HOW CAMPUS ROMANCE IS AN OBSTACLE TO ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENTJanuary 28, 2023
My intention in this essay is to talk about the realities of relationship between guys and girls on college and university campuses to help them be and remain winners by staying focused to the mission that brought them to the campus in the first place.
A college or a university is an institution of learning, growth and excellence that shapes students’ character. It holds a greater potential to transform them to better individuals, and to make them more functional for their own benefit and the benefit of others. It is a training ground that provides multiple countless opportunities for students to become masters in their chosen disciplines, to test and perfect their leadership and problem solving abilities, and to plan for their lives well ahead of graduation. It sets students on the path of growth, excellence, winning, and greatness.
The students’ mission, therefore, is to stay on that path to enable them be and remain winners in life whose achievements can be a source of blessings to our people, our communities, and our country. To stay on that path is to be committed to hard work, resilience, winning, and excellence. To stay on that path is to stay away from one of the major campus distractions that I call ‘aimless love’. I am going to narrate a real life story of love from the days when I was on campus to illustrate my point and set the stage for this essay. I hope the story serves it’s purpose. I hope too, you enjoy and learn a lesson from it!
The Agony of Love
Forty years ago when I was a young undergraduate student at Bayero University Kano, I had a room mate from Katsina. I would, for the purpose of this essay call him Yusif, although that was not his real name. He was 22 years old, 5 feet 6 inches tall, slim, light complexioned, calm and handsome. We were at the School of General Studies together at the time, taking the one year preliminary program in preparation for the commencement of the degree course. There were four of us sharing the room at the old campus, and I was the only one from Kano.
One evening after we were done with the lectures for the day, towards the end of the final semester of our program, Yusif came to the room and found me resting as I waited for the call to Maghrib prayer. He thought I was sleeping so he didn’t bother to say a word to me. I was lying on my bed watching him with my eyes half closed. He sat down quietly on his bed with his elbows on his lap and his face in his palms, and a thoughtful look in his eyes as he stared for a long time at the wall opposite. He was by nature a very quite guy who didn’t talk much. But that evening he seemed disturbed as though he was looking for a sympathetic ear to spill out his mind. I said in my mind there must be some ‘gist’ biting the heart of this guy, and if there is, I want to be the first to hear it.
I sat up abruptly on my bed. As he was lost in his thoughts, my movement and the sound from my iron bed startled him. He looked at me quickly and said, ‘oh Aminu I thought you were sleeping.’ ‘No I was not’, I replied, and then I continued strait to the point and said, ‘Oya! Go ahead my friend tell me, what is eating your heart? Spill it so you can have some peace!’. When he hesitated, scratched his head a little and said, ‘oh man, it is this girl!’, l knew he was ready to talk, and all he needed was a little encouragement.
I said ‘go ahead my friend you have all my ears, my eyes, and my attention, and I promise I will not blink until you finish’. Almost immediately, and as though he was anxious to start speaking, he said, ‘do you know Aisha Ahmad?’, again I am keeping out her real name for privacy reasons. When I told him that I could not make her out due to the large number of students in our class, he gave me an impeccable description of her including her looks, the way she dressed and walked, and where she always sat in the classroom. By the time he finished the description, I knew the end of the story even before it began. I knew he was madly in love with her. There was no way his mind’s eye could capture a perfect picture of her, such that he could describe her so eloquently like that unless he had deep feelings for her.
By the time he finished the description, I recognized her very clearly. She was almost the same age as Yusif but seemed more mature. She was of medium height, brown complexioned, with a matching set of brown eyes, and walked with majestic steps of decency that symbolized her excellent upbringing. She was very neat and dressed decently in apparels that told the beholder that she was from a well to do family. She carried a serene smile on her face most of the times, and didn’t seem to have too many friends. She was from Kano and never stayed on campus. There was a chauffeur driven car that brought her to the campus every morning, and took her back every evening. She was truly an epitome of beauty.
