Kester Oyibo is a lawyer from Delta State in Nigeria. He recently completed his Masters studies in International Energy Law and Policy at the Centre for Energy, Petroleum and Mineral Law and Policy, (CEPMLP), University of Dundee, 2020. Kester was awarded the CEPMLP Director’s award for the period.
One Dundee: What attracted you to come to Dundee to study?
Kester: My first attractions to the city were football and the V&A Dundee. Growing up, I had always heard about Dundee United, but not much about the city of Dundee itself. However, while considering my city of choice to study in the UK, I realised that it ranked as one of the top 10 locations to visit in 2018 by the Wall Street Journal. Coincidentally, the V&A had just been opened to the public at about the same time. So I thought to myself ‘where best to undertake a master’s degree than the city of many discoveries?’.
One Dundee: Have you felt the information provided to students by the University has helped keep you informed of the coronavirus situation and how it affects you and the University?
Kester: The University has done pretty well to keep us informed on the coronavirus situation from its early stages. I recall that while the situation was yet developing in January, the University had set up a special committee that provided regular updates on the situation. When it eventually escalated in the UK, the updates from the committee became a daily routine. More so, the CEPMLP had a communications group which comprised of student reps to respond to student concerns and provide support. These efforts made it easier for me to deal with the coronavirus situation, and being up-to-date on the situation in a way kept me at ease mentally and helped me get on with my studies seamlessly.
One Dundee: Have you been in Dundee throughout the period of lockdown?
Kester: Yes, I have been in Dundee throughout the lockdown. Even though I had planned to travel to the highlands of Scotland about this time, the travel restrictions meant I had to remain in Dundee.
One Dundee:What has been your experience of lockdown? Are you with friends or family, or on your own?
Kester: I have been with just my flatmate who is also a wonderful, dear friend. The lockdown affected my usual physical and social interaction with friends and acquaintances. This meant I could not be with my other friends or participate in the activities that once defined my daily routine. However, I have tried to stay positive in my thoughts and invent new ways of keeping in touch with family and friends. Hanging out with friends via digital house parties and Zoom has become the new norm for me. Regular WhatsApp chats also made communication with family and friends easier.
One Dundee: Have you felt safe and supported?
Kester: Oh yes. I have followed the guidelines provided by the WHO and the recommendations of the University staff and the entire Dundee community. This has helped a long way in helping me feel safe and supported.
One Dundee:The University has had to change how we deliver courses and exams and assessments. How have you adapted to that?
Kester: The transition to online learning and resources was initially challenging. However, adapting was easier due to the support provided by the University library and IT support teams. Accessing online resources and interacting with the academic staff has been smooth. I recall having a video call with my course adviser and supervisor while working on my dissertation. It didn’t feel any different from the regular face-to-face communication we had in his office, other than he was miles away!
One Dundee: How have you been spending your time in lockdown when you aren’t studying?
Kester: I saw the lockdown as an opportunity to focus more on personal development in different ways. I have been attending several online webinars on diverse issues and I’ve also had more time to ride my bike around the city and enjoy its colourful scenery. Until now, I was totally oblivious of the many beautiful gardens and places of interest in this city. With the lockdown now eased a bit, I was able to walk the entire length of the Tay Bridge from Dundee to Newport which was quite an exhilarating experience. My trip to the Broughty Ferry was also fascinating as it was my first time at the beachside in a long while. Currently, the bulk of my time is spent working on Ph.D. applications and working on some research papers for publication.
One Dundee: What are your hopes and concerns now?
Kester: I am optimistic the coronavirus situation will ease out so I can enjoy the company of friends and family again. I am concerned that life may not be as we knew it, however, I believe that we have an opportunity to redefine our life priorities and lifestyle in a whole new positive way.