Some Ghanaian students approach the entire concept of university in a different manner, and it is the majority. They see it not to be an avenue for attaining the physical degree itself but a platform for creating a hub for development.
New situations make me a bit nervous and my first experience on campus was no exception. After I had finished paying my school fees, accommodation fees and registering at my department, I was given a room. As I passed through the door with my luggage, I took a deep breath and memories of childhood, advice, sermons and goals filled my mind. One of the hardest things at that moment was me to believe I am in school, to be precise the university and joy filled my heart again.
Life on campus can be to all intents and purposes exciting and stressful, and I want to share my experiences with you. My first encounter that made campus very exciting was my exertion to cook, which was so exciting because I had everything necessary for me to cook. My cooker, utensils and foodstuffs were ready, in fact my roommates and I had a delectable meal. To know ourselves better we commenced a conversation which led everyone to bed. I got to know that I was in the same room with Prince, David and Bameke.
The following day was a very busy day. This was because lectures had to start. But unknowingly, it was a day for our orientation. All freshers met at a great hall, where we were all welcomed and familiarized on our courses of study, rules and regulations of the university, places to go and where not to go. We were also given the chance to socialize and make new friends. We had some refreshment usually called ‘item thirteen’ and departed to our various comings and goings.
Another unneglectable and exciting day was approaching, the day of matriculation. It was a ceremony every first year student was waiting for. I was not able to keep my fingers crossed, but to seriously prepare towards that day. Finally, on one fine but cloudy morning, a whistle was blown in my hall with series of announcements being made, that, “get ready for your matriculation, first year students” said the broadcaster using a public address aid. The hall became very noisy, busy and everybody was engrossed with one activity or the other. Finally, we all assembled in front of the hall and formed a straight queue. We marched to the great hall and had our matriculation. It was wonderful and beautiful, because almost all media houses were present, parents, dignities and etc. My first time to see Asantehene was on that faithful day and it is still fresh in my memories like it happened just yesterday.
Lectures had to begin and everyone was gruesome. Preparations had been done the previous night in the form of ironing, polishing of shoes, at least reading an article and stories just to fabricate our brains for our first lecture. Many had to seek advice from continuing students, which I also did. You can imagine how stressful all these activities were. Finally, it was a fine Friday morning, when lectures had begun. In fact, it was a very stressful one when lecturers had to ask us questions we have never heard before and bombard us with series of assignments. The week was coming to an end, and weekends are full of activities. Some of these activities included birthday celebrations, drink-ups, meetings of most well established groups, visitation by friends and parents, et al.
The university is a confined area to test maturity, discipline and wisdom; therefore freedom is at its highest peak. But, are the students disciplined? One may ask. I remember when I was found in my female course mate’s room at an odd hour, fast asleep. Questions were coming from all angles and you can imagine how stressful I was. But all the same, most students are disciplined. Visiting websites, nicknames, sports, hall week celebrations, parties, promotions, relationships, and occultism are all activities that expel boredom and stress on campus since they keep people occupied.
Online services such as e-Learning, retrieving assignments and submitting assignments are also very stressful. Especially when there is power outage and all powerhouses are dormant on campus. Poor signal quality of internet services is another stressful moment, because the link becomes slow and everyone wants to meet the proposed deadline for submission. But all these stressful consequences were dismissed by some church activities, especially when we had joint services. The Student Representative Council (SRC) had also been very vibrant. They organized events such as inter-hall debates on very educative issues; they also organized sporting activities such as football, hockey and the likes. This helped in forming a formidable school team in all the disciplines. They also chose very influencing themes for their celebrations such as ‘UNITY IN TRANQUILITY’, ‘DEVELOPMENT AND EDUCATION’ and ‘YOUTH AND POLITICS’. The climax activity organized by the SRC was the fan city. In fact, it is a remarkable day most students can’t afford to forget. It gave a great platform for socializing, there was food in abundance, we met music artistes and it was full of jams. Oh! What a day in my life.
Learning on campus was exciting but straining. Reading lectures notes and bulky handouts was not easy at all. Embarking on research was also a stressful thing to do, when one had to toil the library for hours or surf the internet for hours. Unserious study group members and inconvenience in our meeting places and dissemination of information to group members was another major difficulty but all the same we managed in our own little means to make it work for us.
All these activities were occurring at par with lectures and normal school activities. The old and young, rich and poor, fair and dark, fee-paying and regular students, international and local students, disabled and abled are people who constitute the population of the students in the university and stay on campus was exciting despite all stresses one goes through on campus. You can therefore judge by your own understanding and imaginations how exciting and stressful life on campus can equally be.
Richard Odei – Nkansah. (Author)