EITHER END: The Circumstances around the Second Semester Resumption; Good for us?



Not good for us!

‘Some circumstances are circumcised,

Castrated in the face of some occasions,

Developing some delicacies of delicate fates,

Not delicious but hotly deleterious,

Maiming minds and hurting hearts…’ — Y.U.A.

Pheew! It is with obese joy seated right in the heart of my pen and bleeding through its inky wounds, that I welcome us all to a new semester. A new semester that failed to wait for its own time and which contended for the academic throne against the old first semester. How painful that the studying grasses did bear the brunt! How painful that some students were just leaving the exam hall and some others were preparing for another day’s exam, when they heard that we had already resumed for another semester! Indeed, my joy is obese but is filled with a compound of unhealthy fats; the ink also bleeds crimson pain.

Ladies and gentlemen, do forgive my initial emotional outpour; it is only an escape route towards purging some disturbing thoughts. We are really welcome to this semester viciously ready to mesh us in frenzied social activities and speedy academic calendar. You see, two weeks are gone already. The third week, too, is gradually going. To call this semester the ‘rocket semester’ or ‘jet semester’ or ‘flash semester’ would not be out of place. Normally, the second semester is distinctly famed for its usual fastness, based on popular belief. This particular second semester has however come in a different, unusual and unprecedented way. We should hence expect that the semester shall run out in a manner that could be tagged hyper-quick.

Now, you might ask: what am I saying in essence? The basic point of my argument is that the nature of this second semester resumption is not good for us, the students. And this, glaringly, is already observable in the fact that we are now in the third week of resumption, yet not so many students have resumed. Likewise, the various faculty and departmental timetables are either just being or have just been drafted. As a consequence, to this, lectures are yet to start fully. In fact, in some faculties or departments where lectures started earlier on, very few or no student was there to constitute the class. However, despite all these, the calendar does not stop to read; the time does not cease to click and the weeks do not dwindle as they count.

Dear readers, if we considered the issues raised in the foregoing, in relation to the resultant condition, to whose detriment does everything seem to be? Definitely, everything is at the expense of us, the students. And is it our fault? Maybe not at all. One universal characteristic that defines academic activities is STRESS which is quite inherent, as is the case with many other human engagements. Examination, then serving as the end of a session or semester, is known for what can be called COMPOUNDED STRESS.

So, the place of holiday is one that should be hard to compromise, since it allows for the both needed and necessary rest and preparation— physically, psychologically, emotionally and more. It is thus understandable that a number of students have not resumed. Nonetheless, it is also pitiable that the progressing feet of the semester does not waver, albeit its regressive effects.

Another bad side this semester resumption poses at us is the unavoidable constraints that might inevitably greet us. Like the wild rush of an unlocked dam, floods of assignments, more than lecture hours, might have to be our lot, since the semester is already running out. This is even coupled with the fact that some lectures might start late. Again, the normally stringent nature of the semester would further aggravate the threatening problems. There would normally be numerous extracurricular events — whether in form of intellectual activities or not— further keeping more students on a precarious clifftop. Should anybody wonder if catching fun is the reason for being in school, the common statement ‘all works without play makes Jack a dull boy’ perfectly suffices as a reply to such thoughts.

Furthermore, have we not heard about some sudden occurrences of lunacy in some universities? Most especially, a particular case of madness in Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) is much worthy of consideration here. A report circulating the internet is the story of a female student who is allegedly said to have run mad while reading. This perhaps could have been an effect of the compounded stress of exams that she might have experienced, together with the tense necessity to do all she could to pass well. This somewhat plays the role of a didactic story, in relation to the focus of this argument. What it tells us, in clear terms, is that the circumstances of our second semester resumption really was/is a risky one.

Now, ladies and gentlemen of the reading audience, it must have been well observed from all said, that the manner by which we resumed for this second semester was and is unfavourable. By the same token, the attendant effects remain grossly hindering to our psychological balance. Therefore, I reiterate conclusively that the circumstances surrounding the second semester resumption was, is, has not been and, perhaps, will continue not to be good or favourable for us.



Mojoyinola Ajibola

Very good for us!

As the beginning of the just concluded semester was crowded with noise, the ending too experienced the same. We began with the clamour against the increment in school fees and ended it with the talk on overwork. We blamed the system for walking like a snail. And some in 300 level bemoaned that our colleagues from sister universities like the University of Ilorin were already waiting for their graduation, if not their service when we, in the University of Ibadan, kept sleeping under the roof of the tardiness of our academic calendar. We want the system to change, so we can get out of here as and when due; that a 4-year course does not extend to a 5-year course and a 6-year does not extend to a 7-year are our prayers. But I wonder, dear reader, why some of us keep saying that the school authority did not give us any break despite the fact that we want the school calendar to run as fast as a squirrel. Or are we implying that we go back to the old system of moving slowly?

A Yoruba adage goes thus, ‘to mine honey out of a mountain, one must not be scared of what deterioration the axe’s blade would suffer’. So, why do we want gold but do not want to pay the price of getting it? Why do we want a smoothly run academic calendar but do not want to embrace the steps involved in achieving it?  Dear reader, I do not mean that having no break is what to pay for the price of the academic calendar’s fastness. Of course, the school authorities had thought of that, thus the first week of resumption is not always filled with work. Or which faculty or department have we seen starting its lecture on the very day of resumption?

Even, if any department claimed to have started their lecture on the actual day of resumption, they would rather have been through with their examinations since a week (or more) to the resumption day. Thus, if my co-columnist will argue that, there was no break at all, that we are moving like a car without a brake, would it not be good to ask if all departments started lecturing on the resumption day. Though his answer only can not serve as a yardstick for judging whether or not there was a break, it points to the fact that there was actually a break even if it was short-lived.

Moreover, a trip through Google to some of (if not all) the European universities such as Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard et al shows that some courses that are four years here are three years there and those that are six years here are five years there. For instance, Bachelor of Arts in English, Classics and other arts related courses are earned after three years. And Law for four years. So, this negates the point, as might have been raised by my co-columnist that learning while the school calendar is moving so fast leads to turn out of half-baked graduates. The universities abroad run so fast yet produce the best. Thus, though UI may not follow the order abroad, the management is working towards the best by concentrating on the smooth running of the academic calendar.

Besides, the quick running of the academic calendar this session will make the UI Law graduates to meet up with their colleagues at Law school at the right time. No thanks to 2016/17 academic session when they waited for several months at home before being admitted. The NASU and ASUU strike cumulated to the cause of their not being admitted. Hence, the step taken by the school authority this session in other to adjust to the normal calendar is very good for us. Not only the Law students will be rest assured that their graduation will be accompanied with their entrance into the Law school, but also the rest of us will move out of the university and make plans for our future at appropriate time. Even though no one knows what the country like Nigeria may thrust on us, considering the unemployment crisis, it is still not justifiable that we live here (on campus) like we want to die here (on campus). Abegi, whose mum and dad no wan eat the fruit of their labour fast fast?

However, the Vice Chancellor’s release on the commencement of the second semester exam while the exam was still going on was a bit contradictory. For how would one announce that the examinations had ended and that the new semester had begun when in fact some were still in the “old semester” and still writing exams? But, this contradiction is made clear, if one looked at it from the perspective that, the academic calendar would normally have been planned and drafted since the beginning of the semester and any disruption would cause another planning. Thus, this might be the reason for the seeming contradictory statement released by the Vice Chancellor.

All in all, what it all boils down to is the fact that the circumstances around the second semester is to our advantage.

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