Posted in Cave View, Uncategorized

Exposing the Shortfall in Students Recommendation Letters- Written by Moses Ochonu

Let’s discuss how Nigerians unintentionally–or as a compatriot told me recently, intentionally–sabotage other Nigerians’ chances of upward socio-economic and educational mobility.
A talented Nigerian student/graduate is applying to a graduate program in Euro-America and asks her current or former lecturers to write her the required recommendation letters. Some of the lecturers don’t even bother to write the letter. The applicant has to chase them down and plead.

Sometimes they have to travel from one part of the country to the other to plead in person as phone calls, texts, and emails don’t work with the lecturers.
It’s as though the lecturers don’t want to support the applicant’s foreign educational aspirations. It’s part of their job, but lecturers act as if they’re doing their current and former students a favour by writing these letters. Many applicants have missed critical application deadlines because of this attitude.

The ones who agree to write the letter take the most cavalier attitude to it. They write unusable perfunctory nonsense such as “Ms. so and so was a student in our department; she was a well behaved student; she worked hard and performed well in her classes; she has a good character and is very respectful; her academic record is okay.”
Far from helping the applicant’s chances, this type of letter actually damages and puts her at a disadvantage in relation to her fellow applicants. I should know, since I’ve served on both graduate admissions and fellowship and grant committees many times.

Where to begin? First of all such a letter says nothing, absolutely nothing, about the applicant’s intellectual abilities, unique academic skills, or the specificities of their academic record. It is too general to be useful. It does not offer any insight into the lecturer’s academic/intellectual relationship with the applicant, so why should we take the
letter writer seriously as someone who can vouch for the applicant?
There is no mention of classes the applicant took with the lecturer, how they did in such classes, how they stood out, what they did to impress the lecturer, why the lecturer believes the applicant would thrive and blossom in the graduate program, etc.

There is no praise, no enthusiasm–only bland, lukewarm, generic comments. It’s better not to write a recommendation than to write one that does not endorse the applicant or highlight her intellectual promise and quality.
Then there is the issue of brevity. Some of these letters that I’ve seen are one paragraph or at most two–too sketchy to offer any substantive glimpse into the applicant’s abilities or give one a sense of the applicant’s unique talents and intellectual drive.

Finally, there is the annoyingly meaningless deployment of Nigerian idiosyncrasies and clichés. When a Nigerian lecturer writes “hard-working,” the North American evaluators of the applicant’s materials read it as “mediocre.” When the evaluators see a word such as “solid,” they don’t think it indicates excellence, as it might in Nigeria. In popular and even professional Nigerian usage, “okay” means good. Not so in the North American educational parlance. It does not mean good. Rather, it denotes bad or mediocre. Saying someone is “okay” indicates reservation, that the letter writer is holding back outright praise because the applicant does not deserve it.

And nobody wants to know or cares about the applicant’s personal character, so commenting on how well behaved or respectful she is is an unhelpful digression at best and at worst a damaging indication that you have nothing substantive or glowing to say about her academic abilities and intellectual talent. What has the applicant being “kind” got to do with her ability to undertake graduate work, cope
with its rigours, and do well?
I don’t know whether it is laziness on the part of the lecturers or a lack of awareness about Western higher educational conventions. I suppose it’s a mix of the two.

Whatever it is, these lecturers are destroying the chances and prospects of talented Nigerian applicants, who lose out of opportunities because their former or current teachers write non-recommendation recommendation letters on their behalf.
I’ve lived and worked in America long enough to know that, in making admission and other decisions, no evaluator will ignore a sketchy, general, and lukewarm endorsement from a person who purportedly knows and has taught and mentored the applicant–the recommender. If the recommending lecturer doesn’t sound so enthusiastic about the applicant, why should I? That’s the general attitude.

