New environments can be quite a bit overwhelming especially added with the academic pressures. Toyosi,a student of a typical Nigerian University has chosen to share with us a little of her experiences during her first semester at the University conducted during my interview with her.
What was it like on your first day of school?
“It was an overwhelming experience because I was new to the University environment and system where I was not privy to all the unwritten rules and regulations. From asking for help from strangers to locating the lecture halls, it was a somewhat tiring experience. It was also boring because I had no acquaintances yet at the time.”
Were people mean to you on your first day?
“No. Everyone was really nice and polite. Other people approached me before striking up a conversation with them.”
Was it easy to make friends?
“It was easy to make friends, mostly in class. Good conversation starters such as,’what subject is this, what do we have next?’and from there to discussing about assignments and registration among other things. Very soon, we were inviting each other to our hostels and eating together. That’s how friendship begins.”
How did you cope with roommates?
“It wasn’t difficult at first because you’re all new to each other and very friendly until you really get to know each other. I would also say first impressions are important especially kindness. It’s important to be polite and friendly. The attitude you give out is what you will get in return like ‘do me I do you, man no go vex’. After living together for a while, you begin to discover each other’s annoying habits. Some people don’t like being corrected. You quarrel and makeup, quarrel and makeup again. It’s a recurring cycle.”
Did you have any problems with any lecturer or staff of the university?
“Not really. There were little test and attendance issues, just minor issues though, nothing major.”
Is it hard being away from your family for the first time?
“What I really miss is my younger sister doing my chores for me. Plus, I have relatives who live not very far from the university. Then again, I’m free so what’s there to miss?”
Did you encounter any financial problems?
“The expenses were endless, test payments, photocopies, minor wants like a handbag that I fancy or footwear and also some meat or chicken when I felt like it. Seeking financial assistance from home consecutively wasn’t the best idea. We’re all aware of the economic situation of the country. Fortunately, I could sustain myself because of my skills in hairstyling and making pastries such as doughnuts to sell. Sometimes, I got blisters for standing too long due to hairstyling. It made me miss secondary school a bit because a very large percentage of my expenses at the time were taken care of by my parents. Now, I have to be a little more independent. That’s why it’s important to possess a skill that you can harness to your advantage.”
How do you handle relationships along with school stress?
“It was good having someone to talk to and have fun with. Classes typically end by four or five at noon. I retire back to the hostel to rest and do other necessary stuff. Then later, we see each other, talk about how our day went among other things. When you’re with your partner, it helps relieve some of the stress. It’s like both of you are in your own little bubble where what is going on outside cannot penetrate.”
How do you deal with theft among students?
“ There’s nothing like stealing in my hostel. Although, one of my clothes went missing when I put it out to dry after washing but I believe it was human error. Someone probably accidentally packed it along with her clothes by mistake.”
Do you have enemies?
“ I wouldn’t necessarily call them enemies but it’s not uncommon for some people to naturally dislike you. Everybody can’t like you or be your friend. Some pretend as though they like you but deep inside, they hate you. I won’t say I have enemies but I have people that I don’t want to roll with at all.”
What is the student life like?
“Students do a lot of crazy shit, young people in general do a lot of funny things. Sometimes,my friends and I leave our hostel when there’s no electricity and go to church because of the electricity present there. We take our extensions and chargers. It’s the main reason why we go to church. We take other people’s drinks for fun and laugh about it together. We go to parties uninvited to eat food. It’s just like secondary school but more advanced because of the presence of freedom and independence. You can go out at anytime without anyone questioning you about where you’re headed to. You can also return at anytime without questions like,’ where are you coming from?’ If you like, go to your boyfriend’s place for hundred days, noone will hold you to it. School gossip is also entertaining, extraordinary everyday.”
Have you adjusted properly to the university environment and system?
“ Yes, very well. It’s like second nature to me now.”
In summary, how was your first semester at the university?
“ Stressful. It came at me from different angles. The stress of registration, going early to classes coupled with my business. It was a lot. There was just a little fun here and there.”
If you had a chance to relive your first semester, what would you have done differently?
“ I would have stopped the trades that I did during my first semester. It only added to the stress. I would have also gone out more. I was a little scared of going out because I’m not used to going out.”
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Happy Easter everyone ✨.