‘Ok’, I said ‘I recognize her now’. Yusif asked me again, ‘Aminu, do you believe in love at first sight’. ‘Well, I am not sure I do because I have never experienced it’, I replied. He responded quickly and said, ‘Well, you better believe it because it is true. I, Yusif, am a living evidence and a victim of it. Ever since I saw Aisha on the first day of our program, I fell in love with her. I am the kind of person who sets my standards high when it comes to relationships, but the moment I set my eyes on her that day, my heart loves her completely and unconditionally. From that time onwards I want to see her and to be around her everyday. I become restless on weekends when she is not on campus, and I could do anything to just lay my eyes on her in those two days. I realized that I am deeply in love with her, and in big trouble. What is even worse is I have never told her how I feel about her’. He gave a huge sigh of relief and stopped.
I was listening attentively and letting him take all the time he needed to empty his mind. I looked at him closely, and I could see the agony of his affection for Aisha that his heart was carrying boldly written on his face. I didn’t know what to say in the beginning because I had neither the knowledge nor the experience of dealing with such a delicate issue. To comfort him I said, ‘you must be very strong to have caged these feelings in your heart all this time’. I then continued and said, ‘Yusif, what are your intentions?’. He replied almost immediately. ‘My intention is to marry her. I have never felt this way for any other person before, and for that reason, I want her to be mine forever till death do us part.’ ‘But why, in the name of God Almighty, didn’t you disclose your feelings and intention to her. What is wrong with that?’. I interrupted him as I was getting a little edgy the way he was handling the issue. He went on, ‘I know my inaction may appear stupid and many other guys in a similar situation would have done exactly what you suggested. But Aminu listen to me. I have my own reasons. You may want to hear them before you judge me.’ I said, ‘carry on Yusif. You have all my attention!’.
‘I am a shy person with a lot of respect for myself and people I come into contact with. It is going to be devastating to me if I told her and she rejects me. This is the first reason why I have not spoken to her about my feelings all this time’. ‘Well, Yusif, the way you feel so strongly about her you should also be concerned about what would happen to you if you don’t. Either way I don’t see you winning. You might as well take the chance with the hope that she would accept you. If she does, you will be the most happiest person on planet earth’. ‘You are interrupting me again Aminu, please be patient and hear me out’. ‘I am sorry Yusif. Carry on’.
‘The second reason is what is holding me back from making a move now’. Yusif paused for sometime as if he was gathering all his strength together to tell me what must have been, for him, the most difficult part of our discussion. I was tempted to say something but I decided against it and waited patiently. With his voice shaking, he continued and said, ‘I just found out that Aisha is already engaged with someone else. She is getting married as soon as we are done with our final exams. I guess I have delayed too long in making a move’. At that point, I didn’t know when I shouted out loudly and said, ‘oh God of mercy make it easy on my friend!’. We fell silent for sometime again, until I said, ‘what are you going to do now?’.
That was when Yusif broke down and began to cry like a baby, and sent my heart speeding like a race horse. Never before that time in my life had I ever seen a guy crying because of love. I said in my mind, ‘may God protect my young heart, if this is what being in love is’.
After a long time, Yusif seemed to have regained good control of himself. He looked at me and said, ‘I am a survivor Aminu. I have gone through tough times in my life before and emerged victorious, and I believe I am going to make it again this time. I have taken a stern decision that I believe is the only way forward for me to put this issue behind me and move on. In about two weeks we are going to start our final exams. When I return home at the end of the exams, I am not coming back to Bayero University. I can’t concentrate on my studies here the way I know I should, and that can affect my performance. I think also I will go crazy if I have to be seeing Aisha here everyday knowing fully well that she will never be mine. I will use my prelim program result to look for admission elsewhere. My heart is going to ache for Aisha for a long time, and I am going to cry for her, the way I did a few minutes ago, for a long time too. But I believe I am going to heal overtime. This has been one of the greatest lessons of my life that I will never allow to ever happen again’.
I was completely speechless. I didn’t know what to do or to say to console him, so we remained silent until he said, ‘thank you very much Aminu. You truly made my day by listening to me. I am feeling much better now, and please excuse me for shedding tears before you’. ‘It’s my pleasure Yusif’, I replied, as we set off for Maghrib prayer together.