Ignorance of what is expected in the letter is no excuse. I’ve even seen such a letter which was written by a Nigeria- based lecturer who studied in the US and is thus aware of how critical recommendation letters are and how they should be written. This lends credence to the theory that some of this could be intentional sabotage on the part of
some recommending lecturers.
It is sometimes so sad and frustrating for folks like me to read recommendation letters from North American professors saying that such and such applicant is a reincarnation of Albert Einstein and Jacques Derrida in one flesh and then to read a meaningless three-sentence recommendation letter from a Nigerian lecturer about a Nigerian applicant you know is much more talented than the North American applicant whose abilities and talents are being advanced in highfalutin, exaggerated terms.

The interesting thing is that I read recommendation letters written by academics in other countries for other international applicants and they conform for the most part to the North American convention of high praise and substantive commentary on the applicant, her accomplishments, and her ongoing work.
We’re cheating ourselves and putting ourselves at a disadvantage in a globalized, hyper-competitive world.

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Posted in Uncategorized

The Misconceptions of Gender Equality

Diary of a Husband Material

serena

Accusations.

The narrative of having either of the two types of partners is gradually making room for the third category. The rich and faithful. The intelligent and handsome. And then the homely and help-mate.

In case you haven’t heard, those have been some of the overriding comments from most Nigerian ladies who have seen clips or pictures of Serena Williams’ multimillionaire husband, Alexis Ohanian, play the Daddy role and babysit their Child, as his wife returned to court after putting to bed.And this has formed their mantra for 2018 relationship goals and has touched the fanbase of so many diverse opinions.

In the past few days, my social media space has been flooded with women who hold these provocative views that Nigerian men, especially the wealthy ones, would never do such. Rather, they’ll employ a nanny- since their only area of domestic specialty is pinning the woman down during sex.

View original post 656 more words

Posted in #FOC, Bismark's Corner, Let's Meet You, Styles of the Cave, Uncategorized

FACE OF THE CAVE FOR THE WEEK (Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence)

The surest place to find the loveliest faces, right here, as always.


Name: Nwankwo Flora


State: Enugu


Field: Law


Likes: Honesty
Dislikes: Lies,Double standards


Favourite Quote: “A ‘No’ uttered from deepest conviction is better and greater than a ‘Yes’ merely uttered to please”

Yes! Age is just a number!!! Get your Anti- Aging Mask from Star MakeUpWorld/Spa at a very affordable price… Whatsapp us on 08094592460 to place orders.
#WhyLookBeautifulWhenYouCanLookGorgeous?


Name: Chukwuebuka Umennadi


State: Anambra


Occupation: Military
Hobbies: Adventures(biking, stunt) dancing and gyming.


Likes: Honestly, Truth and Justice.
Dislikes: Dishonesty, Lies and Injustice.


Favourite Quote: “You don’t have to be great before you start but you have to start to be great.”

_________________________
Quote For The Week
“When one man, for whatever reason, has the opportunity to lead an extraordinary life, he has no right to keep it to himself.” – Jacques Cousteau

To qualify for the next Face of the cave series
*Have your profile be a clear face shot.
*Give a brief description of yourself and please make sure to include your likes, dislikes and hobbies.
*Submit them to the chatterbox team within four days from now via bbm pin- 2898fd68 or inbox Bismark Ekenedilichukwu Benson on Facebook.

Cheers to the new Face of the cave!

Share your thoughts on this week’s faces in the comment box.
We’d also love for you to stay in touch with us! The best way to keep up to date is to subscribe to Bismark’s Cave. You can do this by tapping the ‘follow’ option.
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Posted in #FOC, Bismark's Corner, Let's Meet You, Styles of the Cave, Uncategorized

FACE OF THE CAVE FOR THE WEEK (Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence)

This week’s lovely faces are Faith and Romeo. See their profiles and stunning photos below.


Name – Faith Chinyere Eligbue


State- Anambra
Field – Social Work


Likes – Networking, Travelling, Reading, Sleeping.
Dislikes – Tribalism, Judgemental, Deceit.


Favourite Quote – “The smartest thing a woman can learn is to need a man.”


