I can’t vividly recall how it all started, but one fateful day, my roommates and I woke up to the news of an ASUU strike. That day we were supposed to have a test, so we proceeded to the Faculty and well, there was no Lecturer in sight. Caught between the feeling of joy and sadness, Joy that the test wasn’t going to hold (no matter how much we read, we never loved writing tests) and sadness at the fact that we’d still have to write this test at a later date, actually at an unknown date in the future. Little did we know that the strike would last for as long as six Months.
We eventually left the Faculty and returned to the Hostel where we decided to tune into radio stations for a firsthand update on the strike. Listening to Unilag FM and other Radio stations, it didn’t take long for us to confirm that indeed the Strike was no joke.
The second day, we woke up to the full reality of being on strike, I mean no lectures and tests. This simply meant that our year of graduation was no longer certain. The school was on standstill and it didn’t take long before blog sites became our best friends. We were earnestly searching for the slightest news about the Government being in talks with ASUU towards a peaceful resolution, we got none. The second day was awkward, we had to loiter around, gist, argue politics and reiterate how we were tired of the whole polity called Nigeria.
By the beginning of the third day we began to realize that this may just be a really long strike, I mean the federal Government and ASUU were still trading words, they’ve not even come to a round table yet. By Noon of the third day, everyone started receiving phone calls from their parents, while some of us were able to convince our parents that the strike would be a short one and would even afford us ample time to read, other parents had no patience for such crappy excuses, One Dad even blurted out “My Friend, there are no more lectures, I want to see you at home before 9 pm today”. So by the fourth day, some people had already left the school Hostel for home, while some of us refused to budge. It wasn’t long before My Dad called to ask why I wasn’t home yet, I can’t even remember the excuse I gave Him, but he seemed to buy it, so he let me be.
After the first week, we had dwindled to just a handful of students in the hostel. The only people I can remember are Seun, Monday, Dami and Edwards. We spent the second week playing FIFA, PES, and every Video game you can possibly think of. Whenever we got tired of playing games, we’d step out to play football, then take a stroll around the School.
By the Fourth week, Edward found a Job with some IT Firm somewhere on the Island while Monday was spending the bulk of each day in the Library. The only unserious elements remaining were I, Seun and Dami. I don’t know where Seun saw Money with which he bought an IPad and that’s how he introduced us to the world of downloading Music Albums, Live streaming of movies and anything else the free hostel WiFi would oblige to download. Back then, Unilag used to have uninterrupted power supply, so power wasn’t even a problem. Most days we’d wake up, play games, watch movies, cook, play football, stroll, come back, watch some more movies, argue about everything that you can imagine of, play games into the early hours of the morning, sleep around 3 am, then wake by 10 am.
After one month of whiling away time, we eventually got bored of the daily routine, so we introduced outdoor events, every afternoon, we’d bathe, eat and head out to the movies. During this period we successfully toured almost all the Cinemas in Lagos. With our student ID, movies were not that expensive even as they provided us an escape from the confines of the now ghostly Unilag environment.
By the third month of the strike, Seun was absolutely tired of doing nothing with his life, so he enrolled to learn phone and computer repairs at Computer Village, Ikeja. I started feeling left out, everyone was doing something useful with their lives, I was just playing games, watching movies and what have you. Eventually, I whipped up a rationale to back up my idleness.
After graduation, the only thing I’d have to do is work, work, work, work, and work. I decided that I was going to rest throughout the strike, for all I care, I may never get another straight set of months to rest in my entire life again. Once I could sleep and convince myself that this rationale made sense, I started enjoying my lazy lifestyle, until someone whispered wisdom into the ears of my Dean and She decided to help me make judicious use of my time.
Faculty of Education students in tertiary institutions are usually required to embark on a three months internship in secondary schools during the long vacation period between 300L and final year. My Faculty decided we could as well just embark on that task while waiting for the strike to end. This was how they cut short my ASUU-induced vacation.
From then onwards, every morning, I had to get ready and head off to teach in one of those high-end schools where Teachers were used to being disrespected by spoilt kids. This experience is entirely a story for another day. Eventually, ASUU strike was called off before the internship period elapsed.
So for those whose hearts ASUU strike has broken again, you have just two choices, the first being to find something useful to do, while the other option is lazing around like I did. The choice is yours. For those who would love to know if I regret spending my ASUU strike/holiday the way I did, my answer is No. These days, I get about 4-5 hours’ worth of sleep daily, so there’s no way I can regret resting during that 6 months. Also for those who are curious to know if my Friends who got jobs/learned crafts back then are doing better than me now, well Yes, they are! Seun eventually travelled to the US, last time I checked, He’s an Officer in the US Army, Edward is currently working with a Multinational Consulting Firm here in Lagos, while Monday got retained as a Graduate assistant in UNILAG. How about me? O boy, I don’t even know if I’m successful or not, I just know that I’m not broke, I work as an advertising practitioner and I make people laugh on Twitter. If it sounds like I’m successful to you, please tell me in the comment section. If you also choose to poke fun at me, I promise not to cry a river. As for me, that 6 months is gone for good. If you happen to be an undergraduate passing through that same ASUU-Strike phase, you can either choose to ‘rest’, work or acquire a skill during this period? It’s absolutely your choice to make