TWO AND HALF HOURS AWAY

A couple of days back, I was at the prestigious Pan-Atlantic University (PAU) for the very first time. It was a very long drive; about two and half hours from Yaba. I have heard a lot about PAU. It opened its doors to undergraduates a year ago and has just received a fresh batch of students. For now it offers admission into School of Business Administration and  School of Media and Mass Communication. I found their brochure quite catchy, very unlike the usual. So I was anticipating a lot.

wpid-madonna-iloba-20151030_232714.jpg.jpegAt first I was struck by the fact that there was just one fully completed building in the school area (the hostel area is well established). Somehow I just was expecting to see a lot of buildings. The one completed building is very imposing. The size of about four large buildings about three storey high. It serves administrative purpose, houses the classrooms for the undergraduates and postgraduates and other facilities including the little lovely chapel where I attended mass. There I first saw PAU students; about five girls and a couple of guys and staff. After the mass, I got better acquainted with the girls. Three of them Chiamaka, Winifred and Madonna had taken part in the pre-university camp organized in Afara two weeks ago. The other two were Nicole and Ose. There was a slight drizzle so we used the time to chat up the girls.

Afara organizes activities geared towards all round development of the girls in PAU and we (Ezinne, Ijeoma, Veronica) were here to resume activities with the older girls and also meet the first years. According to the girls, it has been good thus far, no regrets about choosing PAU. The hostels are nice, the lectures even better except for theology classes which they find a bit abstract (as expected). Just barely a week in the school and there are already assignments. No time! When the rain subsided, we decided to walk with the girls to the hostel taking our packed meals along. The hostels are a little distance from the classrooms and in between that of the boys and the girls is the student activity building. It houses a boutique, a grocery store, a hair salon a pharmacy, a snacks bar and a restaurant all at fairly reasonable prices. The popcorn was nice. There are two female hostels, Pearl and Trinity. We followed them into Trinity as there was a meeting going on in Pearl. I found the hostels very homey and comfortable for studying. Their matron is a rare gem! We settled in the lounge to have breakfast with our friends, (they got breakfast from the in-house catering). By this time, our number had increased, Deborah, Amanda, Tobechukwu, Tolu, and Ikepos had joined us. Nicole kept us entertained with pictures of her secondary school days.image

After the wining and dining, we got down to the business of the day. By this time three more girls-Oyinda, Biola, and Stephanie-had joined the charade. First, we officially introduced ourselves to the girls as they were all first years and went on to plan the activities for the semester with them. They were enthusiastic and forth coming with ideas. The consensus was that we will begin next week with sports and a round table discussion on the UNIV topic, Family Impact. Afterwards, we went over to Pearl hostel (they were done with the meeting) to see old friends. It was a beautiful reunion. Ayo, Fisayo, Biola, Tolu were all over Ij and Vero and they spent some time catching up. Ose spread the word about who we are and what we are about and many first years came flocking into the lounge to check us out. I met Samuel/Iyin who wants to be a model, Naomi an English born Caribbean with a unique hairstyle, I met Nkem, Mary, Fyin… and I had a nice time getting to know them all. They too were excited about what we had for them. They made us feel like superheroes. Unfortunately I forgot to take pictures.

Soon it was time to leave as it was getting late and we had a long drive ahead. Moreover the students had assignment deadlines to meet. On very important detail I forgot to mention was that assignments and class projects are submitted directly to the school portal and once it is past deadline (usually 9 pm of the stated day) the portal closes. Same goes for exams. So there is no mago mago and no copy and paste. Being online, it is easier to detect any plagiarizing. And there is free Wi-Fi!

Walking back to the school with some of the girls, I got to hear from them what has struck them most in the school. For Nicole, it was the school’s legacy of Freedom- freedom with responsibility. So unlike most private universities, it is not just about the rules. Also glaring is how decently the girls dress. This is one area the school is non-compromising about. Along with their admission letter, the students were told the high level of decency in dressing expecteimaged of them. Wear whatever you want but it must be decent, what should be covered should stay covered. Even though the students find it a bit difficult to adjust, they all agree that they look well-put together. It is hard to tell them from the Masters students. While interacting with the girls, most of them said that they got to know of PAU through their parents or friends of their parents who had done programs at Lagos Business School (LBS). Good soup needs no advert. PAU is a school to watch out for not just in Nigeria but on the international scene. We will surely keep you posted!

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