My name is Amusile. I am in my final year of a Bachelor of Pharmacy at Delta State University in Abraka, Nigeria.
Before the pandemic my school had just started the second semester, which is the last semester of the session. For some students like me, it was supposed to be the last session of my academic programme. The unforeseen and abrupt closure of school due to the outbreak of COVID-19 has left me wondering if my dreams of graduating by July will be a reality.
I resumed the second semester of the session as requested by the school authority a few days into March (no case of COVID-19 was recorded in the country at the time). Some days later, we had an orientation on the compulsory clerkship training required for our Bachelor of Pharmacy programme. It was held for just one day and the other part of the orientation was postponed until further notice because the first COVID-19 case had been recorded in the country and the school authority did not want to expose its students to the virus.
Besides the orientation, most students were already working on their projects, most involving laboratory work. We were given a deadline to roundup our work and leave the school campus to go to our homes. Staying at home is evidently the safest because it breaks the chain of transmission of COVID-19. I taught my family about effective personal hygiene, observing social distancing, and the basic facts of COVID-19.
In the quest for self-development, I took some online courses with free certificates from the YALI network. Accessing certificates from some notable schools requires payment for certificates which is totally unaffordable at the moment. As well, the cost of internet services is very expensive in my country, which makes learning and personal research difficult.
Yesterday, my school introduced an online class using the WhatsApp platform, both lecturers and students are added to the group. We have classes at designated times, students are given time to ask questions and make contributions, and study materials are shared online. The major challenge still remains that a number of my fellow students do not have smartphones to attend classes, some lack funds to purchase internet services and there is little or no Wi-Fi allowance here in Nigeria.
For most of us, learning has been difficult. We cannot access offline and online libraries. Sometimes we cannot access friends to share ideas with. We no longer have access to our study groups, and to a large extent we can’t communicate adequately with our lecturers. I was so certain of my graduation by July, but right now I have no idea how soon I’ll be back to school to fulfil my long term dream of becoming a pharmacist.
I have resorted to writing and documenting my ideas. I do hope the world beats COVID-19 sooner than we expect.