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Opinions of Monday, 20 April 2020

Columnist: Kwaku Asante Bismark

Kwaku Asante writes: Coronavirus and the regrets of a final year student

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The class is at 9:30 am and I’d be up by 8 am to prep. But, I was very tired the night before and even though I had alarms on, I woke up at 9:10am. The interesting thing was I had a group presentation that morning so I had to be early. I dashed into the washroom and cleaned up.

It was a Human Rights class on a Friday morning. I went in, did our presentation with other colleagues – Cindy and Kojo, two new friends I had by virtue of that group. I knew we had aced the presentation but I didn’t know that was potentially going to be the last class or last time to set foot in JQB as a ‘student’ of the University of Ghana (UG).

I had plans for the semester, I wanted to blog all my experiences and live life well. I live with the regrets of not living the last moments of SHS properly; occasionally I get flashbacks and they are enough to get me emotional.

I have once jokingly said that maybe they should send us back to SHS for one week with our classmates and dormitory friends. I know that’d never happen but I’ve imagined it several times.

So I took my final year and final semester at the University of Ghana pretty seriously. It was something I looked forward to. I’m a news guy, so I knew of Coronavirus before the average student did. I watched as it swept through China, I was watching when a religious leader nearly doomed South Korea. It was serious but it was far away I thought.

But I never thought it’d hit us all so hard. Most of us are young, but even the adults among us have never seen anything of this sort before. That all nations have literally grounded to a halt? I doubt it’s happened in a century.

But reality hit me when the President announced a ban on public gatherings. I remember saying on my show on Radio Univers that schools could be back by April or May. Now it seems pretty obvious to me that I might never return to school again as a normal student.

And this reality hurts, this reality is painful. I remember all the things I said I’d do – ‘charge’ regularly and VANDALS know this, never miss out on a procession, bond much closer with friends, attend all the final year dinners and take pictures. I was looking forward to the final day in class, shake and hug friends.

You see, there are some friends in SHS I have never seen or heard from, ever again, since our last WASSCE paper, but we all saw that coming, didn’t we? We did. And at least we had final goodbyes – but this time, yikes, it’s all gone, like the flash of a photographer.

So I remember Faculty and a few other senior friends posting 8 over 8 on their statuses after their last papers, I saw the pictures, colleagues and lecturers and I always wanted to do some and I knew my time was coming.

But today the University published a revised academic calendar, which birthed the reality – that was it. I will be done with school, yes, but not with friends and loved ones together, with smiles and cheers.

God willing we’d all see each maybe when all this goes away and we come back to pack the rest of our things from our rooms, or maybe graduation days, if they do happen, but Coronavirus stole some good moments from us, and nothing else, can replace that.