For students in their final year of a tertiary programme, life becomes unbearable in its own way, even when there is now pandemic to survive. Now with a pandemic and their academic timetable already pushed pack months, final year students of 2021 are having to deal with peculiar circumstances generations ahead of them have not had to deal with.
There have been no blue print to follow and no one who has ever been in that position before to look up to. While trying to meet the demands of a difficult academic year characterised by assignments, Internal Assessments, making good grades to protect the GPA and conducting academic research, the students are also dealing with psychological and emotional challenges of being present in today’s ever changing world.
For the month of September, Trending at Kuulpeeps.com is attempting to document and highlight how young people are surviving the country in the various aspects of their lives and try to understand how the young people can navigate the issues they are facing.
This week, we are taking a look at how final year students are getting through their final year and semester as they look forward to what is coming next for them, which for a lot of them would be the National Service.
For this article, we interacted with final year students in various tertiary institutions who are currently writing their end of semester exam.
I have had to deal with a lot this year. Actually, since last year when the pandemic came. My dad has passed away and it’s left with only my mother and two other brothers. Thankfully, i am the last born so i get financial support from them for tuition and hostel fees. However, upkeep and food is on me. So i used to do construction work during vacation but this past couple of months have been hectic. When i got some gigs, we had to come to school. I for one was very happy with UTAG strike but now I’m back in school and I have to find ways to cope. To be honest, I can’t wait for NSS when I will at least be assured of some money every month.
Nii Gyan, Legon
I am a distance learning student so i have not really been affected much this final year and the COVID-19 pandemic, except for the time table changes. I am an administrative assistant and now I am suffering with preparing for our exam because of the UTAG strike. I applied for leave and that was when UTAG went on strike. Now, I have resumed work and the exam is here. I have to balance work and exam at the same time. It’s very difficult, meanwhile, my GPA is not that good and I need some good grades this semester to ensure that I have a second class upper.
This semester in particular has been super hectic. I contracted COVID-19 and I was working on my thesis. Thankfuly, my grades have been good. It doesn’t mean I don’t have to get good grades this semester, but I have done enough in the last three years to sure my graduating class. My headache has been my thesis. Initaially, I wanted to do quantitavie study but that meant conducting a survey. I didn’t want to use any of the digital survey platforms so I realised it would be a tall task. I changed to qualitative study of interviewing a few people over zoom. I had to do a lot to convienece my supervisor of the change of direction.
But for the changes in timetable, I think my final year has been the same as my previous years. I am a sickle cell patient so I was very worried about contracting COVID-19. We went back to campus to resume in person classes and that was very worrying for me. Maybe, if it wasn’t my final year, i might have deffered my programme. I just thought of getting through it since this will me by final semester. Thankfully, I have not had COVID-19 but it’s still a scary thought for me. I don’t know the effect it will have on my grades this semester.
My real focus has been getting through this exam. Thankfully, we have a mix of both offline and online exams. This is very good because the online exam in particular has given me a little flexibility. For me, i don’t have any particular that has been challenging to me this semester or even this year in general. Funny enough, i am more concerned about something i have no control over – where will i do my service. But i guess, we will cross that bridge when we get there.
My major challenge this year has been getting through my project work. It has not gone very well for me. I imagined it being something I could manage but it seems I may not be able to meet the deadline. I have suffered psychological breakdown and was briefly admitted at the hospital. Maybe, it is due to my relationship problems when I caught my boyfriend cheating. Either way, this year and this semester has not been the ride i thought i would have at the end of uni.
Imagine, going through the stress of final year and having a baby to care for. I have a two-year-old and she is adorable. However, it is a lot of work being a mother and a young wife. School doesn’t consider the fact that i am a mother or a wife. The demand keep piling up. Last year, i had help because my daughter was young. But at 2, everybody thinks you should be able to manage it but it is very difficult. I just can’t wait for all of it (school stuff) to me over.
My mum passed away two months ago. She was everything to me. I told her everything and she almost always had something helpful to say. Since she passed, I have lost the will to even do this university thing. However, i know she would want me to do my best to graduate. She sold at the market and I know that if she was here, my university degree would have been hers just as it would be mine. I don’t know if I am making sense.
We had a number of my mates contracting COVID-19. It was always scary and I was afraid I would contract it though I had taken the first shot of the vaccine. It terms of actually school work, i didn’t have any challenge besides the usual courses that would normally give you a hard time. You know how, every semester, there is that one or two courses that just gives you a hard time. But for me, the extraordinary thing has to do with the pandemic and my constant fear of being infected.
You have to be a pragmatic to survive in UCC. You can’t use any cover for an excuse to do a bad academic work. I want to end with a high note here and that means good grades. I have really had to work twice as hard as the previous semesters. It’s not about the pandemic, it just because it’s my final year and I want it to be good.
We are grateful to the final year students who shared their stories with us.
Follw us this month for more coverage on young people Surviving Ghana in their own way.
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