E1: THE LINK
My generation as a secondary school student was much deficient in information or I say part of the country I grew up was outrightly deprived. Remembering my struggles for tertiary education, I actually tried to see who I should curse for the dilemma I went through- the teachers that were less informed to put me through, the environment that was so primitive that you don’t know anything happening elsewhere beyond your street or the system that was so backward. I had no idea that a student could gain university or polytechnic admission same year you finish secondary school unlike it has become the norm today; no thanks to lack of information, it’s equal deformation.
I joined my mom in Abuja right after I finished my WAEC and my older brother had to go check my result. It wasn’t all that great but I found out it was the best around cos I didn’t have to re-sit for the subjects I needed unlike my schoolmates and most other students I knew who wrote the 1999 exam. I frisked like a mountain lamb at sunrise, thinking I was on top of the world- little did I know the world was on top of me.
It wasn’t anywhere seen around me that students gained admission same year they finish O’Levels so most of us waited the till following year to attempt JAMB. First one I scored below 200 and the hope of Medicine in University of Ibadan went down the drain. Ask me how I got my result- those were the days of going to the State Office of the exam body, like I went to Bwari, and we would queue in the sun for hours, taking turn to present our slips and the officer will check the score. What a suffering it was and gross abuse on candidates. God help you if you can’t get a chance that day. It means your drying in the scorching sun continues the following day. I never wished to waste so much time in school because I’d been discouraged so the next JAMB, I lowered the bar and opted for Biological Science in same institution because my brother was there and I thought it’s the best in the country, or so I was told. This time, I scored just about 200 in the 2001 JAMB and same process- getting sun dried in the name of checking result, sweating like Christmas goat.
Again, hopelessness of a Nigerian child, I heard UI was a year behind so my set will have to wait extra year for an admission you are not even sure you will be offered. Then I made up my mind I won’t write the third University JAMB and same year, my brother helped to process pre-degree program with University of Ilorin and University of Agriculture, Abeokuta. Both clicked and I chose the latter. Hurriedly, I packed my stuff and travelled all the way with just a little cash more than transport fare with believe that my fees will be sent as soon as possible- so she promised. But then came the story of the travails of a single mother of three- there was no money, thirty six thousand naira, to settle the bills. I left the school when the first semester exam was scheduled and obviously, I wouldn’t be able to write exam without paying my fees- another crushed hope.
Few weeks later after returning back to base, on a very good Wednesday, I went to church and I was told I have a letter- like many others, using church’s postal address was most reliable. On opening the letter, lo and behold, it was an admission offer from JAMB to the University of Agriculture to study Biological Science- my exact choice but how come the institution? I didn’t choose it. That was the same school I’d spent more than two month attending pre-degree lectures until I couldn’t pay the fees. Getting home, my mom reminded me of the day one of her customers who worked at JAMB office collected my registration number but she never got in touch that she did anything to help.
The following day, she got as much money she could for transport fare and I went on a night journey. Oh! What a journey. I didn’t get the regular bus because I was late to get to park at Area 1 and all the buses scheduled for the night trip had gone. I was advised to go to Gwagwalada but same was the story there- no bus. Being in transport dilemma with two other people I met there, we were stranded. At about 12am, a lorry carrying beans to Lagos stopped by and agreed to take us along, charging less than normal. This will reduce fare and I’ll have more money left, I thought but it was a mistake of my life I got into the lorry, sitting on the bags of beans. The discomfort and ache was classic. I couldn’t close my eyes for more than five minutes per time.
Eventually, we got to Ibadan where I alighted at around 1pm and before I got to Abeokuta, the work hours were gone. Finding where to sleep wasn’t a big deal. I went to my friend-turned-cousin’s house- same place I lived when I was hoping to pay pre-degree fees. She was surprised to see me as much as sympathetic to my palaver.
The following day, Friday, I went to the school and after much enquiries, I went to the Senate Building and straight to Registrar’s office. Hearing my story, he showed so much sympathy but unfortunately, “there is nothing I can do because matriculation already took place and list of students has been submitted to VC. I really sympathize with you.” Those were his words. Not crying nor begging could cut it because I did both so much that I was sure he’d have done something if he could. I left his office with my last hope crushed.
This was the same school I’d checked my name on the notice board and saw that I was given admission for pre-degree studies that I couldn’t pay for and on same board I could remember, were the list of freshers and Direct Entry students. I had no idea I was on the freshers’ list and all I would have needed to sort all my fees was less than fifteen thousand naira which was available at the time but it was too late. I lost the pre-degree admission cos I couldn’t pay as well as 100Level entry because of late notification.
With so much ease technology has brought into the process today, I wish it was like this those times- it would have just been clicking a link that will solve my menace.
Just the link to check my JAMB result.
Just the link to see my admission status.
Just the link where I’d have seen that I have been offered my dreamed course from a school I’d have loved to graduate from and I wouldn’t have waited for six years in total to earn a National Diploma and more years later to earn BSc.
Thanks to today’s Internet and technology, how many more young people would have suffered same plight I did? Or are suffering it currently?
Just the link was all I’d have needed.