The last time I saw Yusif was the day we finished our final exams, and were bidding each other farewell to go home for the semester break. True to his words, when we came back a month later to start our degree program, Yusif was no where to be found. He never returned to the university.
One of the major source of distraction to students on campus is ‘love’ or ‘campus romance’ as the youngsters prefer to call it. The case of Yusif is a perfect example of the existing reality of the attraction between guys and girls on campus. There is nothing wrong with love, but when it is aimless as is the case with many campus relationships, it becomes a distraction that corrupts and derails those involved and hinder their performance and academic achievement. Yusif’s was a love full of purpose, and although many other guys in his shoes would have dealt with the issue differently, I respected his decision. He removed himself completely from a hopeless situation that was a threat to his academic achievement and to his future. I deliberately began with his story to contrast it sharply with campus romance that is time wasting, and has no purpose other than fun. Such affair divert students’ attention from their mission, weaken their academic performance, and open them up to practices that take away their integrity and peace of mind. I am going to take a look at how guys and girls start and sustain such affairs so we can understand them better, and to help students recognize and avoid those relationships early enough so they can stay focused to their mission.
Every time you bring males and females together, they begin to attract each other especially if they are young. The innate desire to want to have the opposite sex overwhelms their relationship as each goes to a great extent to win the admiration, and eventually, the affection of the other. The purpose, in most cases of campus romance does not matter, what is important is to be in love even though that would distract the lovebirds from their mission in the university.
There are numerous courting styles on campus. It is not the intention of this part of the of the essay to discuss and exhaust them.
I will only provide a glimpse at a style each in respect of how guys and girls pursue and conquer a target. Most of what I shared in this respect related to what I observed in the days when I was a university student, although I have updated it with what I know is happening currently in this age of technology.
Some of the ways a guy on campus interested in a girl behaves may include the following. He finds a reason no matter how insignificant to speak with her to begin to make a move and let her feel his presence. He may, for example, ask her the time for the next lecture pretending that he has no timetable, the time when assignment for a certain subject is due for submission, or if he wants to chart with her a little longer, he would ask how she feels about certain subjects and the teaching styles of certain lecturers. He would be sure to get into any tutorial group that she happens to be a part of, or in any group assignment she is participating. He would make his voice louder during tutorial discussions, and his contribution to group assignment bigger to impress her, so she could notice him. He would offer to assist her with class work anytime, and would appear to do so innocently without expecting anything in return.
After a while, he would begin to hover around her meticulously making it appear as though he is bumping into her by chance, so he increases the opportunity to speak with her to make her feel at ease in his presence. When she begins to feel comfortable around him and chats with him freely, he is ready to launch the penultimate attack.
There is a saying that ‘girls fall in love through their ears’. So when he begins to tell her how beautiful she is, how special her dressing style is, how sweet her voice is, and how impeccable her strides are when she walks, she would love it. He calls and chats with her more often on her mobile phone, and makes sure to keep complementing her during their conversations. As she becomes accustomed to and relishes in these ‘sweet’ messages, she would almost always be happy to see him so she can receive her daily dose of compliments, and would begin to miss him when he is not around. At that point, he would deliberately begin to avoid her, and reduce his phone calls and chats with her to make himself scarce, and to prepare her for the kill; the final attack.
When his friends inform him that she has been asking of him, he knows it is time for the final one. When he meets her he would concoct excuses for his absence, and tell her how much he missed her during that period. He would then tell her that he loves her dearly, and would proceed to explain how long he has been having those feelings, but was not sure if he should tell her until then. He would even ask for her forgiveness should she be offended by what he said. At that point the deal is sealed. She would almost certainly fall for him.
