Surviving through a Nigerian university.

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Surviving through university is one of the hardest things to do in life” – there I said it – and I don’t mean
going into university to freestyle and graduate with a pass, no. I mean actually passing through school and
school passing through you, making your A’s, going through all the physical and emotional challenges,
balancing academic, social and spiritual life, making life changing decisions, running a business (in some
cases) and basically living and making the most out of being in school . Staying in school is HARD (but then, what is not hard in Nigeria?)
Many youths in Nigeria today drop out from school due to inability to cope under these circumstances and I’m not even going to blame them entirely because half the time we are not mentally prepared for all the campus ups and downs and everyone definitely has a threshold.

Fresh out of high school we are all so pumped and hyped to get into university because we are going to be
‘free’ from parents/guardians and are so excited to take charge of our lives and do whatever we like that
we miss the whole plot and we get so disappointed when things don’t go as planned in our head and
halfway into the first semester and we realize ‘this thing no be joke oh” and we keep managing this
hardship four to five to six years into school. I’ll be pointing out some tips in this post on how to survive
being in the university from the first day.

1. HAVE ZERO EXPECTATIONS: This will probably save you from a whole lot of emotional trauma. Right
after senior year we usually get this talk from people on what to ‘expect’ in school. Now there’s a
difference between taking advice and moving based on some advice. If Mary says “school is tough, it’s not
worth it. You’ll go through a lot that don’t matter, don’t stress, nobody makes it out alive” (literally
speaking), you’re obviously going to have this notion and if you operate based on this, it’s exactly what you
get. Have little or no expectations from what school delivers and everything will be fine.

2. CONNECT/MEET WITH PEOPLE ON ALL LEVELS: The first time I started walking up to people to ask
questions and clarify things started in the university and by doing that I met a lot of people from different
classes and departments and things became less difficult. I’ll advise you to drop that quiet/shy/closed-
up/double-thinking personality at home and be ready to move with the flow because 90% of your first time
in that large organization will be profound confusion and shyness won’t take you far enough.

3. HAVE FAITH/BELIEVE IN SOMETHING: Or hold on to something (because faith is quite cliché). I have
faith in God, I have faith in something. If things are spiraling out of my control then I know who to
run/speak to. This should be same for everyone trying to cross a major hurdle(like school), you need to
have something/someone you live for during trying times because there are times we all get down to our
last and this where your faith comes in.

4. READ, READ, READ: Reading is largely underrated especially in school and you only know this when you
actually start reading a lot (6-8 hours). I always used to think I was a good reader until I started reading for
long hours then I realized those times were child’s play. I just want to put it out there that effective reading
will get you far more than you expect and this is a proven fact. For tips on how to read effectively read
here http://whytoread.com/how-to- read-simple- reading-strategies- read-effectively

5. PLAY: Play as much as you work because your brain cells need it. Learn to unwind. Take a break no
matter how busy you get and this will keep you happier and more motivated to get school work done.

6. JOIN EXTRA CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES/DO WHAT YOU LOVE: There are a thousand after school work
that goes on in and around school to engage in from school politics, singing groups, movie/drama groups,
volunteer work, and many others. Engage in what you enjoy doing! Apply to learn a skill, develop that
talent of yours and watch your school life thrive.

-By Olive Nwafor.

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