There comes a time in the life of every student where resources for survival begin to dwindle. When you begin to see through that transparent bucket that once contained rice, when you begin to account for every penny you spend. In times like this, you fear to look in the mirror because you know how emaciated you have become. This is the time some people scavenge around Oye in search of those few who still have some grain of food left to spare. You take advantage of any free food that comes your way and eat as much as you can. In times like this, pride goes out the window. There are many terms to describe this dark period but to put it in technical terms, we call it Oye-Igbeyin.
When translated to English this means “the end of Oye.” It is called this because it is a period just at the end of the semester when most students have run through their survival packages for the semester. This is a medieval period that comes once every semester and the only thought on every student’s mind is to get done and get out.
When people tell the tales of oye-igbeyin, it is always with humour but if you have gone through it first hand, there is nothing comical about it. The truth is, some have it harder than others, even going through a serious depression during these times. You have to make the decision between going to class with the only cash you have or get something to alleviate the hunger holding your bowels to ransom. Thoughts like: “Should I print my assignment with this money or buy gas?” start to come to mind. Truly, you must make tough decisions during oye-igbeyin.
As difficult as oye-igbeyin might be, there is always one thing to look forward to and that is the end of exams. This is the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel and we count the days till we reach the end of this tunnel with glee. We start asking our friends when they will finish their exams, we start comparing dates to know who will leave oye-igbeyin first and those whose tunnels are farthest from the light.
Invariably, most people make it out and live to see another oye-igbeyin. They rendezvous with family members while they restock their ammunition to fight through the next medieval period.
As others wine and dine at home, there are some people back in Oye who will never see light at the end of the tunnel. Their Oye-igbeyin is extended into the coming semester.
Only a handful are daring enough to do this. We stay and watch as others pack their bags and get on the bus to safety. We are the ones that wave as the buses zoom off, we watch in horror as Oye reverts to the state it was before the establishment of FUOYE.
There are various reasons why one would choose to remain in these dark times. Like Tochukwu Blessing, a 200L Theatre and Media Arts student, who stayed for rehearsals and performances. She noted how lonely it gets when you extend oye-igbeyin, saying she now battles with insomnia because sleeping at night is difficult. This is her first time not going home for the break, I could feel the exasperation in her voice as she spoke so much so that I was not surprised that she ended our brief conversation with: “I’m never staying again.”
For some people, extending oye-igbeyin is bittersweet. Things are hard but there is no one showing up at your door unannounced, you have time to think and process information and ideas. But, sometimes it is difficult to think while the hunger in your tummy growls like Mufasa.
Kingsley, 400L geophysics describes the extension as “mind-calming.” Kingsley had to stay back for fieldwork and project work. He enjoys the somewhat tranquil nature of Oye when students are away. He admits that survival is harder but he chooses to hold on to the advantages of extending oye-igbeyin, though the disadvantages bite him in the buttocks.
Unlike Kingsley and Blessing, there are some oye-igbeyin extenders who have no legitimate reason for the extension. They have just decided to stay and suffer for no apparent reason. Dolapo from English and Literary Studies claims he stayed for staying sake. But I think when someone decides to stay in the lion’s den it is either because you are a lion whisperer or you are wearing a metal suit that is impenetrable by the lion’s 10-centimetre-long incisors. When Dolapo told me he was staying for no reason, deep down I thought he probably had a reason he was not telling or an amount of money that can turn oye-igbeyin into oye-ibere (beginning of Oye). As the chat continued, however, he revealed he was in school for his project. He said: “Not that I can’t do it at home but I was certain I will be more serious with it in school.” Solano confessed oye was dry but feeding was entirely challenging.
As hard as we might find oye-igbeyin and its extension, some see it in a totally different light. Adeitan Precious, third-year student of Theatre and Media Arts says he does not really like going home for the break. Even though this time around he is staying back for rehearsals and performances, he would have stayed regardless.
According to him: “Oye is always dry and sweet. Few people around, there is always good network and steady power supply. So the internet keeps me busy.”
“But aren’t things hard ?” I asked.
“I’ve got side hustles that make up for the hard times but despite the hardship I enjoy it. Ever heard of the phrase suffering and smiling?” he asked, wryly.
Regardless of why we stayed, where we stayed and the things we did during our stay, the fact remains that it takes only the brave to remain in Oye after the semester ends. The hardships are hard but we believe we are harder.
So, for those that ran off when the semester ended, remember the soldiers who were left behind. As you gather your ammunition for the new semester, throw a few more in the bag. Who else will gist you about the events that occurred while you were away? Who will tell you about your landlord’s plot to increase rent, the owanbes and the likes?
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