I arrived the venue of the graduate employment aptitude tests to be greeted by a sea of heads. We were in our thousands. ‘Jobless’ graduates we all were. Going by the number and capacity of the classrooms which I had quickly picked out I reckoned we’d write the tests in batches. That’s what happened.
The tests started late. By 1PM we had not rounded off accreditation and registration verification exercises. In my mind an alarm for an impending chaos began ticking. By the time the tests actually began, applicants were shepherded like rams into the decrepit classrooms with a few benches. You could see the sun through some parts of the roof.It was November, so the rains were not much of a threat. However, the greenish brownish color of the algae clinging on one section of the walls was a worthy memento of where the last rainy season had left its personal effects. The cemented floors were pockmarked by holes,some the size of craters. I wondered how the facilitators found that place fit for graduates like us. Did they want us to feel the pulse and crunch of the labour market before we eventually left it? Did they want us to cherish the clichè “nothing in life comes easy”? A million uneasy thoughts ran through the fibres of my brain.
To an extent, such tests are a common decimator. At least to an extent it was a leveller. There, mixed in the humdrum, you could find folks from different universities both of high and low ‘rankings.’ These rankings had given us airs. An undergrad of engineering from Federal University of Technology, Owerri was revered more than one from Anambra State University of Science and Technology. They were like lapels of distinction we wore when we sparred at gatherings in our neighbourhoods. We bragged about the status of our universities. We called some actual universities while others were glorified sedondary schools. But a university should be a university or so I had thought. Well, that’s a story for another day.
I was unlucky to have fallen into the latter batches. By 6PM we were yet to be ushered in. We were gettting apprehensive. The sun was leaving the sky and by the non-existence of electric poles around the perimeter of the fence, there wasn’t going to be any power supply, at least by NEPA( I have found it hard to get used to their new name). There was no generator in sight. As the penultimate batch left the classrooms, it was a frantic dive. Graduates, supposedly found worthy in character and in learning, jumped in from the windows, tore in from the ceilings and trampled on one another to get a seating space . We had to do so before the facilitators decided against doing the test. I looked on in dismay. By the time the chaos had settled,I was a spectator by the side of the windows. Sweaty, panting and pretty exhausted, the applicants who managed to ‘settle’ in fished out their phones to use as torchlights as darkness had begun to spread its blanket over daytime. I hung my head in exasperation. I couldn’t hang around any longer. I had lost my verve. How could any objective result be gotten by such tests written by frazzled brains? There was one option left to me – I left the venue.
….to be continued…