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A Millennial Lecturer in a GEN-Z Class – Episode 5

A millennial lecturer shares his over a decade experience in the academia teaching and supervising most GEN-Z. Welcome on the 10-episode series recollection.
Macaulay, Babajide Milton Ph.D., EMBA
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Welcome to the 10-episode series on my shocking experience as a millennial lecturer teaching Gen-Z students in a Federal University in Nigeria in the last 12 years.

It’s a collection of my classroom interactions with a generation of quick-witted, internet-savvy young adults who are “too bold” for their own good. Read episode 4 here.


I noticed quite early in my Lectureship role in the last decade that students found it very easy to approach me after class to share their deepest personal concerns.

These concerns range from minor to major issues; some could steal the concentration of a student in class while others could be more terrible, typically truncating the student’s education forever.

One reason the students found it easy to share such deep-seated personal issues with me is probably because I present myself as “approachable” in class.

I, sometimes, drop a “call to action” at the end of my class, revealing that I have an “open door policy” and mostly available to attend to pressing academic and non-academic issues they may have.

I think this move, including my down-to-earth and heart-warming disposition in class often make students believe they could trust me with personal information, and that I am genuinely serious about their success in life.

As a result, I have had students share very personal details of events going on in their lives which they are quietly battling with and urgently need some help.

I will cite two anonymized examples to buttress my points.

About a decade ago, a student (let’s call her Rose) approached me after class to inform me that she needed to share a concern with me.

On reaching my office, Rose, looking rather perplexed and afraid, finally revealed: “I did something I am not proud of sir, and I do not know how to come out of it”.

I sat upright knowing well that it was not a trivial matter at all. “Okay, take a deep breath. Relax. I can sense the tension in your voice. This is a safe space. Please be calm”, I tried to calm her nerves and to get her to feel free to speak to me.

“I…I…am pregnant, sir, and I do not know how to tell my parents”, she finally let it out with tears rolling down her eyes.

This was a shocker to me, particularly because Rose completed 100 Level two months earlier, and just starting her 1st Semester 200 Level classes. At 19, she had been impregnated by a 500 Level student and felt her world was about to end.

I ensured not to scold or judge her at that stage. Seeing how broken she was, there was no need deepening her wounds further. So, I had to assume the role of a counsellor quickly by administering the “first aid”, which is to erase the idea that her world was about to end — an idea that could make her do something unthinkable or fatal.

I chose instead to motivate her the best way I could, advised her on the next steps to take, and of course, monitored her progress until she gave birth.

She finally graduated with her mates four years later with a Second-class (Upper Division) degree. Currently, Rose is married (not to the 500 Level guy) and doing well for herself today, and may probably see this write-up.

The second example.

Let’s call him Deji; who approached me after a BIO 101 class in early 2023.

I noticed he followed me behind until I got to my car. Then he asked, “Sir, I really enjoyed your class today. As a result, I am feeling guilty that I am not putting in enough effort in my academics. Therefore, I wish to come see you in your office to have a one-on-one discussion with you about it.” So I told him to visit me in my office the next day.

At the meeting, Deji revealed to me how he got two mouth-watering online jobs as a UI/UX designer which were paying him N200K each per month. He admitted that the jobs were time-consuming and not allowing him concentrate on his studies.

“Since we are in school to get a degree in order to make money, I just felt there was no point killing myself over the degree when I am already making money without it. I could even potentially make more money if I keep improving my tech skills”, he added.

On hearing this, I realised I had a very sensitive issue at hand, indicating that I needed to be careful with my response in order not to sound out-of-touch with recent developments.

Deji, I am absolutely proud of you that you took the initiative to learn such a profitable tech skill at such a young age. Now you are cashing out and balling! I am so impressed. Well-done!

Then I asked, “why then do you feel worried since you are already making money and clearly do not need the degree?”

He paused for a minute.

“Sir, I need the degree o. I need the education. I am aware of the social class system that may alienate me for not having a traditional degree. So, I think a blend of the degree with my current skill is vital for my future”, he revealed.

“You are wiser than your age and already know these truths. So, why do you think you need my advice?”, I drilled further.

“I have too much on my plate and do not have time to study”

“Well, that is because you are not prioritizing your degree. You think it doesn’t worth your time since you are already making money. Why not create some room in your plate for your university education so that your first GPA will not be terrible?”

He looked at me for a few seconds and said, “thank you sir. I am very grateful for your honest views”.

Few months later, he returned to me to share that he resigned from one of the tech roles to create more time for his studies, and that his GPA in 100 Level first semester was 4.1 on a 5.0 scale.

I smiled. 😊


As Lecturers, one of our subtle responsibilities even if not spelt out clearly in our job description is Counselling.

Don’t get me wrong. We are not trained counsellors; however, because we interface with young people a lot, who are likely to approach us from time-to-time with their personal concerns, one could refer to us as “the first responders”.

“First responders” are those who arrive at the scene of an emergency; could be firefighters or police officers.

In this case, Lecturers could be regarded as “first responders” in certain weighty matters that concern students’ well-being, before the appropriate authorities are contacted for further support.

Therefore, as first responders, it is important to note that you can assume the role of a counsellor at any time to get the most from your students.

No student will have the guts to share  personal concerns with a Lecturer who is always angry in class, shouting at students, abusing them whenever they miss a question or have a “dont come near me” aura.

Like Jesus would do by prioritizing the search of a single lost sheep, we Lecturers must also prioritize the needs of one or two emotionally broken individuals in our classrooms. Afterall, how can improved learning outcomes be achieved if there are strong emotional barriers holding a few students back?

Let’s play our subtle roles as counsellors to prevent non-academic barriers from stiffling our students’ academic progress and eventual career dreams.

I hope you enjoyed Episode 5?

Watch out for Episode 6.

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