by being smart.

As regarding the courses to register for, it is very much better not to jump. It could be dangerous. Course advisers are in the best position to guide pertaining the courses to offer. Stale students can as well be helpful with that, in course selection and in opening your eyes to the contents of the courses so as to have a relatively smooth sail through the sea of the First and the Best. Getting to know the likes and the hates of lecturers-in-charge of each of the courses won’t be a bad idea. Also, be abreast with the assessment structure or let’s say the grading system. This is where your presence in the Orientation Programme would be of immense help. Much of these things were discussed during the Orientation exercise. If you are still confused, a constant enquirer doesn’t miss road, ask from a more experienced person.
From various addresses from the stable of the management especially the Vice Chancellor, one can easily perceive a constant reassurance that there will be an enjoyable academic year as regarding the supply of infrastructures- talking of power, water and others as needful especially in the Halls. However, much more have been said in the time past, promising that things will be better but sometimes, it turns another way round. It is better you prepare to cope in any circumstance whether favourable or unfavourable. Bringing back some sceneries would ‘shake some tables’. The gist is, try as much as possible to prepare for whatever comes. UI will never claim responsibility for your failure even if the structure fails to supply power for you to read during examination period. You’re expected to break grounds no matter how. So, it is all about you.

Asides academics, there are one thousand and one opportunities for you to develop yourself. Most of those opportunities come by joining organisations. Everything is not about the book. Literary and Debating Organisations also Press Organisations are there in various Halls, Faculties even Departments, Junior Chamber International, Rotary Club, Students’ Council on Legal Aid and many more are there for exploration. Religious bodies are numberless for you to cater for your spiritual needs. You can also venture into politics, just don’t be a bad egg so that your case won’t be a sorry one. All the stated avenues greatly help in bringing out the potentials in you in numerous ways. However, it is necessary that you do according to your ability so that it won’t mar you rather than making you.
The expulsion of over three hundred students by the University just recently because they were not able to meet the required grade point to stay in UI is something I guess you must have heard about.The act is popularly called ‘tsunami’. The journey to realising the purpose of coming here starts as soon as lectures start, the best is to get started as soon as lectures start and not when examination is approaching. Attending lectures regularly and punctually is a recipe for academic success- as it will open your eyes and give you ‘green light’ regarding to what you truly need to pass the courses rather than directionless reading. Your health ranks first too, don’t toy with it. Eat good food and always remember, it all depends on you. Choose and act wisely.

Concluding this piece, I would like to take you back to that recommended UTME literature text- ‘In Dependence’ by Sarah Ladipo Manyika which you must have read. Can you remember the ‘Ajayi motto’ that concludes Inspector Adeniyi Ajayi’s letter to his son? (Page 7). It states ‘In all things moderation, with exception of study’. I wish you a lovely stay in the Premier University where ‘tsunami’ is real but you can always sail through so comfortably with a willing mind.
Shalom!

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