Girls, on the other hand, behave a little differently. Their approach is subtle and indirect as they usually prefer to lead the prey into their net through green guiding light from behind. A girl targeting a guy may behave as follows. She would make herself conspicuous in his presence to make him notice her, and to create an opportunity for him to speak to her. There may be, for example, many roads leading to the classroom, but if she notices him standing on one of them, that is the particular one she would choose to get to the class. As she passes in front of him, if his attention is on her, she would slow down her strides to allow him to take a very good look at her to his satisfaction, with the hope that he appreciates her beauty and makes a move. Some, who are bold enough, may even throw a quick soft smile at him to encourage him to do so. If she notices that his attention is elsewhere, she may start singing softly, swing the keys in her hands audibly, or even pretend to trip slightly over something to gain his attention. When he speaks to her she would be more than glad to listen and to respond, but she would be careful to avoid appearing too excited. From then on she would be looking out for and using opportunities to get him to speak to her until they feel comfortable in each other’s presence.
There is another saying again that, ‘guys fall in love through their eyes’ so as she dresses immaculately to impress him, he begins to seriously appreciate and pay more attention to the details of her beauty than he used to. In addition to that she would begin to sit a little close to him in the library and in the cafeteria for example, and would engage his assistance in almost every class assignment so they can spend time together. She draws him close to her by seeming acts of kindness like sharing her lunch with him, or even preparing something special for him occasionally, especially if she is from a well to do family.
By now his feelings for her are beginning to ripen and he would begin commending her intelligence, manner of dressing, her neatness and so on. Once she notices that, and as they get to know each other better and spend more time together she goes for the kill; the final tactic that would bring him perfectly into her net. She would wait until such a time when both of them are relaxed, and having a nice personal conversation that has nothing to do with studies. She would then ask him a seemingly neutral question like ‘what kind of a woman would you prefer to spend your life with?’. As his heart is already inclined to her, and as he also is looking for an opportunity to start showing his interest in her, he would deliberately answer that question by giving a description that perfectly matches her. At that point she would follow her first question up with a very personal one that would seal the deal. She would ask him, ‘how do you feel about me?’. His most likely response would be to tell her that he loves her, and would continue with sweet, heart-warming statements to confirm his affection for her. And that’s it. The deal is done!
Sustaining the Love Affair
This is how guys and girls begin their campus love affair. The infatuation between them sustains the affair as they study together, eat together, chat and laugh together, and continue to invest more time in each other. The more they are together, the more they observe and become more conscious of the finer details of each other’s beauty and enticing body structure, and hanker for each other. When they are apart, especially at night, the desire for each other intensifies, and each begins to fantasize how it would feel to be with the other in certain romantic positions. Soon they would begin to spend time together somewhere silent, away from the crowd, in the evening, in the dark, and for a long time. Soon they would begin to experiment with each other, misbehaving, and engaging in unbecoming practices. Studies, achievement, winning and excellence take a back bench as they continue to sink deeper into their ‘adventure’. They lose a lot of valuable time they could have otherwise used to study and to plan for their lives ahead. Soon their actions would begin to reflect in their poor performance, in their tarnished reputations, and in the anxiety that would find a place in their hearts.
After they enjoy the ‘adventure’ for sometime, they would begin to quarrel as their eyes open up to each other’s human imperfections, or when either of them, as a result, starts looking elsewhere for a new ‘adventure’. In some extreme cases, differences between the two may intensify overtime especially if there happens to result from their relationship an unexpected pregnancy. By the time they get to that stage, their minds would be seriously occupied with all other things else, but the mission. By the time they get to that stage, they would have long forgotten about the mission as they are consumed by the problems they created.
The price you pay
In life there is a price for everything. There is no free lunch as the saying goes. Whatever you do, sooner or later you will have to pay the price. Sometimes you pay sooner than later. A guy and a girl engaging and relishing in the campus love affair pay the price with their time, academic achievement, reputation, posterity, and health. Let us take a look at these five precious things the lovebirds give up in exchange for their love affair.
Time flies continuously away from us whether we like it or not. There is nothing we can do to stop it. If it flies away and leaves us with the concrete achievement of our mission, we would have no regrets because we would have made the best use of it. If it leaves us with nothing to show in achievement as we part with it, then we would have lost it, and all the opportunities that came with it.
