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BEFORE YOU DROP YOUR LUGGAGE _ ( A Welcome Address to UI Freshers)

Amanatullah Lanre ADEDEJI

The fact that KWASU has completed the session when UI is about to start, UNILORIN is on the verge of completion while OOU has started her rain semester and all other sister schools have left her far behind in the academic calendar does not remove an atom from her dignity and excellence. This is University of Ibadan.

Should I start the congratulatory greetings from the O’Level you sat for and came out in flying colours? Or the Oloyede’s UTME you burnt into ashes? Or the mountain of UI Post-UTME you surmounted? For indeed, you have sailed through rivers of hurdles successfully. Hence, I felicitate with you and I wish you success in your academic sojourn on this campus- the pioneer university in Nigeria and one of the best universities in the land of the blacks.

To be fair, the pride of being a student of University of Ibadan cannot be over-emphasized. It runs in the veins just like the blood does, most especially at the inception of being an undergraduate. I don’t need to dwell more on this, you understand more than I do. Do you remember that time you told people about your admission even when it is uncalled for? The wow’s and feelings you got? My dear, don’t be fooled! Don’t be carried away by building your castles in the air! You will soon realize the name University of Ibadan is a privilege, so as your admission here is also a privilege.

The era of academic imposition by teachers is gone. The period of punishment for laxity and indiscipline has gone into extinction. The time of rote learning is no more. The period of teachers as the sole source of learning doesn’t exist any longer. Teaching is over. Proper monitoring of one’s movements and activities by parents is gone. Secondary school routine ( 8am-2pm, recess, break time, class teacher, class captain, 8 periods per day, beating and punishment by teachers , and a host of others) has ended. Now, you are librated! The freedom you have been craving is now at your fingertips. The campus life you envisaged long time ago is now at your doorstep. By now, you should have realized you can make over 90% of your life decisions by yourself. The ball is now in your court , play it well!

To a little extent, I believe I have been able to take you through some of your experiences, feelings and expectations as you are about to step into University of Ibadan. Now, I welcome you to the campus. Your naivety of campus environment is obvious and also imminent. The first task I am giving you is to get yourself acquainted with the campus environment. Get to know majority(if not all) of important places on campus; halls of residence, faculties, restaurants and eateries , recreational centres, lecture theatres , offices, event centres, roads and many more. This should be in your schedule in your days on campus. Do you think it is frivolous? Not at all. One will soon pay for being naïve, if ignored, sooner or later. At this juncture, I remember how I paid '’owo maga’’ for an okada man for taking me through a stone throw. I wish to narrate the whole scenario, but it is just too ridiculous for me to say. Therefore, don’t be a victim like I was.

Either by accident or coincidence, you have been admitted to a particular department and to study a specific course. What is the degree of your interest in the course? For those whose preferred courses were given, congratulations and make sure you uphold the interest, for interest is the rudiment of success. On the other hand, those of you who have been given admission to study a course as a result of circumstance or situation, either you change your course in order to gain admission at all cost or you were just given without your consent, this is a turning point for you to create a great interest in the course, otherwise, the end result will be sour. If the heart wills, all means will be devised to attain success. But if not, the basis will always have a spell on every action you take towards success. Even if you have it beneath your mind to change the course, you are still on the right track, but that shouldn’t be a rationale for you to take the initial courses with levity, you still need the success as a prerequisite to cross to your so-called preferred courses.

Get yourself prepared! Since time immemorial, this proverb has remain indelible in our minds and I believe it will remain evergreen; ‘’Proper Preparation Prevent Poor Performance’’, but how often do we implement the content? As a fresher in University of Ibadan, there are some things one needs to get in place as preparation for the session, these are few; payment of fees and dues as early as possible, securing of a convenient accommodation, getting orientation on rightful selection of courses, registration before it lapses, getting a mentor or a guide( most especially in your department), financial strength and most importantly a partner in success. When all these are put in place, the race will be easier and shorter.

