Two days seem to be the most remembered in the life of a university student—matriculation and convocation. Apart from the few whose parents visit regularly to babysit, for most persons, those two days are the only days their parents and other relatives would ever set their feet on the university campus to see them.
Quite a few students are like me, with parents that missed both events. So we revere in the aura spawned by the friends we have around us. Friends with whom we faced the same challenges and stood victorious at the end.
By a twist of cruel misfortune, my department was scheduled to have physics practical on the day of matriculation. Despite the university management’s expectation that all matriculating students were to be in the Amphitheatre, the handlers of the practical course dared us to miss the practical class. All our pleas were ignored, as they were intent on continuing their annual tradition of wrecking matriculation day for the students of at least two departments.
So on Monday 2nd February 2009, while others were brimming with smiles during the matriculation ceremony, my classmates and I were tinkering with physics laboratory apparatuses. We were released for a short while to quickly get to the Amphitheatre, collect the matriculation form and return to the lab. Thanks to the practical charade, I only have one picture to show for my matriculation. A picture that was taken in the evening, with my much-unwanted trademark frown.
After matriculation, the tests started rolling in. Tests, assignments, exams; we got the full dose of Ife’s medicine. Everything was thrown at us, just as it was thrown at most other departments. We attended officially “illegal” 7am classes that we could not afford to miss, were bogged down with an overload of assignments and resorted to copying ourselves in order to meet the barrage of deadlines. We wrote an exam on a Sunday afternoon, wrote three papers on the Monday after, despite having papers on the Thursday, Friday and Saturday preceding that Sunday, and completed the series with a paper on Tuesday.
Together we proceeded from Part 1 (100L), through all the courses—university requirements, faculty requirements and departmental requirements. Along the line, we were sorted into the serious, the semi-serious and the unserious ones. Academics and extra-curricular activities stood at two ends of a spectrum, and we all chose where we wanted to fit in the spectrum. If being “social” meant partying, we were not anything near those from the “more social faculties”—law and social sciences. What would you expect from a class of about 85 engineering students with only three ladies! We bonded well as a class. At least the majority of us did, and it really helped us overcome challenges.
At the end of it all, one of us, Ademola Oridate, finished as the university’s best graduate, and the overall performance for our set was impressive. On Thursday, 11th December 2014, the journey that began on the 30th of November 2008 finally came to an end.
Now, no more trekking to the famed Spider Building, no more photocopying of numerous materials that made reading dreadful for some, no more assignments to submit, no more climbing in and out of Spider at night, and no more “intecu”—OAU’s hyper-fast wireless internet connection that made life so much easier.
At last, we convoked. The “Prime Movers”; Obafemi Awolowo University’s mechanical engineering class of 2013.