Why it took me 11 years to earn first degree

Why it took me 11 years to earn first degree

Monday, May 6, 2024 5:56 pm

Folorunso Fatai Adisa

Folorunso Fatai Adisa

Folorunso Fatai Adisa

The lyrics of “The Boxer” by Simon & Garfunkel, particularly the lines that state:

“In the clearing stands a boxer
And a fighter by his trade
And he carries the reminders
Of every glove that laid him down
Or cut him till he cried out
In his anger and his shame
“I am leaving, I am leaving”
But the fighter still remains”resonate with me, reminding me that fighters must confront their inner despairs. Inspired by this, I have decided to share some stories of the metaphorical “gloves” that have knocked me down on my journey to Glasgow.

On the day I penned my last paper for my undergraduate level at the University of Ilorin, Nigeria, as I walked out of the examination hall, I stood there at the entrance of the biggest hall at the Faculty of Arts where I sat the exam. I tilted my head downward and reflected on the journey so far. While it took some people four years, it took me eleven years. Tears coursed down my face. Of course, I was the president of the over 5,000 students of the faculty at that time and had a good relationship with staff and students. Consequently, the non-teaching members of staff at the entrance of the hall rushed to me, and I could still hear Mr. Musa persuasively and affectionately inquiring, “Mr. President, Kilosele?”

Let me quickly digress here to briefly explain my eleven years of academic peripatetics.

I wrote the Polytechnic Matriculation Examination (PCE) the same year I wrote my WAEC/SSCE. I cleared my WAEC results and scored 190/300 in PCE, which is equivalent to 280/400 in UME. I was ready for the Laspotech screening. All got done, but nothing came out of it. At the end of that year, I left for a private poly, The Polytechnic Ile Ife.

While at the Polytechnic Ile-Ife, I wrote UTME again, scoring 245 and scored 70% in UNILAG PUTME. I had chosen to study English Language, and my scores gave me the confidence that I was going to secure admission. I left the poly for Lagos in preparation.

Expectedly, cut-off marks got released, and it was 50.5 or thereabout. I was happy. I was ahead of it. I congratulated myself. Alas! Lists got released, and I wasn’t offered admission.

Confidently, I went to the admission office, and I narrated my story to the admissions officer (A woman). She lauded my grades and examined what could have happened, “oh! Sorry,” she intoned. You did the wrong subjects combinations in your UTME. You could have done Eng, Govt, Lit, Irk/Crk or Yor/Igbo or Hausa ( I had done Economics). I felt bad. She told me I could be given psychology. I didn’t want it. I went to my friend, Tolulope Oguntade’s hostel, Eni- Njoku( New Hall), I drank garri and fish, afterwards, I drifted into a deep sleep. When I woke up in the evening, I left for home.

The following year, I sat UTME again, yes, I thought I had demolished the examination and I was awaiting a mind-blowing result; only for me to get home and entered into a discourse with my cousin who had sat the exam as well. He asked me the types I did, and it dawned on me that I had wrongly done the exams. I didn’t know it had types. I had rushed to answer all. I didn’t tremble or show any sign that something had gone wrong.

Results came out, and I had 196/400. It was disheartening. I couldn’t sit UNILAG PUTME that year. I had to go to the polytechnic I had chosen (Moshood Abiola Polytechnic).

In my first year in MAPOLY, I did UTME again, unfortunately, the result wasn’t released. The following year, which marked my final year for the OND programme, I did another UTME, I scored 246. I had chosen to study English in OAU; the day I was sitting my penultimate paper at the poly was a day before my OAU PUTME, I completed my exams in the evening, and I left for OAU. It was a terrible traveling experience that Friday night.

Above all, I sat the exam the next morning, it was on a Saturday. The result was out on Sunday morning. I scored 248. Alas! To study English, I needed to score 249. I left on that Sunday at noon as I was to write my final paper on Monday. I didn’t allow that to weigh me down. I wrote my last paper at the poly, Investigative Journalism— a course taught and co-taught by Dr Sina Julius Aina and Dr Akinrosoye Idowu respectively, and I had an A in it.

Again, I wrote another UTME during my IT year, the result couldn’t be found. I did not give up, I wrote another in 2014, when I should have completed my masters. I had 256 and scored 70%. I chose UNILORIN/ENGLISH. Sadly, I wasn’t admitted. The reason? I don’t know. I was deeply sad. I can remember a friend who was already in his final year at OAU wept on my behalf, and I told him he shouldn’t worry, In the end, I would win.

Then, I decided to give the last shot. I wrote another UTME in 2015, I scored 272, I sat for UNILORIN’s PUTME, and I scored 86%. I bought Lagos State University (LASU) post-UTME form, and I sat the exam where I scored 79/100 too. Interestingly, I got admitted into my chosen department, and that marked the end of the tortuous admission-seeking journey.

With that, I found truism in the expression that goes, “winners never quit, quitters never win.” A loss doesn’t signal the end; it only explains another reason one has got to do better.

Oh! Sorry, I digressed, let’s quickly return to the day I wrote my final paper jare. I had an admixture of sad and happy feelings. The happiness triumphed, and I triumphantly thanked the almighty Allah. That marked the end of that phase.

Final Year.

UNILORIN: Bachelor of Arts, Department of English.

Second Class Honours (Upper Division).

2024: Master of Letters, Department of Media and Communication (Merit). University of Strathclyde. Glasgow, United Kingdom.

Truly, Achebe was right when he said, “those whose kernels were cracked by benevolent spirit should not forget to be humble” because those who aren’t getting their footings right yet will still have their firm grip sooner or later— as long as they don’t give up. After all, WE CAN’T BE UNLUCKY EVERY DAY.



Join The Conversation

What do you think?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.