Are You a Student, Or Just Pretending To Be One?

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Source: pulse.ng

The craze to become a student is overwhelming. But being a student is trivial.

The idea of studentship has been slowly erased down different generations. Now, we have forgotten what it really is, and confused it with what it isn't.

What is not studentship? For one thing, acting.

Studentship is not going to class early, sitting in the front row, going for night class, writing notes, buying handouts and keeping big textbooks in your bag. It is BEING. I'll explain the difference. What happens, for instance, when the teaching staff decide to go on an indefinite strike, or when the school vacates, or when test comes up suddenly? The student, if he cannot wing it, loses essence. Yet our secondary schools and universities gain their essence- the one they so cherished- by training these inessential students.

I'll give you a better example. During my university days, there were students who would make others feel less like students. They had their seats in front of the classes, they listened attentively to lecturers (or so it seemed) and write comprehensive notes. However, when exams approached they would scramble for the jottings of other students. Obviously, they weren’t doing the things they had to do to prepare for what was to come. Some would even go for night classes. But trust me, most of them would end up sleeping. I have been there.


For clarification, I'm not stating that going for night class is bad, neither am I advocating the need for it. You think it works best for you? Go for it!
But leaving your hostel- acting like a true student- only to return the following morning, having practiced nothing but the latest combination of snore rhythm? It is not worth it.

Nor is studentship about high grades. It is indeed far from it. I am very sorry to burst your bubble, but we all are victims of a failing educational system.

In the Nigerian system, competence is a function of high grades, and high grades is a function of how well you can cram, how well you can duplicate texts, and sometimes, how well you can cheat. Fun has been sucked out of learning. The true meaning of research has now become something like the distant memory of a household name. If plagiarism were punishable by death, maybe we wouldn't have living students here in Nigeria.

During my final semester in the university, my project supervisor- a man who knew his onions- told me (pointing to the devices he had built): Do you think I learnt all these in school? I have never traveled out of this country. But all your lecturers that do, know nothing.

On another occasion, I asked whether or not I would be asked to test a device I was working on, since it was only halfway ready, and it was way past submission deadline. He told me: You don't have to worry about that. Even the devices built by students that graduated with first class degrees didn't work.

Bang! That came as a shock. But I don't really blame the lecturers. They are also victims of this failing system. 99% of them graduated from Nigerian universities. They came from the system, and were pushed back into the system to uphold its norms. So, we shouldn’t be all that surprised when we just get more of the same. A sow will only teach the piglings how to play in the mud, nothing more.

They teach students to have good grades, not to know the real deal. The situation has become so bad that some lecturers don’t know beyond their lecture notes. They would mark a student wrong if he dared to interpret any definition in his own words. These lecturers, because they don’t really understand the course they teach, copy answered questions online or directly from a textbook. But students are wise enough to discover the trick. They cram their way to get good grades, without understanding what the question was all about. They force students to be mediocre. Some would even come to the class to preach for more than half of the time they were supposed to be lecturing. This is sheer lack of perception. Is the class a church? Why would a lecturer go to the class to preach when he can easily get his THE LORD'S CHOSEN apron, go out there, and cook up words from the bible?

And the student, upon graduating, believes he has attained a formidable stage of studentship; whereas he is more than 3000 light-years away from it. Sorry to burst your bubble once again, but these people know very well that they have just trained yet another set of dumb graduates. No wonder they give the best graduating student #9500… or has it been increased to #10000?


A true student enjoys the learning process. He is not manipulated into being a mediocre by his mediocre lecturers. He isn’t afraid of exploring the true nature of his course of study, even if he would still succumb to the system’s whim to pass his exams. He works to make his high grades a true reflection of his competence.

Do not get me wrong. We have few real students here in Nigeria, but what difference has that made? Nothing. Why? Because some- among the remaining students- don’t really attach importance to education. They believe education isn’t the key as they were taught (even if it were, the lock has been changed behind their backs). They only put up the student act to satisfy the requirements of the society. While the ones who are trying at being students long desperately for a better system. But the government they look up to  don’t give a damn. Maybe it is their longing that is the problem. They are waiting for a rescue at the cost of their own redemption. They don’t want to be the change. After all, being a student is a pretty hard job.

Thank you for reading. Please share this article, and don’t forget to subscribe to Akinyemi’s Journal (You will find a space to enter your email address as you scroll down).

2 comments:

  1. This is really an eye opener. Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. You are welcome Abdul Azeez. I am glad you loved it. Thanks for reading.

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