Despite the increased rate of unemployment in the country and also the deplorable state of our educational system, thousands of youths still throng to JAMB centers to write the one examination that would qualify them to be admitted into any tertiary institution in the country, even though their admission is not guaranteed.
After my third attempt sitting for the University Matriculation Examination also known as JAMB, I was finally offered admission into a prestigious University in Nigeria, fondly called the “university of first choice” by its students. The entire story of the eventual success I save for another day.
I, like countless other Nigerian youths, have been feeding JAMB and it’s officials yearly despite several pleas for the Board to extend the validity of the examination results beyond one year, of which they have stubbornly remained unobliging. Hence the normalcy of a particular student appearing for the same exam each year and even sometimes getting posted to the same center.
Some get fortunate and are able to secure an admission on their first attempt at the exam, while most get unlucky as securing admission is not entirely based on the exam and they fall back to sitting for the exam the following year. However, few of us use the moments between failing at an attempt and preparing for the next, to pursue other things like attending vocational schools, going for diploma program, learning a trade, getting married, among other things.
I fall in the category of the few and I was able to pursue other things which included all stated above and I can say it has indeed prepared me for life in the university. What I can’t say however is whether it has prepared me for life as a student-mother because, while re-attempting the UTME and hoping for admission, I’d got married and with two kids already. Knowing as I do that my most favourable years are fast running by.
Women are quite famous for their ability to multi-task, even though life as a mother and also a student goes beyond multi-tasking as it involves quite a lot more. This I know because of my experience as one (student-mother) while running my national diploma program in an Institute of Journalism.
Although, my little one was already a year old by the time we resumed school fully. It still appeared a herculean task managing having to attend classes and at the same time being there for my baby who at that time was still breastfeeding. I however was fortunate in a way as I had my mother to take care of her. I started by timing her breastfeedings and would rush home as soon as I could. In no time we both got used to it and I weaned her afterwards.
Now, I’m faced with even a more daunting and challenging one as my baby is barely 3months and I’ve just been offered admission to study my dream course. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking or should I say worrying? I’ve also been having bouts of mixed feelings, with guilt championing them. Guilt at thinking of leaving a baby still that little.
However, I know I’m not the only one out there with this experience, there are other student-mothers just like me and some unlike me, that is why I’m hoping to meet with some of them so they can also share their stories with me.