THE METAPHOR OF A DRAMA TEXT © Adebesin Ibraheem. (2016)
Dear students, on this wondrous day of your lives, I felicitate with you, understanding how much you have been through in the last five years of your lives, in your struggle to become better persons, in knowledge and in character. It’s a sad reality though that a lot of students see school as a short-term prison that parents sentence their children to. So, as you are ‘released’ today from the beautiful ‘shackles’ of learning, I rejoice with you but, at the same time, wish to let you know that finishing high school is only a job partly done. As you are about to set your feet on the next rung of the scholarship ladder, I urge you to listen raptly to the word I bear to you this day.
For people like you, rounding off with high school, you have some of these options to choose from: proceed to the sixth form (at your current school or somewhere new), move to a college/university, or undergo some apprenticeship or vocational training. Whatever you choose to do immediately after high school depends on things like: where you live, what kind of grades you’re likely to get, what you’re interested in and what kind of environment you want to learn in. However, if your choice is to proceed to the university, then, listen to this.
Tertiary education is a form of education acquired in colleges and universities; the third rung of the scholarship ladder. A tertiary school, generally, is a world of large diversities, filled with their different cultures and individual interests. Apart from having wide-ranging academic programmes, tertiary school has fascinating wonders and plenty temptations, as well as a blend of happiness and sadness. Let’s picture the tertiary school journey through the metaphor of a drama text.
Every good drama text is believed to have these five elements: introduction, conflict, suspense, climax, and denouement (otherwise called 'resolution'). Like a drama text, your journey as an undergraduate will have those five elements. Your fresh arrival on campus and your first few months of trying to settle in will constitute your introduction.
Shortly after then, you will form alliances. You may also acquire some enemies, as much as you acquire friends, especially if you are very intelligent, rich, beautiful, or you possess some relative advantage over others. You may get into little or big troubles with lecturers and with male and female course mates, over many things. With course mates and hostel mates, you may clash over unrelated lifestyles, space intrusion, etc. With lecturers, you may have trouble over lecture attendance, course materials, assignments, group projects, deadlines for work submission, etc. All these constitute the conflict.
These activities will generate anxieties, worries, fears, and often, tears, which will make up the suspense. Just like suspense sustains a good drama, these troubles are needful, because they will strengthen your resolve to succeed and also prepare you for the post-school challenges, especially for the world of work. The conflict and the suspense run through, at least, students’ first two or three years of school, and in your final year, the anxieties and worries will increase. Then, the suspense reaches a level when your fears, your worries and your hopes are so raised, and you so desperately long to finish school. This is about the time you are preparing for your final year exams, and then getting ready for the viva, the oral defence of your final year project. This is the point that can be called the climax.
The worries continue until you write your last exam/paper and you finally defend your projects. At this point, you and your mates may begin to celebrate the end of a painstaking journey. That is when you can be said to have reached the denouement of your academic journey.
In all, it takes the strongest to finish well and best. However, finishing well will be largely determined by starting well. So, you are advised to never let the euphoria of your just gaining admission to distract you from starting well with very good grades. You should not start building the house with weak bricks, lest the house collapses too soon. You also need to know that the tertiary journey is always tortuous and the road will always be rough. There will be times you will love all the experience, and there will be moments you will feel like packing your bags and fleeing from school. But remember, you must not quit, because “Quitters never win”, just as “Winners never quit”.
(c) adebesin.ibraheem (2016)
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