The Student

CHAPTER ONEThe lecturer walked out of the classroom after the lecture had ended. And the classroom became noisy. I tapped Seyi. “Let us go,” I said.We walked out of the classroom. The environment was cool and gave off cold air that sent goosebumps all over my body. I glanced on the hair that grew on Seyi’s skin and, then at two girls standing close to the wall. The breeze was moving their gown sideways and they were chattering. They were squinting at the glare of the piercing sun in their eyes. I looked around searching for Seyi until I saw him. I moved closer to him and touched him. He glanced at me.“Let’s go to CILPU office for our SIWES — Student Industrial Work Experience Scheme — letter,” I said.Seyi nodded. We walked together, strolling through the indomie bridge. A little bridge constructed across the mangrove swamp for an easy passage. It was constructed by the indomie company with their stickers plastered around it. We walked by, hearing the low squealing of little creatures underneath the bridge, living in the swamp. The noises were croaky and not ear-pleasing. There were moving vehicles and students walking up and down the roads.We stopped at the CILPU — Central Industrial Liason And Placement Unit — office. It was an underground building. The library and its extension were built on top. We walked down the little steep steps and Seyi opened the glass door and walked in. The building was constructed with ancient blocks. A woman was sitting on a chair at the far end skimming through a book, while a man was sitting on the chair beside the doorway. His head bent low like he was sleeping. I looked around them and glanced at Seyi, then we exchanged glances.“Good morning, Sir and Ma.”The woman raised her head and continued skimming through the book on her table ignoring us. She kept flipping to other pages. Her hand strolling on the book. The man raised his head and adjusted his falling spectacle. He glanced at us and wriggled his nose.“We came to get our Internship letter,” I said and pointed at Seyi.Seyi nodded. The man bent down, lowering his head and took out a book in between the pile of other books. He placed the book on his table and opened it. He brought out some letters and began to count them. “You can write your names on that A4 paper,” he said, pointing towards us.He wet his finger with his saliva and counted out ten different letters and arranged them in two sections, beside each other. He handed them to us. “You can check the notice board for the procedures on how to fill the form. It’s one hundred and fifty Naira.”We paid the man and walked to the notice board. When we finished, Seyi walked back to the faculty because he wanted to sort out something. I walked to my hostel. I stayed in Eni Njoku hostel — a male hostel located at the heart of the campus. I stopped at the hostel entrance and the hall porter stopped me. “Are you a bonafide? Where is your ID card?” he asked.I saw his eyes flickering at me. He looked like he was trying to find out whether I was a squatter, so he could blackmail me into giving him money. I brought out my hall pass and flickered it to his face. He gave out a wan smile and dismissed me. I arrived at the room’s door and stopped. It was locked and I brought out my key. I opened the door and walked in. I jumped to my bed and laid down tiredly. I dropped my tote bag by the side and the internship letter at the other end of the bed. I began to fight with sleep while blinking intermittently. The door was still open. If I sleep off and the door opens, someone might enter to steal my phone or the belongings in the room. I glanced at the door as it slowly creaked open. It was Chinonso.He walked in. “Hey, guy. You don come back?”I craned my neck and glanced at him.“Oh. Wetin be that wey dey your bed?” Chinonso asked, pointing forward.“My SIWES letter.”“What does that mean?”“Internship letter.”His facial expression changed while looking confused staring at me. I snared. “You won’t understand. You are just in 200L.”He hissed and lowered his head, then walked to the other side. He glanced under the bed and brought out a dirty pot. He stood up and cleaned off his dirty knees, and walked to a locker where he brought a sponge and detergent. He walked out of the room to wash the pot. I laid up and picked up the letters. I was still lost on where to get a placement for my internship. I knew about a few fish farms because I was a 400L student studying Marine Sciences, Fisheries major.In between my worries, there was a blackout and the hostel became noisy. Students were screaming at the top of their lungs.“Porter give us light! Porter!! Porter!!!”The door slowly creaked open amidst the darkness and I squinted to see clearer. The light came on quickly. It was Ahmed. Ahmed was one of my roommates. I stayed in a four man’s room apartment but we were more than eight in the room. All my roommates squatted more than a person. I was only one that squatted one; Chinonso. Ahmed walked in. He was light-skinned and skinny. “What’s that?” he said staring at me.“My internship letter.”“Oh, I’ll get mine soon,” he said and jumped to the upper bunk.I glanced at the letter on his bed again and wondered how a workplace as an undergraduate trying to learn more about his course of study would be. I bit my lips, wondering about some etiquettes in the workplace. Chinonso walked in. “What should we cook? Rice or spaghetti?”

“Anything you want to,” I replied.
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