BY Junaid Ameerah, Ukey Elizabeth, and Christopher Blessing.
Taking a walk on the campus of the prestigious University of Lagos, you would discover that the atmosphere once filled with the buzzing students and staff as they went about their daily activities is missing.
Not because of a strike- thank God- or because of any other unseemly situation, but rather because the school is on its long break following the end of the 2022/2023 academic session.
That being said, the campus is not entirely desolate. A handful of people who are most likely postgraduate students, non-academic staff, and freshers can be seen going about their business. However, one can notice that it differs from the hustle and bustle, the liveliness and the thrum of energy that characterizes a semester in session.
The University officially embarked on a 3-month-long break following the end of the second-semester final exams in the first week of June, second week for some others as the case may be.
Students, eager to spend the next 3 months free from studying, assignments and exams, promptly gathered their belongings from the various halls of residence and made their way home. After all, the popular saying goes: “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. Or in this case; “all study and no break makes students tired and burnt out”.
This brings us to the question: Do students really view the break as a resting/playing period? If yes, how do they rest? And if not, what then entails their 3-month ‘break’ period?
Speaking to a cross-section of UNILAG students across departments and faculties at different levels and sampling their responses, the general verdict is that most students are either working or interning, while only a few are just relaxing.
As seen from the chart, a whopping 43.5% are working while only 21.7% are purely resting. In between those, the other 35% of students are either learning a skill, doing their ITs or both.
There were some responses so peculiar one can’t help but notice them. One such was from a 200lvl student of psychology- who wishes to remain anonymous. She said she is working as an attendant/cashier at a local supermarket and gave her reason.
“Initially, I didn’t see the need to work. I was ready to spend the whole 3 months sleeping, eating and watching movies because, after all, I deserved it considering the hectic semester we just concluded. But when I spoke to my friends, everyone was working or learning something and it made me look like a lazy person. I felt like if I didn’t find some work to do, especially with the hike in school fees, people would judge me.”
When questioned further she added: “Earning money is good, don’t get me wrong. But the work isn’t related to what I’m studying and is sometimes boring. In fact, I’d rather be binge-watching series, but since everyone else is working and it seems like that’s what I should be doing, I had to find work too”.
This response shows the misconception most students have regarding the break. Most are of the view that resting and having fun is a sign of laziness and therefore the break should be used for “productive” activities; that is anything other than actual rest.
The holiday is indeed an exciting time for students as it brings a much-needed break from the daily grind of school and academic life. While it’s essential to unwind and recharge, it’s equally crucial to keep learning and growing during this time.
Students are privileged to have access to the internet which gives them the opportunity to explore educational resources by utilizing various online courses and workshops available. These resources covers various subject and skills ranging from taking free courses on Coursera to learning a new language on Duolingo, allowing them to delve into their interest while expanding their knowledge and ensuring productivity; without the need to leave the house.
From the chart above, 60% of the students complained that the holiday is too long and boring and they were no way to fill the days. But there are amazing leisure activities that can be done during the break.
Some of these are and are not limited to:
* improving your culinary skills,
*taking up painting,
*going on picnics with friends,
*going to the movies,
*browsing through a museum/gallery,
*taking up yoga or other exercises,
*visiting tourist attractions,
*even going on a proper vacation to the Maldives or Badagry resort- depending on your budget.
On the side also is learning handwork or trade such as marketing, graphic design, fashion design, hairdressing, photography, event planning and lots more. There’s a sea of options for you to choose from.
Overall, the break was mostly rated a 3 out of 5 by a 56.5% majority while only 8.7% were of the opinion that it was a complete 5/5. All these being said, let us not be hasty to tag holidays as hustling days but also take on things that would bring about personal development whilst having fun at it.
On a parting note, here’s to wishing everyone enjoys their break however they choose to spend it, and that come October, we’ll resume bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready to take on the new academic session.