The Platinum Set: Odd And Unique (Part 7)

If we had exceptional results at the end of freshman year, we could cross to Medicine. And so many of us did excellently well. Hopes were high. Excitement levels were fever pitch. Some started buying textbooks for Premedical classes.

Then again, the oddly unique thing happened. There was a new provost in the College of Medicine who wasn’t so excited about crossing into Medicine. So, he banned it for that year. Again, this was the first and last time something of this sort happened.

We were heartbroken. We were disappointed. We had had high expectations that we had missed up to 5 weeks of lectures in our parent department. Everywhere looked bleak. Many of us were further disillusioned by our senior colleagues who told us that all we achieve as a physiologist graduate was a lecturing job. That sent shivers down our spines! So, that ‘disorientation’ caused us to search within and without for what we could do with our lives. Now, we are still pretty much confused. But this time, it isn’t because we don’t know what we want to do. No, it’s because we are spoilt with various mouth-watering career paths to pick from!

As I glance over my shoulders, I can’t help but to see God’s hand at work in The Platinum Set of students admitted into Physiology in 2009. He caused us to be beacons of light in a place where that had been the darkness of anonymity. He caused us to be rivers in a dry and weary land. We are salts that are adding flavour and taste to where there was none before. Despite all the ‘oddities’, we have pulled through. Suddenly, we find ourselves as a point of reference, as a result of our ‘uniqueness’. We are condemned to Greatness, so, you’d better stand by to be stunned!!!



The Platinum Set: Odd And Unique (Part 6)

Another chemistry course was Inorganic Chemistry. Majority of high school chemistry was inorganic. So, my approach to preparation for this course was lax. Soon, it was exam time and when I saw the questions, I almost chewed my pen halfway. There were 50 questions, each starting with ‘WHICH IS ODD?’. Then there were 5 extremely similar options to choose from. How were we expected to fish the right answer out? Well, all I know is that I passed!

We also had fond memories of our Physics courses, especially the BASIC PRINCIPLES OF PHYSICS II. The name struck me as something like a movie series. Interesting.

However, when the time came for the exam, I didn’t find anything amusing about the course. The course was just too abstract. I couldn’t relate with it. I had never been a fan of cramming stuff and I would never be. That’s why I try to understand whatever I’m taught. The bottomline’s that I had never before in my life written an exam like this one! There were options for each question. And naturally, only one was the correct one. Only that, I couldn’t relate to the questions. They were hostile. The fans in the exam centre were on, yet I remember sweating profusely.

I had 2 hours for the exam. An hour and half later, I was at Question 3. Out of 35! I was even sure the answers I picked were correct. Soon, I saw my self shading the answer paper randomly. It was THAT bad! At the end of the paper, I was earnestly praying to have the passmark, which was 40%. I knew I had no hope of passing. Eventually, when the results were out, I passed and got higher than my expectations.


The Platinum Set: Odd And Unique (Part 5)

Physical Chemistry had been overhyped for us. And rightly so. The Almighty 157 was responsible for sacking over 100 students the previous year! Everyone was afraid of being nipped at the bud. So, many faced the course, at the expense of other courses. Different weapons were flashed in the face of the enemy course. I started reading overnight, solving past questions, going for classes earlier than normal, and the works. It was also at that time I started praying like I won’t read and reading like I won’t pray. It paid off. At least for me. 70% of the students who wrote the course failed it. I didn’t get a ‘WOW’ score like I used to in high school. But hey, I didn’t fail!

The funny thing about this course was the exam format. All past questions that I used for practice were in the Multiple Choice Format (MCq). However, in my set, the format was changed! We had to fill answers into blank gaps! I never fully grasped the course but I had been relieved that there would be options to work my calculations towards. And, as was the case of the UME scores, the format was reverted back to MCq after my set. And it has not been tampered with again!


The Platinum Set: Odd And Unique (Part 4)

As at the time I was running around for my admission, I had not written my SSCE. When the time came for that, I made up my mind to do very well. And I did excellently well.

So, here I was, ‘overqualifying’ for the course I had changed to. I had a weighted score of 75.6 while those who had a weighted score of about 66.0 but didn’t change their course were picked for Medicine. I consoled myself with two facts. One was, I wasn’t the only one with my predicament. The other was the mouth-watering prospect of changing back to Medicine, if I did excellently well at the end of my freshman year.

I soon finished with high school and the rest of 2009 was uneventful. There was also a general strike in all public universities, including UI. You can check my post, ‘ Strike Three- You’re Out!!!’ for more on that.

