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.
University life comes with a lot of pressure. At the top of it is the pressure to stay in school until it’s time to graduate. To make this happen, you need to pass your courses. It’s not a big deal until you remember that some courses, for myriad reasons, are designed to give even the brightest students a tough time. This is something I thought I should explore this week. So, I spoke to some students at University of Uyo and asked them to talk about the toughest course they’ve dealt with. This is what they said;
Unyimeobong – I had three lectures at the same time
I took this Biochemistry course when I was in 200 level. I’m not even studying Biochemistry, but my department said we had to register for the course. I knew something was brewing when I saw the performances of the previous set and found out that a sizable chunk of the class failed.
The problem started with the timetable. I had three classes scheduled for the same time. The university has three campuses and each of these courses had their venues on a different campus. I’m still not sure how they expected me to wing that. It was hard to keep up with all the classes, so I missed out on most of what they did.
The few times I made the Biochemistry class, the lecturer just came in, said a few things, and dropped a material for us. Unfortunately, I could never understand the content of the materials. When it was time to write the exam, I went into the hall knowing that I was essentially unprepared.
I hoped that I would get a D, but that didn’t happen. I failed the course and had to register for it again the following year. Luckily, the arrangement was better the second time — different lecturers took the course and that proved to be what I needed. I wrote the exam again and that was the last time I had to worry about this course.
Ima – I couldn’t keep up with the lectures
This happened with a prerequisite course, which was also a non-departmental course. I’m studying Food Science and Technology and the course was in the Faculty of Engineering. I lost interest in the course from the first day I attended the class. The lecturer came in and assumed that everyone in the class was well-grounded in engineering basics. It went downhill from there.
For the entire time the class ran, I could hardly relate to anything. I didn’t understand why I had to register for it in the first place. So, I practically couldn’t care less about the course. I couldn’t push myself to learn anything from the classes. That definitely didn’t end well.
I wrote the exam the first time and failed it. I can’t say that I was surprised that it happened. When I had to re-register the following year, I knew that I had to figure out a way to wing it — not that I was interested in it, but I didn’t think I would survive it if I had to go to the classes in my third year. So, I turned to tutorials and attended as many as I could. It was a lot of stress and mental torture. I wrote the exam again and I passed this time. I wasn’t ecstatic, I was just relieved that it was over.
Mary — I had a weird lecturer
This story happened in my third year. The course was somewhat odd — you either pass brilliantly or fail woefully. I didn’t understand why this happened until I started attending the classes. The lecturer is from Akwa Ibom state and had something against “foreigners”. He taught all his classes in Ibibio and he knew that not every student in the class understood the language.
That wasn’t even the weirdest part. This man liked to make unnecessary jokes all the time. He could spend the whole lecture commenting on how a girl dressed and whatnot. It didn’t help that some students encouraged this behaviour.
If anyone complained about his teaching, he would ask them to tell him the state they came from and if the answer was not Akwa Ibom, he would ask them why they couldn’t go to a university in their state.
I understood Ibibio, but that did little to help me. He hardly taught us anything related to the course. His lectures were consistently a waste of time. To make things worse for everyone, he didn’t give any material out, even though he always brought a textbook to class.
I was the assistant course rep and my classmates thought he liked me, so they asked me to get close to him and get the material by any means possible. They wanted me to be the sacrificial lamb and that didn’t sit well with me.
So yes, the course was very difficult to deal with. It didn’t help that a lot of people who had carried the course over were attending classes with us. However, I always knew that I couldn’t fail the course. Luckily, I had a window to take pictures of topics from the textbook he brought to class and I took the opportunity. I added that to the breadcrumbs he’d given us in class and that did the trick. I wrote the exam and got an A.
Zamani — The lecturer expected us to figure everything out
I’m very proactive and I ask for help when I need it. So, when I went to some of my senior colleagues and they didn’t have good news for me about a course I had to take in my third year, I understood that I was in a mess. Unfortunately, it was a compulsory course and I couldn’t drop it and take another. I knew it was going to be near impossible to ace the exams, but I braced myself and gave it everything I had.
The course wasn’t exactly difficult, but the lecturer’s approach to teaching was a big disservice to every student in the class. The course involved a lot of calculations and the lecturer skipped everything that remotely looked like that. Apparently, he expected us to figure those bits out.
We were in for a rude shock on the day we wrote the exams. All 6 questions required us to make extensive calculations. Man, it was a sad day. I decided that I couldn’t kill myself and just did the little I could. It was certain that I was going to carry over the course but something happened and I got a D. Normally, that wasn’t something I would be proud of, but it was enough for me to move on totally from the course. And that’s all I wanted.
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