Faculty of Arts Students on Navigating Their Way Between Academics and Online Businesses


Mahbubat Kanyinsola Salaudeen

On hearing that ASUU had suspended the eight-month strike in October 2022, Obafemi Ayomide Joyce, a 100 level student of the Faculty of Arts became downcast. For her, the end of the strike meant she would have to put her skill as a Content Creator on hold, to focus more on her academics until she could devise a method to balance both.

“I had mixed feelings to be honest,” she said. “I felt I needed more time but then I realized that I’ll always need more time. I just want to get this degree done with and move on with other things in my life.”

On Monday, February 14, 2002, the Academic Staff Union of Universities embarked on a one-month national warning strike, emphasizing that the federal government had failed to meet the agreement it entered with the union back in 2009. Coincidentally, the strike began on the day undergraduates of the 2021/22 session, University of Ibadan were matriculated as students of the institution. The warning strike was renewed at least three times, a decision that left thousands, if not millions of undergraduates across federal-owned universities distressed and frustrated. 

In October, ASUU NEC resolved to ‘conditionally’ suspend the strike action embarked upon since 14 February 2022. Consequently, universities were ordered to resume academic activities.

For the students of the University of Ibadan, academic activities kicked off almost immediately upon resumption, leaving close to no time to settle down. 

Joyce expressed that returning to school after 8 months of being away from the classroom made engaging in academic reading seem awkward and out of place. 

On how her skill was affected, she revealed that the strike was an immense advantage for her, as it helped her become more productive, considering that she expanded her network and got higher paying gigs that sustained her during the period.

Another student from the department of English, who chose to be anonymous, described his experience during the eight-month strike and how its suspension was the worst news he had received this year.

“During the first two months, I was one of those clamouring for the strike to end, but with close to nothing forthcoming and having to read news about failed meetings between both parties – Federal Government and the Union, I decided to do something meaningful with the time on my hands and that got me into Content Writing. I was hoping the strike was going to get called off next year because I had quite a lot set out for the year already. Infact, if ASUU should declare a strike today, it will not be so bad.”

With academic activities ongoing, another student lamented about her inability to focus on writing and general freelancing due to academics and ongoing tests across some departments in the faculty. 

A 300-level CLA student, Oluwafisayo Saka, admitted that it has not been quite easy and added that, “What I do now is I strictly plan my day. I envision all the things I have to do, including my classes, upcoming tests, assignments, as well as work. I plan how long it is going to take me and break it down slowly. So for example, if I have a Test on Monday, I will start reading from Friday to Monday, maybe 2 or 3 topics per day, so I can spend at least 2 hours on work.”

“For now, I do more social media management and voice overs. I have not done freelance writing since we resumed  because I am trying to give a little bit more time to my books and I think writing long articles consistently might affect it.” She added.

With the resumption of academic activities comes different experiences for the students of the Faculty of Arts. While some students of the Faculty of Arts have to put their newly-found skills on hold, some have reduced the amount of time with which they work or totally abandoned their jobs as they could not balance them with academics. For others, the work schedules they had planned out for the rest of this year have been disrupted, while some of the students are able to balance work and academics but not without certain difficulties. The one experience that unites these students is that navigating their primary obligation in the university and their work is no easy task.

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