Immediately COVID19 befell us, many students were lost on what to do. We had all been staying at home and sitting on the sofa 24/7, and without thinking about something productive to engage, was a waste of the whole year. A lot of undergraduates became self-employed, choosing their business niche from their passion. They translated all these into self entrepreneurship.
For someone like me, who is a freelance writer, I was able to get into two writing workshops that I’m ever grateful to the person who found me worthy to be amongst them. It honed my skills and since then, I have been able to monetize my skills in a more lucrative way. By the end of January 2021, the University of Lagos began their online classes which I had my reservations for, from my last diary of undergraduate entry. I expressed my fear of what the outcome would be.
I didn’t know how this thing we were embarking on, was going to be. I was disappointed. It is a Nigerian institution, after all, but anyway, I did my best. Lecturers uploaded lecture notes on the LMS site and expected students to read, cram or understand it. Some that were feeling generous decided to do classes via zoom. There were a lot of limiting factors; money for data, internet connectivity etc. Sometimes, lecturers barely teach well compared to how they’d have done with physical classes. They came on zoom class, muttering, burning students data and after the whole lecture, an average student barely grasps what was thought.
A lot of students didn’t stop with their complaints, especially during tests. The website takes a longer time to load. Sometimes, when they do, they fail in between, disrupting test/quiz and allocated times. Some students don’t finish their tests before it’s submitted automatically for them. For filling in the gap questions, there were a lot of irregularities from the computer automated answers. This compelled DSA to think about other alternatives for students to resume physically during exams. So, by next month, we will all be resuming for examinations. This is for those that are in 300L – 500L. I am in 500L and I am currently in my sixth year in this school because of Covid19. And it’s also funny how many of us, undergraduates who are resuming for physical exams, barely understood what was taught and in many cases, were expected to read those materials and understand.
How have I been able to be productive during the online classes?
I am passionate about achieving my dream. I am studying Marine Sciences but more passionate about writing fiction and articles that impact people. My career path is different from my current love. It’s my career path to be a full-time writer. The covid19 impacted me positively and I won’t lie about it. It had a super effect on my writing career compared to what I had gotten from my entire period of writing before COVID19 happened.
And when we resumed, I couldn’t abandon what I have achieved in a short while for a certificate I might not need. I needed to balance this and be more productive. I drafted something I called a memory timetable. I have been using it for a while, so moving into it recently, it might not be something that works for you immediately. I have installed all my schedules, writing, reading (academic works), reading (non-academic works to enhance my creativity) into my brain. So, every day, I map out how the whole day will go and at times, I achieve everything at a stretch. But many times, I don’t achieve my daily goals but it is the way I have decided to be productive to help myself.
For your productivity, I hope you can create what works for you. The timetable will work but it can only work if you think about how this will work. Procrastination doesn’t work for me here, though, at times, I am subjected to it, but I tell myself, yes you can do this. Get to work. The time is going.
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Obinna Tony-Francis Ochem is a freelance writer, who navigates through gender, class, sexuality, climate change and shape shifting monsters. He is alumni of the Lolwe Fiction Workshop facilitated by Zukiswa Wanner and SpringNG '20 cohort writing mentorship programme. His works are published or forthcoming on Elseisy Blog, Kalahari Review, Rustintimes, LivingFreeUk, Punocracy Longlist '19 & 20, Tush Magazine essay finalist/winner, Chinụa Achebe Essay Anthology, SpringNG anthology, and The WorkBooth magazine. A finalist for Kalahari Review Igby Prize for Non-Fiction and longlisted for Second edition of Kitodiaries Prize for Literature. Also, a finalist for the '19 Quramo Writers' Prize for his manuscript, Deep Ocean, and Afire '19 Linda Ikeji Prize for Literature, for Living in the Ghetto. He is currently studying Marine Sciences at the University of Lagos and has a link to his works, https://linktr.ee/obynofranc. He tweets, @obynofranc.