A guy and a girl in love on campus lose a great deal of their valuable time they could have used for their academic achievement and personal development. They invest too much time in their relationship at the expense of their studies, and every other important goal in their lives. They procrastinate on assignments and exam preparations as they spend more time with each other, falsely believing that there is always time enough for them to fulfil their academic obligations. They talk longer on the phone, and chat on WhatsApp well into the early hours of the morning as they relish in each others’ company and continue to lose precious time. They will not realize the enormity of the grooming time and opportunities they lost at the university, until years later when they compare their achievements in life with those of their well focussed classmates and feel like complete losers.
Poor Academic Achievement
When I say poor academic achievement I do not mean poor performance in exams. There have always been unconventional ways of passing and even obtaining distinction in exams devoid of effort, resilience and exertion especially with the unsavoury practices in education in the country. So guys and girls who play around may still pass exams despite the insufficient time and attention they give to their studies. But they are almost certain to graduate with insignificant accomplishments. They would not achieve much in the spheres of personal growth that a student is supposed to benefit from as part of his/her training in the university. I will explain what I mean here with the hope that students become more aware of the meaning of learning in the university.
The university is a transitional station that prepares young undergraduate students for life in the real world following their graduation. The students primary responsibility is to learn their chosen subjects, study them diligently to understand and digest them not for the purpose of passing exam only, but to become masters in those subjects. In addition, the students take active part in class and tutorial discussions to learn how to articulate their points of view and become used to speaking in public. They attend class on time and submit assignments within deadlines to become more conscious of the significance of time and practice keeping to it before they assume bigger responsibilities later in life. They take up positions of leadership in the students union and other meaningful university associations to begin to practically understand and experience leadership and problem solving. They plan for their lives ahead by identifying the career path they would like to take, and by looking out for internship or part time job opportunities in those fields to begin to taste their calling in life and to obtain experience. These are a few illustrations of what I mean by academic achievement.
The campus lovebirds usually end up with poor academic achievement for one obvious reason. Their attention is diverted away from their main mission in the university. By nature a human being can only focus attention on one thing at a time, and because love is very overwhelming in the hearts of young people, it can hardly allow them to focus on something else at the same time even if that were possible.
If you are a girl playing around with a guy on campus and you think that it does not affect your reputation, pray that you don’t get into a fight with one of the decent girls in your class. If you do, the barrage of humiliating names she is going to call you, will tell you exactly how shattered your reputation has become. If you are a guy with the same attitude and thinking in the same way, pray for an opportunity to overhear some of your decent course mates talking about you behind your back. You will be shocked to hear the degrading adjectives they use when they describe you.
By posterity I mean your children. Whatever you do with other people’s children today is exactly what other people will do with your children later in life when you bear some. What goes around comes around. We can’t change that rule of life. If you enjoy the campus love affair today, you should be ready for the heartache later in life when someone will be playing around with your daughter.
There is a saying that ‘if he does it with you, he can do it with another girl; and if she does it with you, she can do it with another guy’. If there is such a possibility, the campus lovebirds are then exposing themselves to the enormous risk of an added number of diseases.
Words of Wisdom for the Wise
Stay focused to your mission in the university. Do not divert. If you find the love of your life in the university then go for the divine sanctioned and time honoured union of marriage. Do the real thing, make it formal by involving your parents right from the beginning, and stay away from getting romantically involved with your prospective partner until both of you are officially married. Never think it’s OK to begin enjoying each other before marriage because it is not.
If you are girl, never get involved in the insane behaviour of nude selfies currently in vogue among young people. Never ever take nude selfies or videos of yourself and send it to any guy for his pleasure, no matter how much you love him. Never ever be in a nude, romantic, or compromising situation with anyone such that you provide him the opportunity to deceive you and do those pictures or videos on you, without your knowledge, no matter how much you care for him. If you do, you will be setting yourself up for destruction, and the destruction of the reputation of your family. Run away from any guy who is making such demands on you even if he promises to marry you because he is a rogue, a liar, and a deceiver whose intention is to enjoy you and turn your life upside down. Let us all ask Allah in our prayers always to keep us on the right path.
I thank you for making the time to read this essay.