January 2010, all universities resumed work. I and all my classmates with a similar situation with mine devoted ourselves to ending our freshman year with excellent results, so we could cross back to Medicine. There were more than a couple of shocks and surprises waiting for me. For example, I had thought that high school Physics and Chemistry were the last in my life. Instead, I was met with 5 physics and 4 chemistry courses. That, for a freshman!!!


The Platinum Set: Odd And Unique (Part 3)

Days later, the results were out. I rushed out to check my score online. 225. 225 out of 400! I was sad. I fought back tears. Then, I cried. How was I ever going to study Medicine with such a score?! Though I had been convalescing when I was writing the exams, I couldn’t forgive myself for falling ill at that time.

So, what was the next step for me? Staying at home till the next year’s UME was not an option!

I soon found out that I could change my desired course to one that was not as demanding as Medicine, in terms of admission requirements. Then after obtaining admission, I could always change back to Medicine. The idea sounded good. The only clause was that I could only make use of this card once. Fair enough! So, I changed my preferred course of study to Physiology.

If only I knew the events that would unfold as the days went by…


The Platinum Set: Odd And Unique (Part 2)

The story starts with me.

At least to some extent I got to know myself before meeting other people. In high school, I was somewhat an all-rounder. Academically. Though I was never the sporty type, I was quite playful. Looking back, I have discovered that I excelled in all my subjects, despite not always reading. I was neither a geek nor a whizkid. All I can say is that there was, and still is, a grace working in me.

So, because I performed well in my subjects, I was persuaded to pursue a degree in Medicine. At that time, I had no idea of what I wanted to do with my life. All I knew was that I wanted to be where the brilliant students always went to. And in this society, that was Medicine.

My stay at in high school was drawing to a close and soon it was time to sit for the University Matriculation Examinations (UME) for the year 2009. I got the forms and filled in for Medicine and Pharmacy for the University of Ibadan and the Obafemi Awolowo University, respectively. I got the necessary materials for practice and started my preparations in earnest.

About 3 weeks to the exams, I came down with typhoid fever. The sickness was so severe that I gained admission into an entirely different institution. A hospital. The day for the UME exams drew nearer and near. And I was unable to prepare. In fact, I was discharged from the hospital about 4 days to the D-day.

On the fateful day for the exams, I was less than a shadow of myself. So, I went in for the exams, did my best and came out…


The Platinum Set: Odd And Unique (Part 1)

In a bid to outstandingly stand out from a selected group of people, it is imperative for one to possess something that the others do not have. In my post, ‘The Real McCoy’, I talked about the fact that each individual is the only one of his kind. Others may be similar but they are just not quite the same. Unsurprisingly, a way to stand out is to realize that one is unique and consequently choose to be noncommittal to the norms and unspoken rules of the community or society. I searched my mind for the best example I could use to buttress my point. I couldn’t come up with anything better than the set of students to be admitted into the University of Ibadan for the 2009/10 Academic Session. Especially those of us who were chosen to study Physiology.
The story starts with me…


Strike Three – You’re Out!

Baseball is a sport that is not too common in this part of the world. Infact, had it not been that I’m a bit exposed to some foreign movies, I might not have known what the heading of this post meant. Just for the fun of it, ask any Nigerian University student what ‘strike’ means and you’d get the unanimous reply that it means ‘when lecturers do not go to work’.

I’ve been in school for almost 4 years now and I’ve encountered 3 major instances when the Academic Staff Union decided to go on a strike to force the Nigerian government to meet their demands.

Strike One! This came before I resumed for my freshman year. I can’t remember the exact details of that particular strike. What I remember, however, is that this strike lasted 5 months! Let me say that again in slow-mo: F-I-V-E-M-O-N-T-H-S. I was downcast. Almost depressed. My classmates in secondary school were almost through with their freshman year in the private universities they opted for by the time the strike was called off. The aftermath was a lopsided school calender with the session commencing January, instead of September the previous year.

Strike Two!! This lasted about 5 weeks and in comparison with the previous strike, this strike was highly welcome. I think this one came at the end of my sophomore year. The session was a rapid-fire, high-tension one that was chronically rushed for we students. We wrote our exams and soon as the last student dropped his pen, the strike started. Well, it didn’t exactly happen like that but the ink on our exam papers were not yet dry….okay, okay, at least you get my point. This strike afforded me the time I needed to regain my strength and get refreshed after such a tedious session. I even made a couple of bucks during that period.