Contact – Eligbue Faith |Facebook

Yes! Age is just a number!!! Get your Anti- Aging Mask from Star MakeUpWorld/Spa at a very affordable price… Whatsapp us on 08094592460 to place orders.
#WhyLookBeautifulWhenYouCanLookGorgeous?


Name: Romeo Ugwuala


State: Abia
Profession: Politician/ Business man.


Likes: Reading, Watching the News, leadership roles.
Dislikes: Lies, Violence, Bandwagonism.


Favourite Quote: “Man know thyself is no abuse but the best advice of mankind.”


Contact: Romeo Ugwala |Facebook

_________________________
Quote For The Week
“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” – George Bernard Shaw

To qualify for the next Face of the cave series
*Have your profile be a clear face shot.
*Give a brief description of yourself and please make sure to include your likes, dislikes and hobbies.
*Submit them to the chatterbox team within four days from now via bbm pin- 2898fd68 or inbox Bismark Ekenedilichukwu Benson on Facebook.

Cheers to the new Face of the cave!

Share your thoughts on this week’s faces in the comment box.
We’d also love for you to stay in touch with us! The best way to keep up to date is to subscribe to Bismark’s Cave. You can do this by tapping the ‘follow’ option.
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Posted in #FOC, Bismark's Corner, Let's Meet You, Styles of the Cave, Uncategorized

FACE OF THE CAVE FOR THE WEEK (Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence)

Every week we honour the best faces you can find on the planet, not just for making us drool in awe of their good looks, but for being exceptionally unique.
This week’s faces are: Mario and Esther.


Name: Erewhesa O. Francis


State: Delta


Field: ICT


Likes: Smart and brilliant minds
Dislike: Laziness


Favourite Quote: “Never allow anyone break your spirit nor take your dreams”


Contact: Erewhesa Mario France |Facebook

Yes! Age is just a number!!! Get your Anti- Aging Mask from Star MakeUpWorld/Spa at a very affordable price… Whatsapp us on 08094592460 to place orders.
#WhyLookBeautifulWhenYouCanLookGorgeous?


Name: Esther Uma


State: Abia


Field /Profession: Student |Biomedical Technology


Likes: Food, food, cooking, food, Dan Brown’s books, Greek mythology
Dislikes: Lies, snitches, social media addicts


Favourite Quote: “To be angry is easy, but to be angry at the right time, at the right person, for the right reason is difficult”


Contact: Esther Golden Uma |Facebook

_________________________
Quote For The Week
“What sunshine is to flowers, smiles are to humanity. These are but trifles, to be sure; but, scattered along life’s pathway, the good they do is inconceivable.” – Joseph Addison

To qualify for the next Face of the cave series
*Have your profile be a clear face shot.
*Give a brief description of yourself and please make sure to include your likes, dislikes and hobbies.
*Submit them to the chatterbox team within four days from now via bbm pin- 2898fd68 or inbox Bismark Ekenedilichukwu Benson on Facebook.

Cheers to the new Face of the cave!

Share your thoughts on this week’s faces in the comment box.
We’d also love for you to stay in touch with us! The best way to keep up to date is to subscribe to Bismark’s Cave. You can do this by tapping the ‘follow’ option.
_______________________
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Posted in Cave View, Uncategorized

Sex and Minors – Written by Jude Eze

I hardly ever meet anyone whose first sexual experience was with their age mate. There’s always one older guy or older girl involved.
I had my first girlfriend at age fourteen and all we ever did was gist and hold hands; then the occasional side hugs and peck on the cheek which came like once in a blue moon. We were two naive teenagers and were really innocent like that.
Until that SS 3 girl I met during my JSS 3 showed me the forbidden fruit; she was nineteen and I was fifteen.

It’s funny how African parents see two teenagers of the same age who are fond of each other and try to break them apart, thinking they’re protecting them from having sex.
But the truth is, these kids don’t need protecting from each other.

The average teenage boy is scared of a vagina and the average teenage girl thinks that if she holds hands with a boy for too long she’ll get pregnant. With their innocence, they pose no real threat to each other.
It takes the influence of an older person to open their eyes and make them sexually active.

