Without a work permit, it would be out of character for me to seek employment here – even consultancy. So I opted to go to school. At first, I scouted through the big universities in Ottawa – Carleton, OttawaU and St. Paul’s. Everywhere I went, the demand was the same – Ask your old schools to send us their transcripts, they would say and warn – do not send us the transcript yourself as it will not be accepted! It’s like puncturing the balloon of my expectation even before it had inflated.
Not that I had anything to hide. I went to the University of Ilorin and did not buy my certificate from Oluwole. I wasn’t an A student, never had been, but I was also not the dullest in my class. I completed my studies in English and graduated with gyara courtesy of ASUU strikes.
What I knew from experience was that it is easier for the camel to pass through the proverbial eye of the needle than to retrieve transcripts from most Nigerian universities within the time limit that was being demanded. It is even worse trying to do so from several thousand of nautical kilometres away. Nigerian universities have no websites, and you cannot buy anything with a credit or debit card except of course you have an active account at home. We are as analogue as Adam was with Eve! Sorry to say we still are.
With City University in London where I graduated in International Journalism, I know that getting my transcripts is as simple as a taking a trip to the cyberspace, paying the mandatory £10, and then waiting for a week for the transcripts to make it down by surface mail. Maybe someday, our country will be part of the world, for now, let’s keep amusing ourselves that life started from here – it has not progressed a bit since Adam was chased out of the garden.
It was just a few weeks to September when this brain wave of going back to school took over my plan of redemption. So I spoke to some friends who advised me to check out colleges as polytechnics are called here. In frustration, I asked them to choose one for me and complete the process. On enquiry, I was told I would have to sit for an entrance examination in the absence of authenticated transcripts.
Nothing makes me happy like taking exams, I never lose sleep over examinations. It is the only thing in life that comes with a sure two-way ticket – you either pass or fail. I managed to discover the Woodroffe Avenue campus of Algonquin College where I was enrolled into the Interactive Multimedia Developer programme subject to passing my entrance exam. I had wanted social worker thinking I could learn enough to return to Nigeria with an experience to share. I had acted late and the waiting list for social worker programme was about 200. On this, Canada puts priority on its own citizens. I was a bloody foreigner.
For exams, I did not have to read anything. On D-Day, I just showed up with a pencil and eraser, sat in the hall, wrote my tests and was walking away when I was told to check back where I accredited. To my amazement, the results of my papers were handed to me – pronto!. By the time I reached home, I was being asked if I was taking my space on IMD. I answered in the affirmative. Up till now, I had not even as much as checked what IMD was, or what it entailed. I have always been a little pompous when it comes to studying. I thought IMD with media in-between must be the North American way of spelling journalism backwards. How stupid and wrong I was.
…to be continued.