Students in Nigerian universities have stories to tell, but hardly anyone to tell them to. For our new weekly series, Aluta and Chill, we are putting the spotlight on these students and their various campus experiences.
Every student at the point of their entry into the university believes that they’re about to have some of the best years of their life. It’s the university — you have the opportunity to become whoever you want. What could go wrong? Sure, some people enjoy their time in university, some don’t. For this week’s Aluta and Chill, we asked 5 students of University of Lagos to share the worst experiences they’ve had to live through as students of the university.
Emmanuel, Business Administration, 200L – Missed a test
There was a test I needed to write in my first year and I studied long and hard for it. I was confident about my chances of acing it. At the time, I lived at Mariere Hall and the test was to hold at the Faculty of Arts, which was very close to my hostel. Two days before the test, my phone died on me and wouldn’t come back on, so I was cut off from the rest of the world. I could study for the test because all my notes were backed up on Google drive. I borrowed my roommate’s laptop and used it to study. On the evening before the test, I went to confirm the time and venue of the test.
On the day of the test, I got to the venue in time. However, there was a problem. there were no traces of my classmates, and that was when I knew that I might be in trouble. I checked all the lecture rooms in the faculty, even the lecturers’ offices, hoping I would see someone I recognised but nada. I ran back to the hostel to borrow my roommate’s phone to call the Class Rep. Apparently, they had moved the test to another venue. The best option was to take a vehicle, but I had no cash on me and my ATM card was bad. If I wanted to get money, I would have to go to the bank, and I didn’t have time. I decided to run to the new venue, hoping for a miracle.
When I got there, the test was over. I walked up to the lecturer and explained to him. But when he asked for my matriculation number, I panicked again and ran out of the hall. Subsequently, I went to a female lecturer to enlist her help. In the end, the lecturer agreed to arrange a make-up test for me, and he did. But there was a twist, the questions weren’t part of my year’s syllabus so we hadn’t been taught any of it. It was chilling but I wrote what I could. I got 7/30 in that test and it messed me up. I didn’t do anything wrong, life just decided to mess with me.
Gamaliel, Cell Biology and Genetics, 300L – Betrayed by a friend
There was this girl I liked when I was in 100 level. She was friends with my sister’s boyfriend at the time, so I had access to her. I told her how I felt and it seemed like she liked me too. We were both getting over our exes but we enjoyed each other’s company. At some point, I had problems with my phone and needed to fix it. She offered to borrow me 5k. I was hesitant because I wasn’t sure when I could return it. Things were a little rough at home and I spent the little money I got on drugs. She said that I could return it whenever I wanted to and that was it.
She called to see me on a weekend. There was a shortage of water in the hostel, so I had no plans to leave the hostel. But when the call came in, I hustled for a bucket of water, which was very stressful. I made it to her hostel to hangout but we had a fight because her friends didn’t like the way I dressed. She called to apologize the following day and I thought we were good. I would later find out that she had told my sister’s boyfriend some unflattering things she had noticed about me.
I felt betrayed and I withdrew from her. That was when everything hit the roof; she demanded that I pay her money back. It hurt but I asked her to give me some days to raise the cash but she refused. I called my dad and told him that I needed to buy my drugs.
My dad sent the money during the weekend, but there were bank issues and I didn’t get the money until Monday. It turned out that she had told her ex that I borrowed money from her. I’d never felt so low in my life. I sent her the money through my sister, but she refused to collect it, saying someone told her not to collect it anymore. The next time we saw, I offered her the money again, but still, she refused. I was done with her. I left the money on the floor and left. The treatment was appalling, and I vowed never to subject myself to such again. It was tough for me because we were supposed to be friends. It’s not a memory I like to remember, but yeah, it is what it is.
Anuoluwapo, Systems Engineering, 400L – Got an F and didn’t get a scholarship
When I got into university, I was so sure that there was no way I would get an F in a course. If everything worked against me, I couldn’t do worse than a C. In 200 level, I registered for a federal government scholarship. Unfortunately, the exam was scheduled for the same day I needed to write a CA test for a course in school. I’d made up my mind to stab the scholarship exam until I heard that the department had decided that whoever registered for the scholarship can go for the exam, we only had to submit a slip to the department to let them know. I did that and went for the exam.
We did loads of assignments for the course and I thought the department would use them to grade us in lieu of the test. But did they?