Of all the teenage girls you know who ever got pregnant, how many of them were impregnated by boys the same age as them?
Think about it.
You see all those aunties and uncles in your neighbourhood always calling your kids ‘my husband’ or ‘my wife’, those brothers and sisters from Bible studies, your kid’s baby sitter, your gate man, your house girl, your house boy, those relatives from your extended family; these are the people you should really watch out for.

While you’re busy driving away your son’s female classmates and beating up your teenage daughter for talking to teenage boys, one adult is there showing them everything they’re probably still too young to know about sex right under your nose and you’ll never even know about it.
And because these sexual predators are adults and you’ve estranged your kids with your strict high handedness, they’ll be too scared to open up to you about the abuse they’re suffering. Until you wake up one morning and find your daughter heavily pregnant or your son a victim of STI.

When I finally become a parent, I would strongly endorse my kids to go out with their age mates.
I would also be the first person to talk to them about sex.
And I don’t mean all these ignorant myths peddled around our African society, I’m talking about the truth; the real facts.

Lass lass young people will have sex whether you as a parent like it or not.
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Posted in Bismark's Corner, Let's Meet You, Styles of the Cave, ThrowBackThursday, Uncategorized

FUNNY THROW BACK THURSDAY PICTURES – Dipping Into The Archives

Here’s another exciting throwback segment. Check out these selected Cave Members today and before. Try not to laugh as you observe the huge transformation in looks & overall appearance…Lol

| Valens Ije ColdFlame

i been dey wear coat before

| Babundo Phoebe Oluchi

Just before my Makeup Session

| Angel Utitofon Michael

Someone stole my glasses

| Amram Emeka Ani

Mike Tyson on fleek

| Arunne P Chinenye

Sister Chi why did you leave Our Ladies of the Light

| Akhigbe Samson

I remember when I was a bouncer in Banana Island

| Jude Eze

No be today we don dey force bear bear come

| James Onyemkpa

When I dey use neck listen to song

| Augustine Pianointing Gcfr

When we be dey snapchat with Father Christmas filter

| Adeniyi Aia

Before and after 50 years in za wilderness

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Posted in #FOC, Bismark's Corner, Let's Meet You, Styles of the Cave, Uncategorized

FACE OF THE CAVE FOR THE WEEK (Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence)

Every week we honour the best faces you can find on the planet, not just for making us drool in awe of their good looks, but for being exceptionally unique.
This week’s faces are: Ruth and Gabriel.


Name: Ewy Ruth Aigbogun


State: Edo
Field: Philosophy and Early Child Education


Likes: Children, Horror/ Movies/ Novels/trying out new dishes
Dislikes: Promise and fail, snitches.


Favourite Quote: ‘cogito ergo sum’ – René Descartes


Contact: Ewy Ruth Aigbogun |Facebook

Yes! Age is just a number!!! Get your Anti- Aging Mask from Star MakeUpWorld/Spa at a very affordable price… Whatsapp us on 08094592460 to place orders.
#WhyLookBeautifulWhenYouCanLookGorgeous?


Name: Marcellinus Akpowho Gabriel


State: Cross River


Dislike: Liars
Like: The good things of life and truth.


Favourite Quote: “Life is a lesson try to be the teacher of your faith and destiny”


Contact: Marcel Gabriel |Facebook

_________________________
Quote For The Week
“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” – Mohandas Gandhi

To qualify for the next Face of the cave series
*Have your profile be a clear face shot.
*Give a brief description of yourself and please make sure to include your likes, dislikes and hobbies.
*Submit them to the chatterbox team within four days from now via bbm pin- 2898fd68 or inbox Bismark Ekenedilichukwu Benson on Facebook.

Cheers to the new Face of the cave!

