The Challenge of the Average Nigerian Undergraduate and How it can be Solved
In this part of the world, there is no dispute to say that we face the basic challenges of life which entails the lack or insufficiency of essential basic amenities ranging from food, shelter, education, security, health facilities, standard jobs and others. This insufficiency has made plans and targets to become mansions that take a lot of time to build and establish. As a Nigerian undergraduate, the first core challenge being faced from time to time is the energy and time spent seeking for admission. After crossing this first hurdle the second challenge is the fear of getting the best out of the degree at the end of the academic course to get a degree. In my article today, I will be sharing on the challenges the average Nigerian undergraduate face and how it can be solved. So, come with me!
Struggle for admission – There is always this uncertainty experienced by secondary school students after the completion of their SSCE aka O’ Level studies. This is primarily due to the high outflow of thousands of students searching for admission into their desired courses in competitive institutions with limited space. Obviously, this can only be conquered by putting in your best in your West African Examination Council (WAEC), Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) and Post Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (P-UTME). In case you don’t meet up in the first year, keep trying and practising and while you are at it, learn other skills and be productive in any way you can.
Basic challenges faced by an average Nigerian undergraduate include:
- Uncertainty of a new life – Starting a new life far away from family, relatives and friends (especially if you never attended a boarding school) can be quite a bit of a challenge. You now become your own boss and you need to decide what course your life takes. There is this fear of not being sure of what you really want. The first year is expected to be hard but never mind, this will only toughen you up for other challenges you might face in the future. The solution is to brace up for the worst and grow up. Every phase of life comes with its ups and downs but it will be worth it if you don’t relent while doing the right thing.
- Inadequate course materials – It is common place in our universities that most courses taught don’t have enough Nigerian academic references to draw examples from. This is due to the lack of data storage and inadequate research. Most times conclusions are simply assumed and drawn without having a well-researched reason for the decision. This takes us back to relying on the foreign experts who has taken a lot of time trying to give answers to numerous academic questions posed by students. So, kindly surf the internet for more explanations and details of what you have been taught casually in class, there are more than enough materials to draw points from and develop your knowledge, besides, the internet is usually updated. You can also maximize the books in your school library, publications must have been written to buttress whatever you are looking for. But altogether, generally follow the path of successful students who are either a year or more ahead of you. They are probably your best guide in that environment. Few lecturers could also provide enormous help to you.
- School stress – There is no argument about the stress that almost every higher institution in Nigeria gives to every student who wishes to graduate with good grades. Starting from assignments, projects, group work, practical, term paper to research work and lots more depending on your field. The consolation you have in this situation is your scores at the end of the academic semester. Just focus on the end result and don’t allow the stress of today cloud the joy of tomorrow. If you finish outstandingly, numerous scholarships and opportunities awaits you and if you give up on time, you might have to keep consoling yourself for a long time, well, except you have some nice connections that wouldn’t mind your results which is a very rare case. Focus on your studies and keep a nice balance between it and other extra-curricular activities that reduce stress reasonably.
- Obsolete Facilities – There are numerous old facilities in our universities and few recently renovated ones leaving undergraduates with no choice than to use the available dilapidated building and resources. The idea here when it comes to personal reading and preparation of exams is to locate your comfort zone; it could be the library, your room, your fellowship library, your neighbour’s house or a few acceptable school buildings. The most important thing is the availability of light and serenity.
- Unexplained lecture notes – Well, this is also common in this part of the world, especially after your first year in school and that’s because you have been regarded as adults that should read and assimilate things on your own with very little or without explanation of the lecture notes. What you need to do in this situation is to get the lecture notes as soon as possible from predecessors or your captain, if possible, and try to read ahead of the class. By the time the lecturer drops the note, just let him know the aspect you need further explanations on, most lecturers cannot avoid your question especially when it is well placed, with that you can get to read the less complicated aspects of the notes and assimilate on your own.
- Lack of communication – Unfortunately, most of our lecturers lack lecturer-student relationship, very few care whether you understand your courses or not and most lecturers will not have students visit their offices for further questions. What you can do is to maximize the time in class. As aforementioned, carry out your research privately and read ahead, then use every opportunity you have in the class to communicate with your lecturer openly. Express your concern and ask for help. If he invites you to the office, it’s advisable you go with a friend, just for the purpose of ensuring he does not deviate from your purpose of going to his office. Some lecturers can be funny, you know.
- Bizarre exam scores – The exam scores list gets pasted and all you see is a figure below your expectation. From your view, you have read your materials and practised likely questions, you finished your questions on time and had no issue to attract negative marks and still you find yourself confused in front of the notice board, I know how it feels, several people have experienced it, you are not alone. You need to read above and beyond what you are given in class, attempt all questions even if you don’t have an idea, just think and put something related if not exact. Make an effort to impress your lecturer when you answer questions and above all, pray in all things, perhaps your prayer can awaken the sleeping lecturer while marking your scripts or save your sheets from missing.
- No motivation for extra efforts – Yes, there is usually little or no recognition of extra academic efforts. All you get is either a handshake, letter from your dean or a little financial token (rare). The only special thing you just feel within you is when your colleagues give you a special attention when you talk or make an opinion known (winks). You can only console and encourage yourself with the fact that the future is bright if you don’t relent, keep in mind also that scholarships and other opportunities awaits outstanding people like you. You just have to accept fate and hope for a rewarding future.
- Time management – There is usually no sufficient time to finish up whatever task you have been given due to numerous personal and academic obligations you have to meet up with. All you can do to maximize the little time you have, is to cut off unproductive conversations with people, reduce extra-curriculum activities, switch off your phone when you have something really urgent to work on, reduce your visitations to people and vice-versa except it is very important, you can also streamline the number of your large friends to a reasonable beneficial number of friends. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you have to fit in with people who have a different interest from yours in order to please them or make you feel good. Friendship is largely by choice. Choose the right ones and avoid brain drainers. You can also prepare a timetable for yourself and strictly follow, though; this requires a lot of discipline from you. You should have some free time for extra reading if this is suitably applied.
Finally, it is usually said that all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, hence, ensure there is a noble balance between your academic life as an undergraduate and other aspects of your life in order to be explore opportunities in other areas experienced in the university. With the aforementioned points, coupled with consistency, you should certainly have a sensible undergraduate experience without putting much blames on the society or country at large.
Hence, make every effort to take responsibility for your precious life! Have a most productive undergraduate experience in this beloved country of ours.
The Challenge of the Average Nigerian Undergraduate and How it can be Solved