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Undergraduates recall challenges of combining campus trading with schooling

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Entrepreneurship programme is becoming more prominent in Nigerian universities, particularly now that it is a course of study in most tertiary institutions.

Over the years, most students have been engaging in different kinds of small-scale businesses like sale of footwear, clothes, accessories, bags of all kinds, airtime, hair attachment, wigs among others.

Some also engage in vocational work like tailoring, hair stylist, shoemaking, bag designers and carpentry, following the recent clamour for graduates to combine academics with skills acquisition. 

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However, some students who spoke with The Guardian affirmed that combining business with academics could be quite stressful as there are many academic and extracurricular activities begging for attention.

A student of Lagos State University (LASU), who gave her name as Rushdah, stated that she is into campus business, though it affects her academics.

According to her, “I’m into sewing and it affects my academics to some extent. The time I spend on reading has been divided into two. I spent some time sewing and a few hours reading. Balancing time is my biggest challenge, as I would not want to disappoint my customers. On some occasions, I missed my class test, I hardly go to the library and I even skip classes and assignments, just to finish up with customer’s cloths. Though I have passion for sewing, I had to reschedule myself and create time for my studies, as that is my major reason for being in school, even when I need to make money to sustain myself.”

For a student at Ekiti State University (EKSU), who identified herself as Rebbecca, “I sell junk and most students know me for that. It didn’t really affect my academics as I attend classes regularly and do my assignment, after which, I still create time to sell around the school. I will encourage other students to engage in small-scale business. It will make them be self-reliant and not rely on their parent to survive.”

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But another student, Justina Ibe thinks differently, “I had to quit my business to face my studies as this affected me in my 200-level. Not everyone can multitask, but, I wish I had the spirit to merge things and be successful in both. Quitting my clothing business affected my finances, as one of the major reasons students trade in school is to make more money.”

According to Esther Orji, a student at the University of Ibadan (UI), “One of the benefits of having an entrepreneurial spirit is self-dependent. Though it comes with its own challenges, you can survive without bothering your family or relatives. It can even open other opportunities for you.”

For Funmilayo Abey, “Entrepreneurship is a skill every student should acquire. I love and appreciate students who are involved in small-scale business in school. For me, the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages, which is performing poorly academically.”

“However, academics should not be ignored. So many students are carried away by their business activities while they give little or no attention to the main purpose of why they are in school. This should not be encouraged because of its long-term effects. If any student would do business alongside their studies, they should be able to strike a balance between both. If one can successfully do that, then the sky would be their starting point.”

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