This University of Life
It is common for students to celebrate the “completion” of their education in various ways. In some institutions, the excitement of completing a stipulated study programme would make graduating students throw all kinds of objects, from tomato to “pure water”, at one another.
At the University of Ilorin recently for example, many final year students after their last lectures wore white dresses on a day. The white vests soon became smeared with all kinds of ink and inscriptions. I was told the graduating students were “signing out” by writing their names or appending their signatures on their colleagues’ dresses.
However, the notion of completing one’s education is misinformed. No one ever completes one’s education as education is a life-long phenomenon. It is incontrovertible, as Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) once said, that seeking education starts from the cradle and ends in the grave. One can complete schooling but no one completes education while alive. We stop living the day we stop learning.
The implication of the foregoing is that this life is one big University we are all enrolled in. We gained admission the day we were born; we matriculated the day we were named. We attend classes throughout and face the challenges of tests and assignments in problems and challenges that dog our path. We stumble; we rise. We fail; we pass. We get promoted from one class to the other as our levels change. We graduate the day we die.
One fundamental thing about this University of Life is to be prepared, as the Boys Scout would say, because tests, assignments and examinations are part of it. How many of us are prepared? Students often desire that examinations do not hold but still realize they still must sit for them to move from one level to another. We also hope that we live a trouble-free life but that is wishful thinking.
Fifty years ago, the late Dr Tai Solarin stunned his readers when he wrote on January 1, 1964 an article under a seemingly ominous title, “May your road be rough”. He argued that it was sheer bunkum not to expect challenges or difficulties because life that would be “abundant must have plenty of hills and vales…sunshine and rough weather”.
He also stressed, in what has become one of his most famous quotes, thus: “All that is noble and laudable was to be achieved only through difficulties and trials and tears and dangers.”
On her part, Barbara Bradford, though in a different context, suggests that there are five “d’s” critical to success in the University of Life. These d’s are desire, drive, determination, discipline and dedication. Everyone deserves to a large extent what he desires and drives towards with determination but no desire can be attained without discipline powered by determination.
She adds another “d” which is the one to avoid: distraction. There are so many distractions in this life that threaten the attainment of one’s life goals just as there are several distractions in the university for unwary students. Students should focus on their goals and keep their heads high.
The new Emir of Kano, His Eminence, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, has had his fair share of sunshine and rough weather. There are many lessons to learn from him. He had desire and he told everyone who cared to listen that his ambition was to ascend the throne of his ancestors. He didn’t end it at the level of desire, that others would call “dream”, he drove and strove towards it. He developed himself educationally such that you just have to give it to him: he is a pride to Nigeria.
Then he was determined. He was disciplined enough not to compromise his principles. He was rather dedicated to his cause which generated a substantial number of friends and enemies for him in good measure. Both the enemies and friends helped him to attain his desire!
In essence, in this University of Life, there is no completing one’s education. Good education and commitment to public good will make champions emerge from us. Nigeria keeps on offering us life lessons that we cannot afford to ignore. One of the recent lessons of life is that in every situation, you should do your best and leave the rest for God to vindicate the righteous.
Re: Olorundare’s recipe for our ailing education
Dr don’t get it wrong…Nigeria is the one that has a problem, not the teaching profession. If teachers are being honoured and compensated, then the Nigerian problem is 70% solved. Ask your students, do they want to teach? They would rather be politicians or bankers! What can come of that type of society? Loss of value and social eclipse. Abdulhameed Badmos
Good job, Sir. Just read through your piece. Christian Appolos
We pray we have listening leaders who will listen to the cry of teachers and give them their worth! Dhikrullah Basirat, Ogbomoso
Our teachers need to be motivated and respected. Teachers can’t determine the extent to which their impacts can go. Hameed Muritala Bolton
This is thoughtful of you. Teachers are unduly pauperized through the ages. May God deliver us. Bayonle Ogunronke, Ibadan