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23.03.2017 Feature Article

A University Dropout's Memoir: Reminiscing My First Year As An Undergraduate Of The University Of Cape Coast (UCC)

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Written by Sir Article, Founder and CEO of Sircle Communications.

I present to you reminiscences of my first-year student life in the University of Cape Coast (UCC) throughout the 2015/2016 academic year. This memoir, actually, was intended to be a whole chapter of my future autobiography in the next 20 years. However, I realised that, in 2037 and beyond, I would have forgotten a good and even substantial portion of my real-life experiences as a Level 100 student in UCC. And this narration could serve as a credible, crucial and accurate source of information for my autobiographical success story many years to come. Well, this vivid account will not be literally verbose though it will look quite comprehensive, and yet, a bit precise. It also promises to be interesting, unusual, revealing, inspiring and amazing. Therefore, brace yourself up for all the intellectually objective details straight from the horse's mouth.

Frankly speaking, I never wished to attend university — not to talk of an odd university like UCC. Why? I desperately wanted to follow my writing passion full-time as a Senior High School (SHS) leaver without university education. But I was cajoled into attending UCC by my distant uncle especially known as Mr. Sasu, my elder sisters Amanda and Amy, and my mother Madam Aggrey. So I unwillingly agreed, because it was a wonderful opportunity for me to demonstrate my writing skills as a writer of genius in UCC.

Anyway, I was fortunate enough and even privileged to be admitted to UCC to read Bachelor of Commerce (B.Com) in Accounting, and B.Com being arguably UCC's flagship programme of study. I then followed virtually all the admission procedures such as the medical examinations in particular. And on Saturday, August 8, 2015 (the day of admission), I travelled from Bakaekyir, Sekondi to UCC campus to begin my much-anticipated university life as an undergraduate student of UCC. I journeyed with Joshua, my high school mate and a resident of a suburb of Sekondi-Takoradi, who later became my roommate.

We (Joshua and I) went to our allotted hall of residence, i.e. Valco Hall to go through the hall registration process. Sadly, it turned out to be a cumbersome, frustrating and chaotic exercise. For instance, we got there in the morning around 8:30 AM, but we were given a room in the evening at approximately 7 PM. And my roommates — not by mere chance, but as planned and expected — were Joshua, Jeff and Emma. After we packed our luggage to our room E 36 in Valco Hall, we decided to go for a stroll to other halls in order to check up on our old friends. Interestingly, we happily walked to Oguaa Hall that evening; I visited my female friend Caro, and I made probably my first new friend on UCC campus called Josephine, who was Caro's roommate. We later came back to Valco and spent the night in our small, uncomfortable and messy room.

Fast forward to the orientation week for all newly admitted students in UCC. The orientation process was simply fun-filled, and we were enlightened on life in UCC by various university officials. Initially I was shy to partake in the orientation for my faculty or the School of Business since there were hundreds of young boys and young girls gathered at an auditorium, then known as FELT 900. I must admit that I learnt a lot about the modus operandi of UCC and even a typical university. And I made a few friends during the entire orientation process, namely Kwame, "Paul Scholes" etc.

Moreover, Freshers Akwaaba Week was celebrated in each hall on UCC campus, which consisted of a variety of enthralling activities. Unfortunately, I can barely remember the actual sequence of what transpired in my hall, Valco Hall, during the weeklong celebrations.

Also, the course registration exercise was organised by the university authorities in the early weeks of the first semester. Gosh, it was so bureaucratic! Having gotten my registration number already, I was able to register for the following courses: Fundamentals of Business I (SBU 101), Foundation of Accounting I (SBU 103), Music in African Cultures (ASP 152A), Introduction to Computing (SBU 105), Communicative Skills (CMS 107), Principles of Economics I (ECO 101), and Information Literacy (ILT 101). In addition, I made more friends in the School of Business like Tina (whom I named "Madam Article") and Irene, who both became my closest female friends in the first semester of Level 100.

A couple of days later, lectures began and that was when we really experienced the hard-core life on UCC campus. I, and all my first-year mates, realised that UCC had and still has a penchant for rigid teaching and learning. It also seemed to me that this university was stuck in the Dark Ages when it comes to the methodology for teaching and learning. We had early morning lectures at 6:30 AM, and we wrote dawn quizzes between 4:30 and 5:30 AM. Most of us were so annoyed with the strange, hardened and archaic UCC system for regularly waking up at dawn to go for lectures in a modern-day university.

Besides, there was an iota of fun in this awful experience, and we sometimes laughed over it. Oh I miss the Tuesday or Wednesday 6:30 AM Economics lecture at the Old Library. Yes, I mostly woke up at dawn around 4:30 AM and prepared to attend that lecture. I usually walked with Tablet, my programme mate and floor mate in Valco Hall, around 5:30 AM from Valco to Old Site or the Old Library. I also reminisce the multiple quizzes I wrote, and the numerous lectures I attended. Well, I was not really regular at lectures and I rarely and even never learnt on my own, mainly because the academic suffering in UCC angered me and got me obsessed with my writing potential.

