MY EXPERIENCE AS A UI FRESHER

Hi.
I’m Dami.
I’m a student of the University of Ibadan (UI).
And I used to really hate it here.


In my first year of uni, if you’d asked me if I wanted to come back for a second degree, I’d have yelled back at you, “Hell no!” That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t give you the same response now. And no, I’m not saying I would either. I’m just saying that’s what I’d have said in my first year. Do you feel me? Good.


I’m studying English here at UI. It’s a fun course, English. I’ve just always really liked the language. I couldn’t tell you why, but one of my dreams as a child was to speak the Queen’s English, which is kind of silly. I know. But it was a major dream for me… On some level, it still is.


Anyway, I wasn’t offered English because I applied for Law and didn’t meet the cut-off or whatever. I was offered English because I applied for English.
So no. This is not about how I’m not studying the course of my dreams and the whole experience just sucks.


“What then is this about, Dami?” You might ask.


Okay, let me start with my first day at UI. It was a Sunday. My parents and elder sister were to drop me off in the evening at my hostel, Queen Idia hall. What a way to start a new week!

If you’re unlike me, you’re probably wondering why I’m being dramatic about this. “It’s a new phase, Dami! Think about the freedom! All alone by yourself. No one to monitor you and stuff.” Like I said, if you’re unlike me…
But for me? I’m an introvert and I don’t like a lot of people-related things. I don’t like going out,it literally exhausts me. I like my space, and I like what I’m familiar with. And UI was definitely not familiar. Oh, I’d been to the school a few times, but you know what I mean. It was a whole new phase!


Anyway, my parents dropped me off at my hostel and before they left, they made me pose in front of the gate and took pictures of me so they could send them to my other sisters. And I stood there with tears in my eyes– which they obviously didn’t see because no one commented on it– fuming and asking myself, “Are these people really going to leave me here?”


And truly, truly, they all shuffled back into the car and drove off.

Sigh.

By the end of that week, I was back at home to ‘pick up’ a text for one of my literature courses.

I wasn’t excited about the new freedom. I’m not an outdoorsy person so I’d never felt exactly caged. There was no newfound freedom that I was longing to explore. Nothing was changing. Except that I had to live with new people. And they were not family. And it was just very, very weird and difficult for me.

I had to go out of my way to interact with people which was so difficult. I’m not sure you can really understand the struggle honestly. My friend would tell me every day, “Dami, you have to make friends. You’ve just got to try.” I wanted to, but I didn’t know how to. I managed to make a few ones, mostly to get information on classes and stuff but they were nothing deep. Just people I knew casually and vice versa.

I used to be very lonely. I didn’t have people to go visit or to come to visit me. If I wasn’t at a class or fellowship meeting, you were sure to find me in my room! It made the whole experience just tiring and frankly miserable for me. There was also the part of settling into a new academic system; taking classes, doing assignments with so many choking deadlines, tests and so many registrations to do! Ugh! It was a lot and I just managed to get by.


But one thing I’ve learnt is that as humans, we’re inevitably going to have to move through different phases in life. I found out that I don’t like change. Like I said earlier, I like the familiar. I like what I’m used to.


And so one major thing I’ve learnt so far from my stay in UI is to embrace change.
While I won’t outrightly boast of mastering that, I think I’ve gotten the hang of it– fairly. I’ve gotten better. I can make conversations with strangers now– something I’d never be found doing before. I’ve just learnt to be willing to embrace changes and adapt to situations and just make the most of it.


So, maybe I still won’t go back for a second degree; maybe I will– but definitely not in UI. Ugh.


In either case, I’m making the most of now. Just trying to live my best life and I encourage you to do the same.