I came to Lagos to start my degree. I didnt have a job, i always planned to do it full time, with none of the distractions of a job. I went to unilag website and downloaded my “debit note” , it said that i was to pay 131,500 total for tuition and “mandatory fees”. however when i got to the bank, i was told to go back and reprint my debit note because the fees had been increased just that morning. i went back and lo and behold it was now 151,500. I went to the bank and made my payments. it was now time to begin registration/screening. At the point of submitting my credentials, i was asked to pay another 10,000 for “prospectus” and book of abstracts. After I paid,i was told that they didnt have copies of the prospectus. Till today , i didn’t get a copy of the so called prospectus. I was done with registration now time for lectures.
Only a few of the lectures were worth my time. They kept threatening us with how attending lectures were “mandatory”, but didn’t deem it fit to prepare lectures that would make us want to attend. My first degree comprised of more interesting lectures as my lecturers often prepared and came to class with interesting strategies but only one lecturer actually made me want to sit in class. Some of the lecturers didn’t bother to do research and prepare their class notes, none of them made their lectures very interactive either, but only came to class to dictate lecture notes (obviously obtained verbatim from textbooks).
The syllabus was pretty basic to me, nothing particularly new ( it was like repeating the same stuff i did in my undergraduate year), one lecturer didn’t even try to disguise this as he told us to borrow notes from third year students! I kept questioning, is this what a Master’s degree should be, i expected to further expand my knowledge and not rehash what i already learned…but then maybe I’m wrong.
I must say kudos to one borrowed course, medical statistics, they made almost every lecture worth my while, maybe the people in pharmacology need to borrow a leaf from them…just saying.
Exams: This was like playing guessing games…the lecturer had given lecture notes in class, so most times they asked how i would handle a certain real life situation(it seemed like they wanted us to guess what part of the notes they were thinking about and then write it out). It was fun, and thank goodness, i passed(i think ).
Seminar Presentations :- The lecturers seemed to get a kick out of dressing down the students for all the wrong reasons. The essence of a seminar is to make the student do some research work, write it up and present right? wrong! Apparently in unilag, what you have researched is not as important as how you present it. And if it is not pleasing enough to the eyes of the lecturer,then it doesnt matter if you have researched and found the cure to HIV/AIDs. I may be wrong about this though, so feel free to correct me. Anyway, luckily for me i adhered strictly to their guidelines and presented all my seminars without any mishaps ( although i would have enjoyed it more if they had allowed me to be a bit more creative)
Dissertation : This was the part that almost broke me!Pharmacology Dept., CMUL, Unilag has a serious problem, a lack of equipments ,reagents,etc.I had to pay (sometimes through my nose) for every single thing i used in working on my project down to distilled water!!! I paid rent for my rats (no joke) in the school’s animal house, i had to buy my own beakers and cylinders and stuff (Coming from a school where my undergraduate project cost me only the price of printing, and one or two reagents because most of the reagents and equipment i needed were in the lab and i was free to use them, this was very shocking) I paid the lab technicians to assist me with my projects (they did a wonderful job and i would have paid them anyway because they actually offered me more knowledge than my actual project supervisor Dr. Unavailable.)After everything, I calculated and realised i had spent close to 300k on my project/dissertation. Awesome huh?
Defence: This was probably the highlight of my entire school year. The external examiner did not try to dress me down or anything but was very interested in what i had to say. He gave me the floor and let me talk ; only asking for clarification when/where needed. It made me feel good about all that i had gone through.
All in all, it was a very smooth experience.
Expenses: (minus accomodation, feeding and transport) N458,000 (my school fees and the cost of my project)
The major advantage is the speed with which you attain your masters. If not for the strike, I’m sure it would have taken me exactly 12 calendar months, with the strike, it took 16 months (Nov. 2012 – Feb.2014).
Would I do it all over again? I’m not sure about it…..Ph.D here I come