Although I came into the University of Port Harcourt (Uniport) with the hope and determination to excel, graduating with a First Class was a miracle. I had heard stories about major stress in Uniport, with lecturers, queues and all that. I only chose the school because my father insisted I had to with reasons he never told me.
The day I came to uniport for Post-UTME, I had a terrible experience. The exams was scheduled to be written at Basic Unit by 11am but after waiting till 7pm, my department was finally called in. We were asked to leave our bags with the security with assurance that they were safe. With so much tiredness from the journey and hours of standing, I rushed through the exams. Coming out of the hall, my bag was gone. Yes, just vanished. Everything I had come with was all in the bag. After much difficulty, I managed to survive the night. When I finally made it home the next day, my parents encouraged me that ‘most times before a major breakthrough, there could be a major setback’.
When I got admission, I became a bit tensed because I had to take what I was offered instead of what I actually wanted. I wasn’t sure what I wanted but I was certain that I didn’t want Uniport. The more I thought about it, the more I became scared but I was reminded of Exodus 33:14, “… I will personally go with you, Moses. I will give you rest – everything will be fine with you.” (New Living Translation). I replaced Moses with my name every time I came across that verse.
I was foggy during my first and second years in school. I didn’t know how to balance every activities I was interested in. So when I wanted to study, I was so tired the only thing I could think of was my bed. My result were not satisfactory to me maybe someone out there would’ve been fascinated with those results, but I wasn’t. By third year, I decided to do something I was doing before. In addition to studying my books, I began to find ways to enjoy lecturers I initially couldn’t put up with. Reading my books bored me at times so I made sure I attended every class, took personal notes (not just what the lecturers said but also my own understanding and concept) which I would study before the next class so I would not be clueless when asked a question.
Final year, my toughest year, came with its own challenges. My supervisor (who everyone knew cared less about students) chose me by himself. He never had time to go through my work. Every time I would ask him to read my work, he would tell me he trusted me with whatever I was doing and by God’s grace, I made an A.
To me, I was going to graduate with Second Class Upper but when I went through my final spreadsheet, I was surprised at what I saw. It was First Class (4.52) and that was when I remembered that in my year 2, I had not checked my second semester result by myself. I couldn’t thank God enough.
Through my years in school, NIFES was a great help to my prayer and social life. I found great friends, the kind in Proverbs 17:17. I thank God for my family who supported, encouraged and prayed for me incessantly. God’s grace and favour carried me through and His presence was my cover.
As children of the Most High, we should not settle for less because we are worth so much more. We have been redeemed, living with Christ in high places and as He is, so are we here on earth. I may not know what God has in store for me but I am reminded that in His word that He “..will go before me and level mountains..” Isaiah 45:2 (New Living Translation)
Irie Deborah Lou (First Class graduate, Department of Foreign Languages & Literature 2011-2015)