I was with my best friend in church when the result found its way into my class WhatsApp group. I was engrossed with the activities of the church. My friend, on the other hand, had seen the results but she didn’t tell me anything. I noticed that she was acting weird but I didn’t pay much attention to it. She stepped out of the church for some time and I got bored, so I turned on my internet and saw all the messages on the group chat. We had just resumed at the time, and that meant that a result had been released. I downloaded the document and I checked for my name. Then I saw it. A big F staring back at me.
I registered for 11 courses that semester and I got an A in 10, but my perfect CGPA was ruined by this F I got, and this wouldn’t have happened if I sat for the test. It was not funny. The damage the F did is still evident in my CGPA. I registered for the course again in 300 level, and it was hell to combine it with my 300 level courses. The most frustrating part of this story is that I didn’t get the scholarship either. I lost on both fronts. It wasn’t a good experience, but I’m sure that’s the last time I will let something like this happen.
Toluwalase, Building, 500 Level – Failed a tough course
This story started in my third year. Of course, it was a course. It wasn’t a walk in the park. The lecturer did his best, but it wasn’t good enough. Every lecture was a struggle. The class was large, and it was hard to get anything out of the lectures, which sucked, considering how intensive the course was. When it was time for the exam. I crammed every bit of information I needed and I was sure that I was ready. During the first 20 minutes of the exam, I blanked out and couldn’t write anything. It was that tough. The results were released later, and out of about 80 students who sat for the exam, only 15 passed.
I had to register for it again and subject myself to another year of practicals and reports. I studied like my life depended on it. But the experience was exactly the same as the first time. It didn’t make any sense. I got out of my head and did the best I could. During the holidays, word got out that the lecturer said nobody in my department managed to get up to 15 in the exam. I didn’t know what to think but the thought that I may have to sit for the exam another time filled me with dread.
When I eventually saw my grades, I got 40, which was the border between an E and an F. I don’t know what happened there and I decided to keep it moving. That experience has been the toughest so far. If you ask anyone from my department to tell their story, chances are that CG305 would come up.
Adewunmi, Law, 500L – A protest ruined his semester
I was in my first year. Everything was quiet until a few weeks to the commencement of first semester exams when things got to a head between the management and Student Union. And this massive protest was announced. Student representatives stormed the hostels, forcing students to participate in the protest. They literally dragged people out of their rooms. It was all chaotic and really scary for a year one student.
Things got out of hand quickly and the management announced that the school had been closed for 3 weeks. After school reopened, I was among the first sets of students to return. Unfortunately, I forgot my hall pass at home and the hostel staff wouldn’t let anyone in without them. We thought they would change their mind at first, but they didn’t.
With nowhere else to go, I made for the chapel. It was locked and I had no choice but to sleep outside. I still have nightmares from that night. The mosquitos had a grand feast on us. I barely slept an inch because there was no knowing what could happen. The horror story wasn’t over. The following morning, I discovered that my bag which had most of my textbooks had been stolen. Exams were close and I had no study material anymore. I performed badly in the exams because of this experience and I can’t say that I’ve gotten over it. Everything happened because of a protest I had no interest in.
Wani, Electrical Engineering, 500L – Dealing with an extra year scare
This happened in the second semester of my fourth year. I was on my IT when the first semester results were uploaded to my portal. I checked and saw that I got 23 in this course. This was strange. It was the easiest course I wrote that semester and I was so sure of an A. I took a leave from work the following day and rushed down to the school to lodge a complaint at the department.
God, I hate bureaucracy so much. The process for this sort of thing was too long for comfort, and for a minute, I contemplated accepting the result. First thing I needed to do was write a letter to the department, and it had to be signed by my course adviser, who was very hard to get a hold of. After chasing him up and down, I eventually got him to sign the letter and I forwarded it to the department. I got an appointment to see the lecturer in charge the following week. It turned out that there was a computing error. She promised to work on it. That was the moment I realised that even at your best, you’re at the mercy of the system.
Now, I haven’t seen this lecturer since I went to see her. It’s almost as if she is avoiding me, and I’m very worried about that. It’s hard to rectify a course that has been uploaded to the portal. There’s more bad news: if they don’t sort it out before the end of this session, I’m going to have an extra year.
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Can’t get enough Aluta and Chill? Check back every Thursday at noon for a new episode. Find other stories in the series here.