Welcome to Great Ife, Freshmen; Now That You Are Here (I)

By Adekunle Famuyiwa

 Obafemi Awolowo University is undoubtedly a home for intellectuals and high-flying achievers. Over the years, the university has recorded inspiring successes and produced many sterling achievers who pride themselves as a first-class citizen from different walks of life. Being a freshman means you are about to join the league of these outstanding achievers.

Because upon graduation, you would be standing tall, fulfilled, having achieved your dream on a “platter of hard work, uncommon grit and determination”. It is a trite aphorism that “the life of an achiever is like a billboard displayed at the market square for the public to admire, but whatever they become is a result of their determination, hard work, commitment and consistency. This aphorism resonates with “Great Ife” students.

Great Ife students are great because of the enchanting chorus of their school anthem, aesthetic and coordinated buildings, peerless learning style, rigorous assessments and cultured lifestyle. The avant-garde learning environment, exceptional lecturers, quality friendships, handy opportunities and unwanted struggles will elevate you into a transformational world of your own.

Beginning from the BeginningYou Have Waited Patiently: 

The point where you pass your Unified Matriculation Tertiary Examination, Pre-Degree Examination or the Joint Universities Preliminary Examination Board (JUPEB) is usually the turning point of this greatness.

 After performing brilliantly in one of the examinations above, you sat for the post-UTME. Create a mind-blowing picture in your head, and remember that the culmination of your SSCE, JAMB, Pre-Degree or JUPEB, and Post-UTME examinations resulted in the joy you feel today.

Writing those examinations was never easy. The terrifying midnight candles you burnt, the uncommon effort you exuded, the fear of failure and not getting the course you applied for, and wasting another priceless year of your life enforced the needed energy and seriousness in you. You spent a few years writing these exams.

You have waited patiently and now have a sense of fulfilment, with full-blown happiness overwhelming your entire existence. It is a deserving win for you.

Joy Upon Joy, Struggles Upon Struggles

OAU and its environs are designed to bring you joy and struggles. Little wonder the word “Struggle” is reflected in the school anthem. Painfully, you won’t always get to decide your joy or struggle in OAU. You will take one of the two phenomenal that OAU brings your way and accept it as part of the criteria for success. 

The first struggle you will encounter is adapting to the learning and living environment. Especially if you are the type who is not used to the unfavourable struggles of life.

For those in sciences and engineering who will be offering White House and Yellow House courses, your first struggle might be attending classes in the earliest hours, like 05:00 am, 06:00amm, and still not getting a space to sit on. For those living in town, your first struggle might be leaving your house in the morning, rushing to get a bus, and getting to campus to the news that the class is no longer holding. Different people, different instances, different struggles.

The stress of having back-to-back classes and hanging around at the Faculty of Administration, Law and Social Sciences basements will eviscerate you of your joy. OAU is a typical example of “cry may tarry till night, but joy cometh in the morning.”

 The aesthetic buildings and serene environment will bring repeated joy to you. You will find yourself boasting about the beautiful structures in your school to your friends in other schools and involved in a hot argument to support your school on the X app. It is like a toxic relationship where the abused wife fights her helpers to support the despicable husband.

You might find it challenging to read big books if you are from a department where big books are a big deal or you don’t fancy big books. You might also find it challenging to combine different political and spiritual activities in the faculty, department, associations, and church with your academics, depending on how smart you are. It is indeed joy upon joy and struggles upon struggles.

It is How Best You Make Use of the Life You Chose that Matters: 

Many activities will gratify your interest in OAU. From church, mosque, politics, volunteering, social life, business, and leadership to your academics. Although it is advisable to focus on your academics in your first year to build a solid academic foundation, and throughout your stay on campus. The listed activities are suitable for your personal and career growth.

Do not isolate yourself but be flexible to take responsibility and do what makes you happy. If you are a fan of politics, do politics and ensure that your academics are not lagging. Do not allow anyone to discourage you from volunteering, taking leadership roles or going to church or mosque if that makes you happy and within your ability, in as much as your academics will not suffer. Create a value and standard for yourself. Stick to that value and simply make the best of your life.

At Great Ife, Quality Friends Are Easy to Come By, But Not Quality Grades:

 One of the enticing attributes peculiar to OAU is building quality and long-lasting friendships. The standard platform for making early friends for freshmen is the open space between Angola and Mozambique halls of residence. This act is dubbed “MOZ 101” and usually leads to different ships such as friendship, “situationship”, and relationships depending on the people involved and their level of smartness, maturity and susceptibility.

Beyond MOZ 101, you will make quality friends in your class, church, associations, faculty, hostels, walkways, and organizations you belong to. Most times, you won´t force these superb friendships. You will discover that many beautiful and kind people are your friends in the twinkle of an eye. While forming friendships, it is wise to discern good from bad friends. Some friendships are not necessarily bad; they do not just align with your goals, purpose, plan and interest. Not every Tom, Dick and Harry will be your friends. But you do not need to be hostile.

While great friends are easy to come by, quality grades are not. In OAU, good grades are awarded and not distributed. This implies that you will work hard for every good grade you get. It doesn’t mean you are the cause of every lousy grade you get, either. You must be studious, focused, determined, smart, intelligent and calculative. You can make good grades, but it is for a price. Be ready to pay the price!

Chosen to Be the Best and Nothing Less: 

Getting admitted into OAU automatically means you joined the League of Best Minds and Brains in Nigeria, Africa and the world. There is no limit to your potential and what you can achieve. You are simply unstoppable. However, success is challenging to come by. For every success, there is a strong will, consistency, and determination curated as a sacrifice. Below are the tips for academic excellence at OAU.

1.) Set Your Priorities Right: You must know what you want to do early and tilt your passion towards it. In all, your academics are your priority.

2.) Cancel all Misconceptions from Your Mind: Different misconceptions exist, especially of failure. That fact that someone failed to make a first-class or that a particular course is challenging doesn’t mean you won´t make a first class or won´t pass the course. Remember, you are unstoppable.

3.) Discover yourself: understand your abilities and capacities. For instance, when, how and when you can read to understand. Also, understand the types of activities you can combine with your academics.

4.) Set academic goals and be disciplined: Start by setting academic goals in your 100 levels and be focused on achieving these goals.

5.) Work smart: Working smart entails talking to senior colleagues, asking questions, solving past questions, and understanding your lectures.

6.) Take exams and tests with a focused mind.

7.) Avoid all distractions: distraction is anything that does not align with your goal, plan and interest.

Make God the Alpha and Omega of your endeavours.

Lastly, create memories. Take pictures. Eat like your life depended on food. It is one life. It is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Once again, the long anticipation has ended. Welcome to Obafemi Awolowo University. Explore!

Adekunle Famuyiwa

An avid writer, campus Journalist, researcher and budding Lawyer. Currently a 500-level student of Law at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun state, and the Editor-In-Chief of Observers Mag

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