You are a first class student! You might wonder the reason why I called you a first class student even when you have not written a single attendance, not to talk of a continuous assessment or an exam. You ought to. It is simple! You are still in control of 100marks in all the courses, implying that you still have access to withhold and maintain all the 100marks through out your stay on campus. Did you just doubt the possibility? Please do not, I have a testimony of such in many people. Do all you can to get the best . doing this is simple; be focused, do not procrastinate, make your primary assignment (academics) as your primary assignment, get to know the do’s and don’t’s of all your lecturers, have partners in academics( when necessary), work hard , be wary of negative peer influence, know your worth and ability and most importantly, have a strong spiritual strength. Remember, “What is worth doing is worth doing well”. the fact that you have made it here implies that you can make it here.

Always go beyond the four walls of the classroom. There is a great difference between education and academics, academics is a chip of education. The best are those who are not only good in the classroom but are also being looked upon in the society and everything they need to face the reality of this world is in their hands. You can be a first class student,( YES! Nothing so special in that ) but if you lack some life skills to translate your academic excellence to the betterment of your life and the world around you, my dear, you need to buckle down. The point I am trying to bring out is that ; apart from your excellence in your academics, you need other life skills to complement your life. You need leadership skills, communication skills, self esteem , patriotic skills, entrepreneurial skills, presentation skills, social relationship skills, socio-economic skills, spiritual skills, just to mention a few. Incontestably, all these cannot be gotten from the courses that are designed for us in our various departments, we need to move a step outside. That is why there are various societies and organizations that can teach you all these in all our higher institutions of learning;University of Ibadan is not an exception.

I have not left the importance of not limiting oneself to the teachings of our classrooms. I will take you through another road. The fact that you are in the faculties of Arts or Social Sciences has not stopped you from having some basis in the studies of Sciences and Technology, Medicine, Agriculture and the likes. Being an undergraduate and a prospective university graduate, the world expects a lot from you without considering your discipline. Your discipline is just a nomenclature that tells the world where you got educated, not what you should know. If you have been to an interview, you will understand what I am trying to say better, the whole questions from the interviewer may not have any relationship with your discipline. My dear, you need intelligence, wisdom and knowledge that is beyond your discipline to make it in life.

To back up my stand, I will make reference to the curriculum designed for university education. It has been designed in such a way that every graduate will have at least a tip of an iceberg in all fields of studies in the university. This can be seen in GES, GSE and GNS courses in all higher Institutions of learning. Hence, I implore you not to be contented with such chip, you can learn more with the most powerful means of learning- READING.

Another fact I will like to lay emphasy on is the fact that university life is not a bed of roses, there are ups as well as downs. It is imminent to encounter some challenges, especially at inception. Knowing some of them will enable proffering solutions at the early stage before they become complicated. One of these problems is financial challenges. Life of a student requires a strong financial strength, which if obstructed, problems might arise.

Another major problem is the effect of change in environment on individuals. Most of the freshers,( if not all ) are for the first time going to experience a permanent change in environment and which can have some effects on the health or social relations. Most of you are from a very conducive environment, here, it is less conducive. You might have experienced an air conditioned environment through out your life time( home, vehicles,classroom and daddy’s office). For the fact that you are used to this, a sudden change in environment might have an effect . get prepared! What about the change in convenience? Relish at home? Nice time with family?

Satisfying ones emotional needs is also a problem likely to be encountered by freshers. Who will be my friends? Whom am I to love? How will I cope with my new room mates? All these are emotional challenges one is likely to face, you need a lot of skills to sail through.

On a final note, I wish to remind you the rigorous and difficult paths you have passed before attaining this success; do everything you can to uphold it. Remember the dream you have had many years ago, don’t let them become stillborns; let them come to pass.

All I have written is just a tip of an iceberg, there are a lot that will benefit you that I myself do not know. Give rapt attentions to elders on campus and most importantly during the orientations programs, you get a lot to learn.

This short piece of writing was triggered by the love I have for you. I believe the best way to reciprocate the love is to implement all the lessons and imbibe them and which I am left with no atom of doubt that you will. Hence, you and I will make it together in this UI. Enjoy your stay on the campus of a university par excellence.

Best wishes,

*Amanatullah Lanre ADEDEJI*

Department of Linguistics and African Languages,

Faculty of Arts , University of Ibadan.


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