As I stepped out of the Great Hall of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, with my oversized academic gown and tasselled cap, I asked myself how the four years I spent over there benefitted me. Some self assessment helped me come out with few timeless and priceless lessons I picked from the University.
- LEARN, UNLEARN AND RELEARN. I remember vividly that very inspiring face and voice of Prof Ibok Oduro telling us that the word ‘University’ comes from the word ‘universal’. She therefore admonished us to learn about everything. Pressing that advice against my chest so tightly, I began the adventure of seeking universal knowledge. I learnt that to learn new things demands that you discard old things most of the time. Coming from a very conservative background, that was quite a task, but the benefits were immense. However, I got to know that to be the great person that I want to be, I have to learn knew things that will push me up that ladder of greatness; Unlearn old things that will impede my progress and relearn old things that can propel me into greatness. That useless thing you learnt today might save a multitude tomorrow. When I spent time reading about breast cancer and cervical cancer, little did I know that an article I produced on that will end up saving a friend’s mother from death. LEARN, UNLEARN AND RELEARN.
- PICK THE GOOD OUT OF EVERY SITUATION. I was privileged to have resided in one of Ghana’s famous University hall of residence, KATANGA. This was a hall which has been demonized and sentenced to eternal notoriety. In my three years stay in the hall, I saw some of the worst behaviours any human being can put up, but I came out with some of the best virtues any human being can carry. People saw a notorious group of people who are ready to cause mayhem whenever they get any tiny opportunity. I saw a people with an extraordinary level of determination to get things done. People perceived Katangees as a strange breed of men who are very difficult to understand. I saw Katangees as a wonderful family who just wanted to defy the status quo. Some people lived in that hall for just a year and came out worse off. I lived three years in that hall and came out a refined gentleman and a more determined person in life. The best gift mother KATANGA gave me is the motto of the hall: REST NOT. The simple but very powerful motto is the best and most sparkling thing I saw and picked out of the dark publicity the University Hall has suffered. University education taught me to pick the good out of everything and discard the bad.
- BE A CITIZEN OF THE WORLD. Before I entered the university, I met people who behaved as if members of their ethnic groups were the gate-keepers of Heaven’s pearly gates. I met a large number of these people in the university as well. However the universal education that I undertook made me come to the realization that any particular tribe or ethnic group will be almost non-existent standing against the rest of the world’s population. I learnt to be proud of my tribe but not to be ethnocentric because I did not choose to enter that tribe. I learnt to be a citizen of the world, embracing all people irrespective of where they come from. Trying to acquire world citizenship came with its own consequences though. There were instances where I was accused of sabotaging Ewes who stood for political positions on campus, simply because I never supported them despite my seemingly huge influence on campus. I was accused of shying away from my tribe. That was the price I had to pay for trying to be a world citizen. At the end of it all, though I can proudly say I am a young Ewe boy, I am happy to be a citizen of a world without boundaries and the benefit of being part of this world tribe is innumerable. Discard that myopic ethnocentric mentality and be part of the broader and more enlightened world
- ENJOY WHILES IT LAST. The few days I have spent in the house after school have strongly confirmed this lesson. At times I feel sad I will not be able to do all the things I did in the university. I however console myself that I picked that lesson very early and took advantage of all the opportunities that came my way and it paid off. I made friends who will last a lifetime. I gained experience which will take me places and had fun that I will look back on with a smile. In my third year in school, I enjoyed some level of popularity and an accompanying high level of recognition and respect. When I took the back seat in student politics in my final year, I realized all these began to wane. It was difficult coping with it but I was always glad I enjoyed it whilst it lasted. When I was sent on official duty to Legon, I decided to have the experience of sleeping in Volta Hall. I know the kind of uproar it created when it was heard of, but I took advantage of that opportunity and that night’s sleep remains one of the best I ever had. After it all, I look back and realized that had I left those opportunities to go, I will never meet them again. The friends, the fun and the experiences will all not come again, so enjoy whiles it last.
- EVERYONE IS AN EMPEROR IN HIS OWN WORLD. I thought the Vice Chancellor was the most powerful man of any university but I can argue against that now. I came across people in the university who could make the Vice Chancellor so helpless. The street sweepers and janitors turned out to be very powerful. I realized that everyone had a part to play to make things better and if one group of people should decide not to do their work, our environment will never be the same. I therefore learnt to give maximum respect to everyone I meet. One day, one gentleman in his posh car drove speedily by us in the scorching sun and nearly pushed us into a gutter. Moments later, we met him again, this time a desperate man. His car’s front wheel was stuck in a gutter and he needed help from us. So is the world. I have learnt never to look down on anyone. Everyone is an emperor of his world.
THIS IS JUST PART ONE. PART TWO IS IN THE REFINERY AND WILL COME OUT IN SECONDS. WATCH OUT.