Surprisingly, I spent most of my time on UCC campus reading my own books and articles, writing articles, debating with colleagues, gallivanting around etc. — all in the name of generating personal fame in UCC. And it worked perfectly for me, to tell the truth. Now let me give instances to validate and spice up my immediate revelation. And they even continued in the second semester; that outlandish attitude of mine back on UCC campus in Level 100 never changed.

Alright, when my colleagues went to the Valco Hall library and reading rooms, or other places on UCC campus to study, I frequented the hall library and reading room just to write articles. For example, I once — in the second semester actually — went to a reading room in our hall to write an article though we had a quiz a day or two later. My friend, hall mate and a B.Com student, Dominic, saw me there and the following conversation ensued. "I can see you are seriously studying in preparation towards our forthcoming quiz," he asked me. I weirdly responded, "No, I only came here to write an article. I always and only come here just to write articles. And I care less about the quiz we will soon write." Then he quickly replied, "You this guy, you are so strange."

Also, most times when my colleagues were learning their lectures notes, I was learning motivational philosophy in books and articles as a writing genius. And as a matter of fact, I printed and photocopied my articles, and I pasted them on the Valco, Kwame Nkrumah and Casford Halls notice boards. Manuel in Valco Hall read my article for the first time on the Valco notice board, and he later told me, "Article, are you the one who wrote that article on the notice board?" I replied, "Yes, I am the one. Why do you ask?" He said, "Are you sure you are the one who wrote it? Because I never thought you could write such a wonderful article since you do not look like a writer of class."

It is also important to note that I was incredibly argumentative, very vibrant and so comical in Valco Hall, and especially my floor on the E Block. I had countless arguments or debates with my floor mates such as Austin, Nickita, Rahman, Grandpa, Pope, Bedsheet, Tablet, Burna, Abuja, Logi, Paa T, Sam Wale, ECF, Flippy, Faraday, Abolo, Tyla, Wages etc. We argued and debated over rap music, student and national politics, relationship, business, and life in general. Sometimes, I lectured some of them on the art of business success and explained success stories of successful entrepreneurs like Gates, Despite, Mayweather, Zuckerberg, Sarkodie, and several others. At times I lambasted the school UCC in defiance and with passion no matter what others thought of and spoke about me.

As a result of these incessant arguments and debates during the day and at night, I became known as a stubborn, exuberant and vociferous guy. I believe I was arguably the most popular and also an influential Level 100 student in Valco Hall, and my fame and influence later spread to other places on UCC campus. Thanks to campus-based WhatsApp groups, my physical networking, and even word-of-mouth hype of my personality and writings! Unfortunately, I am unable to give real examples to buttress my points, simply because they are many and vague.

However, I cannot forget the numerous times Sandra, my good friend from Sekondi who was in Valco Hall and is still a B.Com student, fed me with delicious meals. Ha-ha, other girls too fed me with meals, provisions, and even through money — they included Regina and Rupeters. Furthermore, I took part in the end of first semester examinations without any preparation, because I knew I would possibly not complete UCC but probably quit to follow my dreams. All in all the first semester experience was quite enjoyable and good for me personally.

Later on, our first semester results were released in the student portal in the early weeks of the second semester. But before the second semester began or the university reopened, I told my elder sisters and mother during the Christmas vacation that I would drop out of UCC after Level 100 to pursue a full-time writing career. Therefore, the official day I formally decided to drop out of UCC was on Sunday, January 3, 2016, though I had taken the decision several weeks earlier in my heart. To be frank, my family could not afford the university fees anymore because of financial constraints. So they advised me to go for a student's loan which I deemed illogical. That suggestion facilitated my dream of dropping out of the university one day. You know why? I wanted to save myself and my family from later financial burden through the repayment of the student's loan if I had taken it. So this reason is just a mere facilitator regarding my decision to drop out of UCC. A major reason is: my family actually put pressure on me to become an accountant since I was studying B.Com (Accounting) in UCC.

So I entered the second semester of Level 100 in UCC, knowing I had few months left to become a university dropout and a full-time writing entrepreneur. Now back to the results issue. My school father, Dreamx, told me in the first semester that my GPA when shown in my student portal in the second semester could be quite disheartening. An average first-year undergraduate student of UCC would fight you if you tried to hack into his or her student portal to check his or her GPA. It is likely to be a "dangling GPA," as it humorously referred to in UCC.

Well, I remember Level 100 students had to study compulsory 3-credit-hour liberal courses in various disciplines. The continuing students had bemoaned the fact that some of the liberal courses were highly problematic. And I got the most difficult liberal course on UCC campus in the second semester. It was Prof. Monney's Wildlife Utilization! This old, brilliant, disciplined and weird professor always left us in a state of bewilderment. In fact, his actions and inactions made us believe that UCC held and still holds rigid teaching and learning in high regard.