Strike Three!!! ASUU and the government were soon at it again. Going at loggerheads like rival wives in a polygamous home. Again, for me, this strike was a highly welcome development. Very timely. Infact, I had been praying for it since my 1st semester. Why not? I had a research project to work on; I had a magazine publication to work on (Check my post, ”FACTOR VI”); I needed to prepare for some elective courses. But in a fast-paced semester, the time always seemed not to be enough. Well, thanks to the strike, I can work more optimally in a lower pressure environment and by the time the strike’s over, I should have gone far.

Just as a bonus, it is necessary to pass this message of solidarity to all final year students in all public universities in Nigeria: You’ve been through, Strike One, Strike Two and Strike Three, no one needs to tell you that You Are Out!!!

Limitations: Who sets ’em?

I needed the money so urgently. When I eventually got to the ATM gallery in front of the bank, I was discouraged. There was a very long, slow-moving queue in front of JUST two of the many ATM cubicles at the gallery. I was pissed to the marrows. So, after securing a space for myself at the end of one of the two long lines, I walked up to one of the ATM cubicles without a line in front of it to find out why this was so. Immediately I got there, I instantly wished that I had not gone through the trouble of walking up to the front in the first place. Not a few people snickered at me, probably wondering if I had been too blind to notice the fact that the other ATM machines were not working – that was the reason why there were just two long queues. I felt slightly embarassed but I chose to be unperturbed. I went on to the next ATM cubicle and I saw the same unwelcome welcome on this ATM machine too “OUT OF ORDER”. By the time, I sensed that the whole world was looking at me. What could they be thinking? Maybe, ‘Why isn’t this guy playing by the UNWRITTEN rule?’ or ‘Why is he so impatient?’ or maybe, ‘Does he think he’s smarter than us?’ ‘What point is he trying to prove?’ ‘Would he eventually come back to the end of our line?

I was now on the third ATM and I was met with the same, ‘OUT OF BOUNDS’ response. Within me, I instantly got a flash of intuition and I noticed that amongst all those on the long lines, probably a few, if any, managed to get to this particular ATM cubicle before concluding that all other ATM machines would not work. So, I went on to the next ATM cubicle…

I got inside the cubicle and I did not come out a minute later. There was a sudden hush that fell on all who were there. I came out about five minutes later beaming triumphantly. ‘It’s dispensing!’, I said.

So many people are of the opinion that limitations are ubiquitous. They feel that things are just not meant to go right. If they feel that others from time past have not been able to do something, then that thingy is impossible. See, limitations are a thing of the mine. To illustrate this point, follow this study: A line was drawn on the ground and people were given a small ball on one side of the line to throw in a very narrow cup at the other side of the line. Most of the individuals in this study stood behind the line to throw the ball to the narrow cup on the other side and all missed, when they could have easily walked up to the cup and dropped the ball into it. The power of the mind.

If you wholeheartedly believe within you that you lack the ability to get something, you’d probably never get it done.

So, what would you do? Renew your mind set. Think outside the box. Step out of the ‘what is’ and enter into ‘what should be’. Say NO to limitations of every kind and Believe – in God, your abilities and yourself.

Has the cat got your tongue? (Part2)

Continued from Part1

I am only too aware that there are numerous individuals in the department who are logisticians and technocrats and are fully capable of moving the association to the next level.

But what do they do instead?
They fold their arms and point accusing fingers from their comfort zones in the background.
They write and present 100-count charges against the excos during the association’s general congress.

Yet, when the time for elections come, the ‘cat’ eventually gets their tongues. They chicken out in sheer fright and cowardice because of the various screenings by the association’s electoral committee, the Press and the general UIPSA house during the manifesto. They are selfish people, myopic in nature and lacking the sagacity to see the bigger picture of what their abilities may bring to UIPSA.

To me, I have the feeling that the association’s main elections and by-elections over the past few years (most especially the immediate past elections for the incumbent tenure) have been just too outrightly straightforward.
I HAVE A DREAM that in the not too distant future, whenever it is time to cast votes, UIPSAites would be spoilt with quality choices of who to vote for in the elections.
I HAVE A DREAM that one day, UIPSAites who decide to come out for the available political offices would not do so because there is no one else to come out but because they are able, capable and possess what it takes to lead UIPSA to greater heights.
I DREAM of the day when there would no longer be by-elections in UIPSA because committed, convinced, competent and concerned technocrats have taken up all the available posts in the main elections.

UIPSAites, it’s time to start dribbling out of the embarrasing situation of ‘tonguelessness’. It’s time to retrieve the ‘tongues’ from that ever elusive proverbial cat!!!