This Cannot Be the Life I Chose, I Wish I Have a Trust Fund: Students' Spotlight
In this week’s episode of Pay4Me Students' Spotlight, we have a special guest who wishes to have a trust fund to save her from studying and working as a Nigerian student. If there were a thing she could change, it would be scrapping the present educational system. Let’s meet Stephanie Erovwosere.
School: University of Lagos
Course: Mass communication
Was Mass Communication your dream course?
I applied for the course. It has been my dream since I could read. I learned how to read properly by reading the newspaper out loud to my father while he worked. I went from being his reader to making a setup to cast the news to him. I loved it and wanted to do that when I grew up.
How do you cope with financial challenges as a student?
I work and study as a Nigerian student.
Interesting, how do you balance your study-work life?
Balancing work with my studies is one hectic affair. Having to chase a degree and the bag simultaneously is a challenging feat, and as a student, there's a limit to the kind of jobs you can do as you have to consider your education so your GPA stays up. You never hack it; you just strive to survive. I'm still waiting for my parents to wake me up someday to tell me they have a trust fund waiting for me somewhere because this cannot be the life I chose.
How do you spend your leisure in school?
The workload is heavy, but I prioritize self-care a lot. They tag Gen Z as "lazy," but I say it's a mentality of not doing more than you can handle. I try my best to party and hang out with friends. My career also involves attending social events, so I tell myself it's part of my work training, making me feel better and less guilty. When I'm overwhelmed with work and on the verge of losing it, I go to studios to dance.
It's my stress relief activity and last resort to getting back on track. As much as I love to be outside, I prioritize my education and am intentional about it, so I make a schedule. I'm the type of student who studies from when the semester begins, so I spread out my reading plan and see how I can "reward myself" for a job well done by attending parties or concerts to see my favorite artists.
What are the challenges Nigerian students face?
Female students have to deal with advances from male lecturers, and it's pretty upsetting. I'm just a girl. I want to go to school, get my degree, and chase my career. I don't like how we are at the mercy of these men, and they can decide to make or mar you and affect every single thing you've fought hard for.
Also, most Nigerian students are on a self-teaching spree. We just go to classes for attendance's sake. Many classes are not conducive, and nothing is learned at the end of the day. The students have to go back to teach themselves the course to understand. The grading style is a story for another day. But I just feel it's unfair that lecturers will be unhappy to see many students pass their course and decide to give a "generic grade."
What would you want to change about the Nigerian educational system?
The entire system! Everything should be scrapped and built up from scratch. Lecturers are happy to see your downfall. The system is working against the students. They brag about students failing their courses, and it is unfair. There are moments when lecturers don't show up to classes.
I wrote an exam without knowing what my lecturer looked like last semester. The lackadaisical attitude is heartbreaking. Let's not talk about the regular strikes that occur as a setback and the archaic syllabus. It's 2023, the world is evolving, I don't know why a '90s graduate of my course can relate to what I'm being taught because they were taught the same thing in their time.
Are you thinking of studying abroad for your master's?
Yes, I am.
Do you have a dream country for your study abroad?
Canada is my dream country. There's this Instagram influencer who is currently a graduate of my course from a school in Canada. Her name is Stephanie Moka. She is living my dream life, not just bearing my name but excelling at my career of choice.
Watching her get access to so many resources and opportunities and seeing how intentional they are in training her makes me wish I was in her shoes. I want to experience that and more. I still have a long way to go; schooling there will be a great catalyst and push me up the ladder.
What makes it easier for Nigerians to excel abroad as students?
The mentality we have. We were already raised with an iron hand, so the things seen as "extreme" over there are just surface-level for us. We're always in survival mode as we have a thick skin.
Have you ever considered dropping out of school?
The thought has never crossed my mind, even with the unending strikes. I didn't come all the way to give up without finishing. My parents have invested so much. I dare not give up.
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