Guest Post : College Life in Libya


You can bomb a building. You can bomb a city. You can even bomb a country. But the one thing you can’t just bomb out is the intriguing passion of education seekers of a nation.

     I started my second semester at the Pharmacy faculty on the second day of April. It was a sunlit day that rendered a prosperous omen. I ended up sitting on one of the stair steps that led up to the seats of the auditorium due to the crowdedness at the first lecture of Physical Pharmacy.

Little did I know that I would find myself struggling to find an appropriate spot for the upcoming lectures as well!

     Apparently, a hectic administration can be found within every aspect of a system in Libya. There weren’t legitimate adjustments affixed with the new alterations concerning the schedules, lecture settings, and the timing of the examinations. As usual, the ones with the least power to do anything are the ones that get to taste the bitterness of consequences. For some reason, the class before mine was held back a semester and so there was a larger amount of students for each course than usual.

Therefore, students commenced to wait right in front of the lecture doors in the tiny hallways; desiring a seat that would provide a suitable environment for learning something- if anything. In addition, outrage and anger from those who were held back caused an unfriendly atmosphere. Subsequently, signs were posted on the walls warning those who were causing jams in the corridors. Fortunately, amendments were made weeks later that suited us better.

     They seemed perpetual; the amendments that is. All throughout the semester, almost every week, there was an alteration that had been put into place. It was either changing our lecture hall settings or our course, lab, and/or examination schedules.

     Without a warning, exhaustion swiftly ensued. A six days a week attendance was strenuous to maintain. Moreover, quitting, which was an insistent thought, sounded much better than studying the piled up packets. However, as the first assessment started to approach, so did my zest.

     The laboratories depicted the lectures in a further fascinating way. For instance, during one of the Pharmaceutics Labs our assignment was to analyze prescriptions and reason which ones would be dispensable, which portrayed a mental picture of what working in a pharmacy would be like. Furthermore, the Physical Pharmacy Labs always offered the opportunity to deal with the instruments we so often heard about during the lecturers. The Organic Chemistry lab’s professor, the most enthusiastic faculty member out there, continuously astounded us with new information.

      Dr.Gabbaj has an ambition to bring out the best in his students. For example, individual oral tests were his special way of getting to know the potential pharmacologists’ level of knowledge in Organic Chemistry. Likewise, when I stood face to face with the Chemistry genius that once upon a time was honored by the Queen, my brain tended to forget everything it ever learned about Chemistry.

“Next Monday, I want you to explain to the class which is more acidic: the Benzoic or the Salicylic Acid,” he spontaneously requested after I was apparently done with the oral test. “You will be the one reminding me!” he added. The unsolicited opportunity to give a presentation triggered eagerness from within me, and consequently I did my research on the Acids. The following Monday I took a front row seat. After he was done with his teaching, I raised my hand. “The Benzoic Acid thing?” I reminded him. “Oh yes, come talk to us,” he acknowledged. Confusion diffused throughout the seminar and all eyes were on me. I asked him one last time if I could give the presentation in English, which he replied to, “English, Arabic, whatever you want.” I wasn’t as nervous as I was during the oral exam. “I’m gonna tell you about the difference between,” I started off. “The differences,” he corrected. “The differences between the Benzoic Acid and the Salicylic Acid.” I continued. Long story short, up until I was done with the presentation, he was attentive as I spoke and corrected me when I was at fault.

     The faculty unequivocally became my second home. The persistence, courage, and enthusiasm that exuded from my fellow classmates made the challenges bearable. Furthermore, the kind gestures given by the guys that sold our “Sheets” always put a smile on my face. Whether it was the janitors or the head of the faculty, almost all members of the department worked hard and with pride, which rubbed off on me and put those pessimistic thoughts to sleep.

     “Without struggle there’s no strength.”

The sleepless nights, studying, and exams during Ramadan were wearing and fatiguing, but they made us better students. In conclusion, as I ate my last Shawerma sandwich of the semester with my new college besties, I realized that what my dad advised me once was beyond true; “Humans are adaptable.”

Written by Nuha Dadesh 

A Libyan gal who’s somewhat Americanized! Pharmacy student at the University of Tripoli. Learning and writing are my passions. Proud Muslim

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