Akinola Shadrack is the author of ‘Varsity Guard’, a 186-page book in which he x-rays different issues concerning the youth. Here, he talks about making good use of his time when he had an extra year studying Philosophy at the Olabisi Onabanjo University in 2012, his work, and more. Excerpts:
Bookshelf: Your new book, ‘Varsity Guard’, was written due to your experience in school. Would you have written the book if you had no extra year?
Akinola Shadrack: I wouldn’t have. I wrote the book because I was in pain.
Some of the issues I explored are managing freedom in the university, acquiring knowledge, drug abuse, other social vices and knowledge assimilation, among others.
Bookshelf: In chapters eight and 11, you explained how to cope with having an extra year and how others can learn from your mistakes. What led to your extra year in the university?
Shadrack: I tutored some of my course mates who passed, so I wondered why I failed. When I did a self-assessment, I discovered I had overconfidence and a lackadaisical attitude. Lackadaisical in the sense that I believed I could not fail, so I didn’t check some results and it was too late when I did.
Bookshelf: You gave a detailed explanation on how a student can cope with an extra year. Why do you consider it a blessing?
Shadrack: Some will think having an extra year in school is the end of the world, but it’s a blessing in disguise for me. It’s just another step to making things right. Although it can also be a waste of time, effort and resources.
However, some of the cases include not following up with your grades, overconfidence, not submitting your research work when due, not rewriting any carry over courses and so on.
Bookshelf: What would you say is the disposition of some students when they have an extra year?
Shadrack: Having an extra year isn’t the end of the world. Some students get humbled, ashamed or their self-confidence drops drastically once they discover they will not graduate with their peers. But, if one accepts the fall, that’s when there is trouble.
Bookshelf: Parents and guardians all have a role to play as many students hide the truth from their families. Will you say the motivation you got from home helped you?
Shadrack: My mum passed away the same year I was to graduate. My dad had passed on when I was 10 years old. However, the encouragement I got from my mum’s friend, Dr Mrs Ogunsanya, who’s like a mother to me, helped me a lot. Also, one of my lecturers, Dr Precious Obioha, sat me down and spoke to me after looking at my track record. Then she encouraged me.
Parents and guardians should understand that what their child needs more than ever is encouragement. Having at extra year in the university is not the end of the world.
Bookshelf: Aside university students, who are your target readers and why?
Shadrack: All students need to read the book, from those in secondary school to tertiary institutions irrespective of whether it’s a university, polytechnic or college. My target readers are senior secondary school students and those who have written their SSCE, mainly because it would aid them in choosing a career. It’s also a 360 degrees approach on how to live better and excel in the university or wherever they find themselves.
Bookshelf: Do you have any plans to write more books after this?
Shadrak: Yes, I do. This is my calling. In fact, I have several unpublished work in progress. Ideas come everyday, hence the need to write to contribute to the betterment of our society.