The Ultimate Graduation Letter: Life Begins Now

While work is the fundamental means of starting and sustaining a responsible life, hard work is the aura of adult responsibility, the reason why respect and dignity follow matured persons. And since late Pa Adam commissioned the need for hard work, every man who would live has found no reason to ignore it from the core days of their youth. But then, hard work does not guarantee the possession of a big and fat account, if all other factors (honesty, due process, taxes, tithes, continual education, social responsibility, family growth, asset management, etc) are considered. However, it is certain that appropriately channelled hard work delivers prosperity and in this regard prosperity means consistent increase in the good tidings one’s life brings to their environment overtime; the positive condition of not remaining the same again. It is not when you suddenly ‘hammer’ and subsequently ‘simmer down’. It is when you do what should be done and get what should be gotten. Adults increase in human value and gain innate fulfilment when they earn a good living and are able to contribute to the betterment of other lives around them. This inward feeling is the reason why you are reading this article; the cause of my writing. When times are hard, as they sometimes are in Nigeria, ordinary work may not be enough. So, wise adults subscribe to hard work. Without work, we are unfulfilled, the society decays and the future is colourless. Even when the times are not hard, hard work further ensures that a good legacy is left behind. Our lives have begun, so friends, the hard work must begin.

In December 2010, we, the final year students of the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (2010 set) concluded our final semester examinations and graduated from varsity. Oh, we graduated officially in 2010! But unofficially, it was January 2011. And when we did, it seemed like we had just won a war- a war that had lingered painfully for years. For most, it marked the survival of a seemingly everlasting pain; a pain created by the burning of candle wicks, charging of rechargeable lamps and fuelling of kerosene lanterns to study on cold nights in the midst of hungry mosquitoes at distant lecture theatres and the compulsory choice to survive diverse institutionalised improprieties; a pain sustained by intermittent strike actions, unfound results and wide tuition fee increments. For them, it was a mixture of joyful and hellish experiences. For others, among whom I membered, it was the ignition of new fire for a different phase in the same race. On the day we had our final common (telecoms and power combined) paper, everyone looked gay and our strict lecturers seemed friendlier. They referred to us as their colleagues but the conservative part of us listened to the kind remarks unbelievably. Personally, I was just thinking about Entrepreneurship, my final paper after Electromagnetism. I should have it three hours later and knowing well that the management faculty had proven to not regard good practice of time management, I bothered myself with when the stipulated venues would be pasted- if they were ever going to be pasted. The thing is, during our time, MGS lectures were never certain. If we had them, we must have started late. Mayowa Adewumi, Segun Alawode, Gbenga Adedeji, Olaide Olawuwo and Seun Kupoluyi could perhaps bear witness to this. We were the only folks from EEE. Every other “fire fellow” had been wooed by the Civil Engineering Practices course. Nevertheless, now that all the MGSes, EEEs, MEEs, SWEPs and SIWES etc, have been exhausted, what’s next? Time has flown and in 5 years of undergraduate EEE studies, no less than 98 courses have been done with almost 234 units being fought for. But then, life has really begun.

In reminiscence of my studentship in LAUTECH, I recall that school was once the 7th best University in Nigeria after being the best state University twice and the most rapidly developing Varsity once. Ah! Maybe that was why two grown-up governors had suddenly unsolvable ownership problems over us. Well, all those ratings should matter but somehow, they did not mean much. About that time, people studying in Harvard, Caltech and Oxford had described to me what their curricula looked like. And one time, after browsing through MIT’s online courseware, I realized that to catch up with someone studying there, LAUTECH students would have to neglect many of the things they were taught in school, and/or read more impossibly. Yes, “more” is made up four alphabets but if you were to do a personal upgrade, the depth of what you would read was bulkier. Added to our many aged photocopies, you’d probably be doing a PhD study as an underGrad. It is at this point that wonderful folks like Minister, Sister Mary, Bro Laide and Ozone should be thanked for sparing time to administer the much-needed photocopies provided. Yet, that final day after EEE508, as we chorused, “Congratulations” to one another, taking pictures, laughing and saying prolonged goodbyes, I briefly recalled that indeed, it was an occasion of victory at last.

The victory had come and it was well-deserved. Our triumph was over the seasons when untimely lectures and unclear photocopies were served on our academic plates. It was over the strikes which had occurred each year we spent in school, starting from PDSP. It was over the need to understand theories at night classes when timetables were doubtful and necessary lectures ate out of our pre-examination time. It was over the occasional misfortune of having to cram ambiguous worked examples into the exam halls and being fearful when Minister distributed our results. There were times when you wrote exams with your heart in your mouth and your mind in the past, trying to remember faded and lengthy formulas. I know we have had several other victories but really, these triumphs seem most glorious. Our lives have begun. We have finished the saga of theory with inadequate practical. We have heard and read about fibre, microwave and transmission lines, now I pray that we will improve them. We have learnt how to use Smith’s chart so if we find ourselves in places where they’re used, I hope we’d apply the theory.

On a benedictory note, let’s remind ourselves that self-education is now the key to relevance. In this environment where many facets of leadership favour corruption, a Nigerian university graduate who does not value self-education will self-destruct quietly. I say quietly because his colleagues may not even know he is decaying, if his job is basically an unchanging routine work. So, beware! Guys, invest in yourself and your future. Ladies, plan more for your marriage (which should last forever) than for your wedding (which will last no more than many hours in one day of your long life). And, need I remind you that the government of our land does not have an adequate plan for us? No, they don’t and probably can’t for now. They can’t because Manslaughter, Kidnapping and Bombing are almost becoming some people’s hobbies while mismanagement at all ramifications has been added to our culture. As the bad examples among our leaders age away, these problems are the heritage they leave behind. These created problems are your challenges and my challenges. To solve them, we must know more than they knew and avoid some of the things they did. That is a Herculean task. But, may God help us all.

Our generation is the unlucky one posed with the challenges of a stunted educational system, non-functional research facilities, institutionalised corruption, extreme insecurity, decadent moral system, phoney religious parastatals (in their thousands), unbalanced utilization of natural resources and a tendency to have always have diverse misunderstandings with the woman you love. LOL! Friends, whatever path you choose, begin with honesty and have a good legacy at heart. But against the many identified and unnamed odds, I beseech you to fear God and always be someone we will all be proud of. Knowing that the times are hard and the country looks bad, I pray that tomorrow will open greater doors unto us all. Yesterday, we were Ladokites. Today, we are alumni and alumna. And tomorrow, we will be in the deep of our lives. So, I invest this moment in saying, “Best of luck! God bless you all! And God bless our country”. Kudos to my favourite lecturers: Engineers Electrode, Busta, Mummy Agunlejika, Oseni, Dr. Ojo, Dr. Adeyemo and Engineer Seye. And to my many wonderful friends, may jollification occur when next we meet. But now, go and serve the land of your fathers! Go and live the much anticipated future! Go and live your life, it has begun. Ire o!

Penned by: Ayodeji Morakinyo (Moraks), EEE graduate LAUTECH, 2010 Set.

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