Nigeria is a vast country with hundreds of tertiary institutions ranging from Universities, Polytechnics, mono-technics, and colleges of education with millions of students. Therefore surviving in these institutions and graduating graduating becomes a huge concern. Ideally is fifty (50) students per lecturer, hence, in a class of hundred (100) two (2) lectures are needed. This is so in other to enable the lecturer develop effective relationship with his students so as to know their individual performances and be able to guide them to success in their own pace. You will agree with me that in this type of system every student is a success story if not for very few of them whom probably education isn’t their calling. But in Nigerian institutions, the reverse is the case, a situation whereby you have one lecturer taking over a thousand plus (1000+) students in one course inside a small lecture hall. Recalling my experience, I am graduate of a Electrical Electronic Engineering and my school offer seven (7) Engineering courses, in our first and second years these seven departments received all their lectures in one lecture hall as one class with one lecturer handling one course each. Amazing right? But thats not just it because in my own department we were up to one hundred and thirty two (132) students therefore summing all the seven departments we were up to a thousand plus students in my level. And we offered ten (10) courses per semester for those two years in one lecture hall, which made so many students stand outside the gallery while others under the stair case to receive lectures, of which every student is excepted to pass all the courses by the end of the semester so there’s need to Standout.
It is only in Nigerian institutions that it is very difficult for a student to have access to his head of department, dean of faculty and vice chancellor. In fact seeing any one of these persons is like trying to see the CEO of a conglomerate in other to make a pitch. Yet you need their signatures on one or two documents during your stay in school, because of the rigorous and stressful system which they run that encourages filing by each student every academic year, things that can be handled with the provision of a strong online database. Nor the cost of renting a house outside school and transporting to and fro for lectures, because of inability in providing hostels in their main and satellite campuses.
They say “that the end justifies the means” but most times this isn’t the case in our schools, in the sense that the only test of knowledge is examination, nobody cares if you attend lectures or not nor have lecture notes nor answer questions in class, what everybody is concerned with is your grade after examination not minding how you did it, making some students to rely solely on reading textbooks, lecture notes, past questions, or the other one. The bullies are always there to intimidate and molest you, but you can’t because of them and stop going for lectures and other academic activities. It is only in our institutions that a lecturer will attach much importance to his textbook or handout more than he does to his lecture, and he will tell you “the only way to his A is through his bible”. Amazed, and will be so happy that your lecturer is so religious and is a nice man, watch yourself score low or even rewrite the course because of your lack of compliance.
Faced with all these challenges and more, one will be forced to seek for a way out. Despite the challenges most students are still emerging the best, innovating and Standingout.
OVERCOMING THE HURDLES
In other for you to survive and standout in Nigerian institutions you must be a Multitasker and Smart.
i. Multitasking: You must be ready and willing to do so many things at a time without breaking down, hence prioritize. This will enable you to do all that is required of you in time following the order of importance, because you are excepted to attend your lectures and at the same time build and submit your files, attend social gatherings (picnics and award nights), do your assignments, project works, term papers and copying of lecture notes of missed classes because most lecturers pick most of their questions from what they said in class. Knowing when to study at night and when to wake up in the morning in other to secure a comfortable sitting position where you can hear the lecturer well. I strongly advise against the back seats because it will only turn you into a rap artist, football analyst, a comedian or a full time gossip without a platform. Thus being time conscious is the key to succeeding because you are excepted to pass through school and let school pass through you.
ii. Being Smart: This is one important attribute needed in a student, you must know how, when and where to manoeuver. No matter how intelligent and brilliant you think you are, without this characteristic you will find it difficult surviving. Always aim to be ahead of others, thus be close to all sources of information at your disposal such as your class representative (a.k.a class rep.) and secretaries to offices. When you neglect the power of secretaries in an establishment; they can actually frustrate all your efforts but once you can lobby your way into being their close friend either by tipping them or finding something that they are most interested in and portraying that as yours too, they will be the ones calling you when you want to meet the HOD or Dean or even V.C, once you keep servicing that relationship with them, they will even help you find your missing scripts while in the comfort of your home, they will give you timely information, and even guarantee your smooth entry to meet whoever you want to meet. Please no matter how stubborn and how well you wrote or might write in exam, never you forget to get a copy of your lecturers text or handout (their bible), because they allot reasonable marks to them and ensure that your class rep gives you a serial number, it is your unique identity which the lecturer use in allowing marks. Attending your lectures but most importantly submit your assignments, per take in quizzes and write attendance, these are sure ways. Daw well to lay your hands on past questions on each course because sometimes some lecturers repeat questions a times word to word.
Hope these tips are helpful, and in all be diligent in all you do, study hard and be ahead of your lecturer and always do research consult the Internet and your school library at all times.