Share your thoughts on this week’s faces in the comment box.
We’d also love for you to stay in touch with us! The best way to keep up to date is to subscribe to Bismark’s Cave. You can do this by tapping the ‘follow’ option.
_______________________
Have a story for us? Or want to place ads on the page?
Reach us on our social media handles
Facebook | Bismarks Cave
Instagram | @bismarkscaveblog

Posted in Cave View, Uncategorized

Our Collective Malaise; Our Collective Amnesia – by Michael Okoye

I do watch House of Cards – the television political drama about the rise of the power-hungry Underwoods. I stopped midway into the season 5 having been thoroughly disgusted by the fact that the couple were going to get away with murder – literally. The series is make believe but I couldn’t help but connect events in the series to our reality. Politicians get away with murder on a daily basis and get an easy ride.

A governor gets elected, refuses to pay workers’ salaries, dis-continues projects of his predecessor, doesn’t undertake projects of his own. He sits in his office and enjoys the glamour and power that comes with the position. Does the square root of fuck-all and gets re-elected after four years. The Otumokpor these politicians yield no be small one o. How come they know our ‘mumu’ buttons and keep pressing at will. It’s because we don’t have a mumu button anything. We’re all suffering from amnesia.

For a people who think themselves smart, this a big problem. Politicians are immune to scandals. It is their breakfast, lunch and dinner; criticisms don’t get to them. They know we’re a nation of forgetful people. They know we can’t sustain a rally against corruption for long. We’ll rather sit at home and discuss Big Brother Naija. They know us all too well. Being in public service in Nigeria is a dream vacation for a politician. They know they wouldn’t be held accountable for their duty. They will simply sleep walk through the whole thing and flash images of ‘progress’ achieved, fling crumpled notes in our direction and watch us dance to their beat. It’s all too familiar.

There has been terrible Heads of States in our history but Buhari is a leading contender for the worst Head of State of all time. Pre-election campaigns of fighting corruption died a familiar Nigerian death once he assumed the role of president. A president who sees rule of law as nothing more than a flexible tool and uses it when it suits him. How do you explain the fiasco about hate speech and the plan to monitor social media accounts of ‘VIPs’ and notable Nigerians. Since arriving, he has managed to sink our economy and apportioned blame to everyone but himself. He lives in a delusional reality where everything negative isn’t his fault and minute achievements are accrued to him. This president has failed on almost every count. But he knows it wouldn’t really matter.

He only has to appear fit enough to mumble ‘corruption’ and masses of idiots would troop to vote to keep the disaster in office. Fulani herdsmen are currently leaving the residents of Benue state in perpetual anguish. There has been unprecedented slaughter in the Northern state but there has been no decisive action from the ex-military man. This is not the first time Herdsmen have made the news since Buhari’s arrival. They keep pillaging through communities, destroying crops and murdering anyone who stands in their way.

Cows have become a little more important than humans. And this uncaring wicked government continue playing the ostrich while the citizenry are at the mercy of the fourth deadliest terrorist group in the world. Doesn’t that scare you? That the fourth deadliest killers are not confined to one space but could appear at your doorsteps to wipe you and your family away at the slightest perceived wrong doing.
The youths who are supposed to be the pillars of the nation are idle doing nothing, saying nothing. Our future generations may not see a country to live in if we continue like this. The situation is dire but power, I believe, still remains with us. We need to wake up from this prolonged slumber and grapple our future away from the people who’ve put them in jeopardy.

We instead choose to prioritise frivolities. We can’t stand up and do the right thing.
This time around, ‘anything but Buhari’ wouldn’t do. It is what brought us to the state were we are. We made that mistake and have suffered incredibly for it. There has to be thorough vetting of whom ever we’re installing at Aso Rock. This is not a time to pick parties. PDP, APC are all parties with very little difference. They are twins with different names. We have to be bold in choosing our next Head of State. Going against the grain has never been a Nigerian way but we’ll choose a different way this time. The rape has gone on far too long, it’s time we kick our rapists in the groin and escape further unwarranted punishment.

This is the time to start talking. Leaving it late has made us susceptible to wrong choices time and time again. Anyone coming to serve us has to give detailed account of how we’d make progress as a nation.

Have you gotten your PVCs?

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