Additionally, I partook in the School of Business Trade Fair which was organised for all Level 100 B.Com students who were grouped and tasked with forming quasi-enterprises. So we established artificial companies in various sectors such as industry, education, finance, agriculture etc., and we displayed our goods and services on the day of the trade fair. Indeed, the trade fair was a huge success, and we all loved it to the max. Funnily enough, I was forced to wear a suit and tie officially for the first time — which was against my personal principles.

Let me also talk about my opposite-sex relationships in Level 100 on UCC campus. Although I was friends with many girls on UCC campus, I never had a girlfriend, and I think it is because I was not ready for a relationship. I mean, my life in UCC back then was all about having fun through my passion and interests. I could not have had a serious girlfriend or a stable relationship owing to the fact that I seemed awkward to campus girls on the outside. But I had a crush on a few beautiful girls like Valentina especially, and some people even thought she was my babe. Val and I were very close friends and programme mates too. We usually spent time together chatting at the Valco JCR in particular, and we were seen together at different places on several occasions. I admired and maybe fell in love with Val, because she was not only beautiful, but also adorable, interesting, meek, religious etc.

Of course, I had good relationships with a lot of guys in my first year as an undergraduate student of UCC. I remember a couple of times when Real Amoah — my good friend, hall and programme mate, and a course rep — cooked great meals for us to eat together. Austin, my floor and programme mate, and I did a number of things together, namely going for lectures, arguing, watching videos, and the like. In fact, I had a very healthy relationship with my roommates though we quarrelled a few times over trivial matters such as missing keys. Jeff and I enjoyed cooking our own meals in the room, and he was a nice guy to be with. Emma was so studious that he scarcely stayed in the room for long hours; he was mostly outside the hall on campus learning. Joshua and I had the best relationship since we planned and arrived on UCC campus together as old friends. I was also close to guys such as Elvis, Paa T, Sam Wale, among others.

Again, I experienced the much-heralded hall week celebrations in the second semester just like most Level 100 students in UCC. Casford, Kwame Nkrumah, Atlantic, Adehye and Oguaa Halls all celebrated their hall weeks the usual way. But Valco Hall, known as the entertainment hub of UCC, celebrated hers in an innovative-cum-formidable style. It stood out a mile! The then entertainment chairman and planning committee chairman, Citizen and Ebuka respectively, facilitated the organisation of our amazing hall week with all professionalism. The "All Black Party" especially was well-attended by many Industrialists — that is Valco Hall for you. And I can say a hall week at the university is a sweet experience in a lifetime.

Another tremendous experience I witnessed and significantly felt was the student electioneering on UCC campus. I never knew that student elections in a university were similar to national elections. The political campaigns were so hectic that they distracted a lot of us. A certain SRC Presidential aspirant called Democrat, distributed many items such as porridge, yoghurt etc. as part of his vote-buying strategies. However, "3y3 Necessary" or Dennis, the charismatic student leader, won the SRC Presidential election. And in Valco Hall, "The Hope," a Level 200 presidential candidate won — which was unprecedented in my hall. I was very instrumental in effecting this wonderful change in the Industrial City or Valco Hall.

One of my happiest moments in my whole student life in UCC was when student politicians at various levels begged me to endorse and support them as a famous and influential Level 100 student. Some even offered me bribes which I rejected. And Esi Dorinda together with her campaign manager, Doctor Akoto as he is called, pleaded with me to campaign for her to the extent that she made her auntie talk to me on phone to convince me. The majority of aspirants or candidates on UCC campus implored me in diverse ways to campaign for them, but I ended up helping only a few of them. I cannot forget how I made so much noise from my floor on the E Block in Valco with my mouth and cooking utensils in support of my favourite candidates.

Most importantly, I skipped several lectures and began planning my writing firm and book project, which I decided to establish and initiate after dropping out of UCC. I also continued to read wide, a lot, unusually and always to grow and develop my soul as a rare genius. I bought Donald Trump's "Think like a Champion" book at a bookshop located in front of Valco Hall, and that book increased my practical knowledge about business success, wealth creation and entrepreneurship. I read other books, both hardcopy and softcopy, during my second and final semester in UCC and they all positively influenced my thinking and actions as a university student. And concerning the few times I went for lectures, I did so as an academic duty with zero interest and just to hang around with my colleagues and also joke in class.

Finally, I wrote my end of second semester examinations and left campus the day I finished writing my last paper, never hoping to return to UCC as an undergraduate student. And I have kept my hope and promise to date to the dismay of my colleagues still in UCC, family relatives, friends, and even strangers. I have defied the odds, broken the rules and set new ones in UCC, and left an indelible mark on the hearts of many UCC students. Posterity, and especially future students of UCC, would get to know of me and the rare things I did in UCC as a student and outside as a dropout. I know I would be honoured by UCC with a honorary degree or a honorary doctorate degree one day when I have emerged as an extremely successful UCC dropout. I am making and will forever make my school, UCC, proud in Ghana and on the global stage at large. Lastly, I miss UCC, but I never regret dropping out.


Sir Article
Sir Article, © 2017

The author has 366 publications published on Modern Ghana.Column: AKBuah

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