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Opinion

COVID-19: Nigerian students may be positive for another disease

Nigerian students may have to fight another silent but deadly disease which could be more dangerous than the coronavirus when the country finally restarts. The disease, which only the compos mentis students take note of, has been one of the remote causes why many graduates are wallowing in a serious quagmire. And if we refuse to take the bull by the horn and tackle the disease now, many students, when they graduate, may sink into mediocrity.

The dictum which says the “youths are the leaders of tomorrow” has recently metamorphosed to become arguable and probable in this Nigeria as the youth have all begun to show the symptoms of this deadly disease. If all the affected students are not quarantined, the country may remain as it is for years. It is very unfortunate that only a few among the Nigerian students will test negative for this deadly disease. It is a very common disease which is not biased to any gender.

Several months ago, news fluttered around that the number one citizen of this country, President Muhammadu Buhari, in one of his visits to Europe, asserted that the Nigerian youths were lazy. Well, whether the president actually meant this statement or he was misinterpreted remains a poser for everybody; the fact which is apparent is that the youths, especially the students, of this country are suffering from a deadly disease which needs a serious attention.

The dangerous disease which many Nigerian students are battling with is time management. Time, as said by elders, is money. Time wasted cannot be gained. According to Wikipedia, time management is the process of planning and exercising conscious control of time spent on specific activities, especially to increase effectiveness, efficiency, and productivity. It involves a juggling act of various demands upon a person relating to work, social life, family, hobbies, personal interests and commitments with the finiteness of time. Cambridge dictionary also views it as “the practice of using the time that you have available in a useful and effective way, especially in your work.”

Time management does not only mean doing the right thing at the right time, but it also means doing something that can add value to you and others and also what will develop your country. However, it is quite unfortunate that most Nigerian students do not know how to manage their time.

“Time is fleeting, as such, it must be spent wisely as wasted time can never be recovered.” One of the reasons why students in the developed countries are excelling better than their peers in the developing parts of Africa, especially Nigeria, is because they manage their time effectively.

About three weeks ago, the federal government through the ministry of education instructed that all schools should be shut down. In some states, for example, unnecessary gatherings were prohibited and movement was restricted only to people who provide essential services and those with emergencies. This, unarguably, has sent many students into the solitude of their various homes.

However, while some students have been judiciously spending the latitude which the lockdown has gifted unto them through various activities like taking part in some online training cum courses, working assiduously to acquaint themselves with different skills, reading ahead of resumption, to mention few; it is very sardonic and lugubrious that immense percentage of the students have been carelessly wasting the opportunities which this time could have brought them; an outrageous percentage of the students have just been wasting their time on trivialities. One or two cases will be cited to corroborate this.

The social media (WhatsApp) in the last few weeks has been busy with the trend of Anonymous Messaging. This is a phone application designed for internet users to send messages among themselves. This application will conceal the identity of the sender. However, while the inventor of the message could have had many justifiable reasons in his mind for creating this application, the manner in which the students are using the application among themselves is appalling. For example, most students now prefer to use the application as a viable opportunity to tarnish the image of their peers by casting their negative acts.

Also, the rate at which students have been obsessed with the internet during this time is alarming. Students now seek gratification in spending most of their days on social media discussing various inconsequential issues. Most of them have even become experts in sharing audio, videos of huge size to their friends on social media under the guise of creating the image of first to know.  Only a few are aware of the fact that by using an exorbitant amount of money to buy data during this destitution period, the service providers are raking in more money at their own (students) detriment. As if this is not enough, they have also turned themselves to “e-beggars” expecting giveaways from their partners in order for them to meet the monthly (and some weekly) subscriptions. 

While I am not oblivious of the fact that homestay/isolation are unpleasant realities of our lives, having all this free time is indeed very exciting, but will eventually turn overwhelming. Students should not be oblivious of the fact that it is imperative to use this time wisely instead of just spending it on frivolities. Time is one thing that once spent, can never be earned back, and something that cannot be earned back is not spent; it is rather invested.

There are some productive time investing ideas that could come up for students stuck in lockdown:

Firstly, learn how to cook, it is a lifesaving skill. The most significant hurdle any student faces when migrating is meeting their dietary needs because the majority of us do not know how to cook. Taking this time to learn how to cook will save you some future expenditure, keep you healthy and even make you less homesick and can be a lifesaver in times like today if you are stuck without help. You do not have to learn to cook gourmet food, but you can get started on your favourite dishes.

Secondly, study ahead.  It would be very beneficial for students to get in touch with either their professors or seniors in school to acclimatize with the topics that are going to be covered or get any idea about what books to refer. Getting a start ahead on your studies will not only help you in keeping up with your curriculum but will also free up some time for you to make some new friends or do some extracurricular activities.

In addition, you should also learn a new skill. Students can take this time to learn a new set of skills which will prepare them for not only the jobs they have ahead but will also help improve your resume and wider acceptability. There are a plethora of online courses which can be easily attended even in these difficult times. Students can choose to learn to code, to SEO/Google Analytics, personal finance planning, creative writing, and so much more.

Furthermore, you will also do yourself good by picking up a hobby: It’s an excellent way to stay stress-free and also to pass one’s free time. Sometimes hobbies can prove to be a whole other skill set too. Thanks to technology today, a lot can be learned from within the comforts of our homes. Learn how to play a musical instrument, learn to write, brush up your photography skills, learn to design and edit videos/photos, or you may even learn to bake or any other hobby you can think of.

Finally, if nothing else comes to mind, pick out a book and read. If food is nourishment for the body, then knowledge is nourishment for the soul. Any kind of knowledge only benefits never hurts. A wise man invests in his time. So, make good use of this time and learn something.

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