Some weeks ago, I was walking past a tree near the former rotunda café in OAU. Its bare branches sagged under the weight of hundreds of bats. Bats! The creatures that dropped poop on me in my third year! This got me thinking about my undergraduate days in OAU.
My first year was somehow fun. Being a young teenager, I seemed to have no worries apart from the usual ones of feeding and study; ah…, the wild rush for lecture halls. I had never been so far away from home, was homesick and called home often to ease my loneliness. Hostel life was new and exciting; the constant banter, soldier ants and nasty tricks – I was the architect of some of them. ;).
I got introduced to FORTRAN in my second year and instantly fell in love with programming. By taking on pro bono work, I tremendously improved my word processing and programming skills. I remember the math course I took in the second semester – all my colleagues do too – the exam was one of the most exacting that I wrote. The students appropriately labelled it ‘tsunami’.
The first and last time a bat dropped poop on me was in my third year. I was rushing to class and suddenly felt a wetness on my head; it was very embarrassing. During the same year, I was heavily criticized at a presentation, wrote a great piece of assembly software and traveled to the North.
My fourth year started well, the semester was short, very short and I got to improve tremendously on my Arabic. After the semester, I spent six weeks looking for an internship; it was an unpleasant experience. Just when I thought I was going to give up; I got a place at Neo-matrix experts. The better part of 7 months was spent learning about web development and Linux. The Neo-matrix job showed me programming jobs were demanding jobs requiring high levels of focus and dedication.
I switched platforms and moved over to Ubuntu Linux just before starting my final year. I found Linux to be reliable, interesting and challenging. The decision to change was fueled by my curiosity and my desire to stay away from all forms of pirated software.
My last year at OAU was my most challenging year in school. I’d never been so so busy in my life, I had too many things to do and had to constantly deliver at high levels of performance. It finally ended with my final exams some weeks ago and my project defence.
Though I didn’t get to visit the dam, climb all the three inselbergs (I got to climb only one), or get to the oxidation area unit during my time in school, I got to learn so much in the sheltered environment OAU offered me. I learnt honour, hard work, integrity, sacrifice, brotherhood, loyalty, courage and responsibility. These values are some of the greatest assets anyone can have.
They say OAU has the largest population of bats in Nigeria; I don’t know how true this is but I know that my experiences in OAU will sure remain indelible. Long live Great Ife! Another Great Ife is a counterfeit…