Saturday, August 18, 2007


One word keeps repeating itself in my head:


A Chemistry lecturer called me that yesterday afternoon, by 2:56 pm to be precise (Actually, I'm not sure about the time).


Me? What did I do to deserve that?

It is simple:

One of the projects I'm working on has a chapter called three (you see, I'm psychologically scarred by that olodo word; I'm beginning to believe it and therefore SPEAK like one). Anyway.

My chapter three has to do with experimental analysis, and unfortunately, my department's lab doesn't have all the equipment I need, so I need to use the Chemistry lab, which does.
Now I'd heard that Chemistry lectureres weren't fond of Chem. Eng students, and the man did nothing to dispel that rumour. He started by asking me what I wanted in this irritated fashion lecturers in general are so fond of. I calmly stated my purpose.

"Go and get your procedures, then I can tell you whether we can help you," he replied cooly.

Me sef. Why didn't I think of that? I thought. Well, I did just that and went back to his office. There was another lecturer in the office this time, a woman. I greeted her politely.

"Chemical ba?" The man asked, clearly annoyed.

"Yes Sir."

"So... what do you have?"

"I got the procedures and I have written down the equipment I need"

"Okay," he answered, browsing through it.

"'Graduated cylinder... with lid'" he read aloud, not understanding it. He proceeded to read it again: "Graduated cylinder... with lid. A-ah! That is a measuring cylinder now"

"Yes," the woman confirmed.

"Yes," I parroted.

"Okay, we have that. 2ml eye-dropper with 0.5 ml graduations"
I winced visibly, I think.

"A-ah!" They both wondered. "Isn't that a pipette?" the woman helped.

Okay... it's true. "I think so, Ma"

"Flat bed press... for drying fabric"

I winced again; at the time I wrote the 'for drying fabric' part , it made technical sense.

"This girl is writing these things in her own words," he grumbled.

"Or she's using an old text book," the woman said.

"No Sir, I ... got it from the internet," I said.

He proceeded. "Oven"

"For burning the dried fabric and collecting the ashes and volatile matter," I said.

"That one is a fur-"

"Furnace, " I finished, eager to save my below-red rep.

That's when he said that thing. That I seem to be an olodo.

He didn't put it that way, to be sure. He said, under his breath but loud enough for the woman (and myself, of course) to hear: "[Ngbati gbati gbati] olodo". He said it in Yoruba. I just hate it when that happens, sigh.

"Ah!" The woman said, excited for the first time. "That's how those Engineering students are. And that is what they are releasing into the society (Releasing... like a plague or virus. Ok).

She buttressed her point with the case of a guy, also in my department, who didn't know how to carry out a "simple distillation of ethanol and water!"

They both said some other things, but I was still on 'olodo' sha. When they finished he told me to write a letter, asking for permission to use their lab. I said "thank you very much" to which they replied, "You're very welcome"


I guess it pains because I know.

I know that it's not necessarily "beef" that is making the Chemistry lecturers talk so.

I know that I don't know HALF of what a Chemical Engineer at my level should know.

I know that all those times our lecturers gave us 'areas of concentration' for exams and ignored the rest of the syllabus we were only cheating ourselves.

I know that the lecturers are not the only ones at fault.

I know that I could have studied harder, to make up for the inadequate education I was receiving.

I know that I should stop here. I have two projects, two courses, and two skit scripts to work on (actually, three).