Tuesday, January 15, 2008


For lack of concrete ideas for my Personal Saviour series, I regret to announce that I’ll be blogging about the benefits of cramming (reading and memorizing without understanding a thing) instead. (When one of my friends confided that she never shared her ideas with anyone until they were successful, and about how she ate up a piece of paper containing a plan immediately her sister read it, I thought out loud: “A-ah! That’s strange animal behaviour!” Well I wish I kept my mouth (or my fingers, in this case) to myself about this Personal Saviour series. I feel like all talk and no action).
Yes. I wish I exhibited strange animal behaviour rather than
animal behaviour. Ah well.

I fell sick a few days to my final exams. Malaria.
Naturally, I felt horrible because I felt weak and nauseous all of the time, and I considered all the precious time ticking away - I also had two projects to finish (actually the second one, a group design project, was contracted out-shame on us- but I still needed to understand it). And then there was one more test: Process Control.

The course was a prayer point for most of us, and here I was, the day before the test, lying on my bed and doing my best to sob quietly as my classmates were doing TDB (Till Day Break). The last time I felt so hopeless was in my SSI, before a Biology exam. I had passed the exam with flying colours, but would the miracle repeat itself? With Control?? There were new topics the lecturer covered, of which I was clueless. And it was Control. The test was to be in objective (OMR) format, and I liked OMR… but it was Control.

I hadn’t started taking any medication because I wanted to read, and felt that the drugs would hinder my brain from understanding the difference between a set-point change and a… erm… load change? I can’t remember. (I think this is a good time to mention that I crammed a little, so it’s in order that I cannot recall something I read barely two months ago, shebi?)

I struggled, and in the end, I didn’t read much for this dreaded 4 unit course. Test day came, and my friends and I slowly walked to the hall under the hot sun. The lecturer, a venerable Prof., was late, which was all the better for us. As people whipped out past questions, an exhausted me put my heavy head on the table and slept off. Some ten minutes before the man arrived. My friend woke me to look at the previous year’s past OMR question paper. As we looked through it, another girl joined us. And another.

“How do you solve this one?”
I managed to explain it, since it was a topic I was familiar with. This gave me a surge of confidence…
…till she asked about the next one.

“Ah, why are you guys stressing yourself?!” the first girl complained. The answer is B.
My mental mouth fell open. You mean people were cramming the options too? How unwise.
As if to confirm my thoughts, she proceeded, pointing:

“This one is A. This one is A also. This one is C…”
I stole a glance at the others. They were stunned too. Then we all laughed, and guess what happened next:
My friend said she knew the next question’s answer, but not necessarily the alphabet. Hmmm…
I now thought, “lemme give it a try too. They might change the option/type, but if I cram the answers…” and so we changed tactics. We devoted our remaining time to cramming the answers, period. Let the worst not happen.

He repeated the questions.
He didn’t even bother changing the option/type. Even the errors in the previous question papers were there. I believe my friend saved my academic life. There was no chance I could have solved all those questions in the time given. Cramming saved me. And I know… it’s not a thing to be proud of, but I’m glad I crammed nonetheless! This is the state of education in Nigeria, and FUT Minna is truly Nigerian in this respect. (Most of us operate this way:

Input = Output. (NO ACCUMULATION)).