After a long stretch of lectures, I retire from all activities in school plodding along the narrow shortcut to my lodge. I rummage the Kitchen for anything to calm my restless intestines. Phew, That lecturer fumbled the whole day talking about the 18th century literatue and the romanticism period. I couldn’t exit the Class to find something to eat. I’d probably have to choose between pleasing my famish state or standing outside for the rest of his lectures. This one isn’t one of the pliable lecturers we have in the department and so we are used to his style of teaching for a while now. Preparing for an 8:00am lecture requires a whopping strength or one might just get lost in the wilderness of trying to understand.
It’s the particular moment of the session where one reads painstakingly for the imminent examination soon to commence. Many students stampedes the faculty with stack of books tucked underneath their armpits. The class is unusually crowdy but I guess it’s the second semester and no one likes to joke with it. Many of my classmates would pray for a constellation of A’s in all the courses. I do not want to remind them that our department is wholly stingy with marks even if one writes heaven and earth. Just last week, our bespectacled phonetics lecturer came and somehow intimidated us on some sweaty questions we might likely come across. A huge number of students were hooked under the fear of her statement. I think somehow she encouraged us to bring handkerchiefs along to the exam hall.
Somedays when lectures are not swell, the class is reduced to its average number of perpetual students. And I begin to wonder how the class reduces drastically. Some students hold excuses that lecturers do not make it to class sometimes so it’s better to stay back coming for an unhold class. These ones are the ones who would pray for any form of miracle to happen on the day of exam. Most times, before a lecturer walks into the class, there are varieties of students who sits on your concentration. It’s a normalcy. Before my sit, there are these group of girls who frolic together and fade into pictures everytime in class. One says, it’s grainy and another one protest that it is good. They take my attention away all the time.
During the first Semester break, I travelled home to see my family. My Dad asked me after some days about my result. I told him my department don’t release results until after a session. He was astonished at such operation and wished me goodluck. I don’t want to tell him that my department is ranked one of the rigid departments in the Faculty. And that students weep in the river of unmerited grades. The story of a boy who graduated with first class thirty-five years ago was narrated by a final year student. I was still a freshman then.The scholar died shortly and my department has been devoid of a first class until now.
The beat of exam is playing through the campus and everyone is wearing a serious look. At night, after the day lectures, you’ll see many students seething a whole faculty, reading. And I began to develop interest in this trend. During my first year, I was a perpetual night reader. I would trek from my lodge to the faculty of Arts crossing the precinct of the school’s back gate barricading the off-campus where I reside. In the swellness of reading and trying to defeat sleep, some students collapse eventually into sleep while some force their head from their books still battling with sleep. Here, every night reader has a story to tell. Mine is a naive and funny experience.
In the naivety of my first year in school, I was completely devoid of some things especially the negative side behind night reading in school. Then, I had just misplaced two phones in a semester. Weird, right? My first experience happened when I was writing a ten page assignment on Introduction to Poetry. Unluckily, I left my phone on the table collapsing inside the pit of sleep. The second experience came somehow lucky because it was a small unbrowsable phone. I had become a vigilante other nights refusing to sleep even at its climax.
I like to think think that some lecturers are the reason some students reek of grief. Like when they mark brutally glowing under the fire of their pen. Here, there are many cases of suicide slapping our ears everyday. It’s like a festival. I like to think that what contributes to this ugly trend is as a result of an unmet grade point or the complacency of doing well in a particular course and end up failing it. This tags some students failures drinking themselves to death. In between our lives, there is a dark room empty of light. The one that drains us into a vacuum.
Emmanuel Ojeikhodion is a young Nigerian Writer who majors in poetry and sometimes Essays. He is a penultimate undergrad currently studying English and Literature at the University of Benin. He has poems published and forthcoming in Capsule Stories Mag, Pangolin Review, Déraciné Mag, Chachalaca Review, African Writer, Museum of poetry, Kalahari Review and elsewhere. Say hello to him on facebook @Emmanuel Ojeikhodion and Twitter @hermynuel.