4 years is a long time but it goes by from 0 to a 100 real quick when you are in Legon. It seemed like just last week that we were all giddy after spotting our names on that long list of admitted students. The UGRC hustles felt like last weekend and the re-sits started streaming in the day after. I could swear it was just yesterday most of us started giving up on the First Class Dream, consoling ourselves with words like “I will not let an exam results determine my future. But if there is one place time snails by on this campus, then it definitely will be in those boring yet exciting spaces called lecture halls.
More than being simply rooms for learning by rote and dictation, lecture halls are the only melting pots in this large community with disparate demographics. It is only on the hard benches of JQB that Muslims and Christians of opposite genders sit shoulder to shoulder, pageant winners share spaces with girls who cared less about what foundation makeup to use or hair extensions to buy and the “haves” and “have nots” merge into a classless spectrum. Away from NNB and JQB, the divide becomes apparent. The “cool kids” lock themselves up in their shisha and marijuana smoking rooms, the book worms crawl over their lecture notes, the haves isolate themselves in their two or one in a room student suites and the pseudo politicians go about knocking on doors and sending “Welcome To Campus” messages.
But despite being a classless utopia, lecture halls offer more than a bland experience. Its quirks and perks are some of the few reasons why students endure 2 hours of mostly vapid interactions with greying professors and doctors.
A thousand and one nuances of the lecture hall could be enumerated but because IAs beckon and my GPA needs salvation, I will limit it to the following.
Hairstyles: In an age of increasing use of hair extensions, every wig (weave, toupee or whatever it is called these days) seller knows Legon is a honeypot for the product. And lecture halls aver that self-evident truth. From Peruvian, Brazilian to Indian types, all colors, shapes and styles of hair can be found in JQB 19 on a Monday. In the midst of all this is #TeamNaturalHair. The ladies with nappy and unkempt afros! Who leave it rugged like Lupita in “12 years A Slave” . There are also those with short hair. Nothing screams African feminist than a student with an Ursula Owusu haircut.
For the guys, there is very little variations to be done with the hair. Mohawks were a high school break fad so very few people spot that cut. Marine haircuts or “fades” are the new thing on campus. Some take it to the extremes with a throwback to the 80s Will Smith level. But boys will always be boys and spending too much time on hair is of little value to those who like to keep it like Kunta Kinte in Roots.
I do not care how you keep it, but if you are going to spot your hair like a camel’s back, please sit in the back so I can see what the lecturer is writing on the board.
FRONT ROW SQUAD:
First classes are not earned, they are awarded. Or so the say so the ambitious ones usually find themselves on the first benches because proximity breeds familiarity. Sitting on those rows comes with unspoken responsibilities. For starters, the lecturer always has her eyes on you when she wants to engage the class in a discussion so you should be smart or try acting it.
What fascinates me most about the Front Row Squad is how at least one of them always has a marker in their bag. Do they sell markers or they come to class anticipating a lecturer not having a marker? Why do they always have bottled water ready to give a thirsty lecturer? And why do they readily use their handkerchiefs as dusters when one cannot be found?
Front row guys do too much!
Back Row Squad
Talkative, always fidgeting with their phones and forever the disruptive bunch but not necessarily the worst of the class, the Back Row is a refuge from drowsiness in class. Away from the prying eyes of the lecturer and deep in an enclave of its own, the Back Row offers you the chance to take a nap without being caught, text your girlfriend the entire duration of the class and even snack if you want. So you can very well find ambitious and smart minds who are tired of playing teacher’s pet ensconced at the boundaries of the lecture hall
Middle Row Squad
Like every entity’s “middle”, this squad are an amalgamation of everything the class has to offer. First class seekers who do not want to play teacher’s pet ever, enervated bodies who want to doze for a minute or two but still catch the lecture and people who are just scared of the “bright lights” of the front or the “darkness” of the back.
The middle offers little salvation from the lecturer’s questions as he moves away from the Hermione Grangers’ of the front.
Being late to a lecture is very likely. You could have been held hostage by an overly excited lecturer. It could be because you are too broke (or too stingy) to spend 50p on a shuttle. Or maybe the line at the beans seller was as serpentine as an anaconda. Nonetheless, being late happens as often as Dumsor. What peeves me about it are those who use their late entrance to make an announcement.
Why walk through the front of the class in leggings and your cleavage showing? As if studying econometrics was not hard enough, you just gave me another puzzle to solve!
But this list is far from exhaustive. I could rant on about how boys pick up random conversations with girls out of their league, how people intentionally flaunt their mobile phones on the desks and lecturers who crack lame jokes. But I have a date with my GPA on Saturday at JQB.