By Lord Banks
ASUU’s doing what they know how to do best. And it’s certainly not teaching. They’re on strike again, same old drama replaying itself like it has dozens of time before. As always, it’s the students, unwitting and unwilling participants in this charade that emerge losers, paying for our elders’ stubborness with extra years in an already unnecessarily protracted ‘learning’ process. But I’m not going to rant about ASUU or the Federal Government, there are more than enough pundits who are only too happy to proffer a gory prognosis of this malignant cancer. Right now I’m more concerned with answering the question that a young undergraduate friend of mine asked me just after the strike was announced.
‘What do I do during the strike?’ she asked me.
And going by ASUU’s precedents of how drawn out these affairs can be, lasting months in many cases, it is a pertinent question.
One thing is sure, that time won’t be spent reading school books, you know this. From my experience with ASUU strikes, almost nobody does. A lot of people spend that time cycling through all the channels on DStv, drinking booze, sleeping in till twelve pm and generally being weists. By the time we got back to school we’d hear about the guy in our class who got in trouble with the police, or about the girl who got knocked up by the dude next door, his school was on strike too. The devil just loves idle hands. And when the strike occurs just before exams, you can be sure that an academic tsunami will take place when the strike is over, mass failure. Because folks usually never get over the inertia of spending that much time away from the study environment, at least not in time to prepare for the hastily conducted lectures and exams that are necessary to make up for
lost time. Multiply the effects of these by the wasted years spent acquiring a sub-standard education, and the fear of strikes is perfectly understandable. But not exactly necessary, if you choose to make the best of it. In fact, when viewed from a certain perspective, ASUU strikes might be a good thing. How, you ask? Well because the duration of the strike might be your best chance of learning/doing stuff that is actually useful and will avail you for life and the future, as opposed to the crap that they’re force-feeding you at school. And I have a few ideas that might be worth your while if you try them out.
Six Things To Do When There’s No School
*Rapping in JayZ’s voice* Hey yo, hey yo, here’s six things you can do, even while you’re outta school, that’ll make you look cool, while your friends sleep till noon… That kinda ryhmes, doesn’t it, hehehe. Okay here we go.
1. Acquire a skill: This one’s a no-brainer, there’s all kinds of stuff you can learn in a few months, and some in just weeks. How about using that time to improve your IT skills, learn a new language, pick up a musical instrument, receive lessons in Kung Fu?…seriously. If money’s a concern, there are truckloads of free/subsidised learning resources, if you know how to look. It will surprise you where these skills will prove useful down the road.
2. Get a job : That’s right, get a job. With what certificate, you ask? Who says you need a certificate to get a job? There has to be something you know how to do, get out there and look for someone that needs a hand at their office or company, even if you’re going to work for your father and for free. Yeah I said it, work for free if you have to.
3. Start a business: Although it seems like a more glamorous alternative to getting a job, this one is far more challenging and is certainly not for everyone. However, even those who start and fail would have learnt invaluable life and business lessons that only such an experience can teach.
4. Become a volunteer: Aside from the feeling of accomplishment and fulfilment that comes from serving humanity, volunteering can be one of the most rewarding activities you can engage in, given the potentially high levels of training, travel and connections that such platforms expose you to. What’s more, most volunteer organisations have programs specially tailored for young and student volunteers that allow you to conveniently sustain your volunteer activities even while you’re in school. Examples? HIV awareness platforms/NGOs, Red Cross, Organisations that care for the homeless, paraplegics, convicts, etc.
5. Attend seminars and industry events – You might not know it, but there are always interactions and discussions going on around your chosen discipline on many levels, manifesting themselves in seminars, trainings, meetups, exhibitions, expos, symposia, book readings, concerts and much more. A lot of these are free or subsidised, especially for students, and again there is the opportunity to gain exposure and make valuable connections.
6. Work on that idea: You know what I’m talking about. That song that came to you in the shower. That niggling question that your lecturer refused to (or couldn’t) answer. That book manuscript that has been gathering dust in the corner of your wardrobe. Those ideas that you’ve been too busy going to school to explore. Now is the time to work on those things. You might never get a better opportunity.
As I write this, I have resolved to update this post whenever I get wind of opportunities/platforms that relate to the above points, so you might want to bookmark this post and visit it again. You might also want to follow me on Twitter or add me onFacebook to get similar updates.
Big Fat Lemons
That’s just what ASUU strikes are in my opinion. And you can trust me, I’ve drunk my own lemonade. With the exception of volunteering, I have personally used all the examples I gave above, and I’m better for it, the most productive periods of my time in school were the times I spent out of it…during ASUU strikes when I learnt most of the stuff that I do now. You can choose to gripe and complain to everyone who cares to listen about how many extra years you’ll have to spend in school, or you can transcend the situation and make the best of it. My fellow yoots*, ASUU strike is no excuse for being a weist*. Take charge of your life.
PS: If you’ve got any other productive activity to add to the list please bring it to our notice via the comments, it is appreciated in advance. I also want to use this medium to call upon any interested and kindhearted citizens who have or are in a position to know about actual activities by way of seminars, skills acquisition platforms, volunteering, jobs paid and unpaid, e.t.c, that young ASUU strike victims can engage in for the duration. You can contact me here, on Facebook, or Twitter, and I will do my best to update this post to reflect those opportunities or pass them along via any other medium that is required. Thanks.
Read more from Lord Banks here