PEOPLE YOU MEET IN YOUR FIRST DAYS

Dear bloody freshers,

Believe me; I used that term with all shades of endearment. I know you must be basking in the excitement of being finally students of University of Ibadan, the acclaimed first and the best. The first part, we can verify but the best? Heh, I will leave you to decide that. I also believe some of you must be living in a dreamland where you see this place as a paradise of sorts- where you live in outmost comfort and get everything easily and where you don’t have to go through much hassle before you get something done. It is after all the first and the best university. Everything is within your reach but not at all times; time will unravel what I mean by this. Get a grip and give yourself a reality check. This dream won’t last for much longer, trust me.
I have this feeling that the lot of you have so many questions about what this place is like. The mind of a fresher in his first days in a community like this is basically a hub of unanswered questions, confused thoughts and utter cluelessness. Most of these questions would be answered as you continue your stay in the university. Be patient and be sure you can completely trust people you ask for help. Life in UI is not rocket science. However, it might be just good that you know the different kinds of people you are likely to meet. My guess is you have already met some of them.
UI POLITICIANS
We are not all about academics here. The university recognises the existence of students’ associations with the Students’ Union being at the apex. While there may be absence of political parties, we have politicians that make sure we don’t miss the drama that naturally comes along with politics. And trust me; we get enough dose of the stuff.
Let me tell you a story about UI politicians. Wait, there is nothing to say about them actually; they follow the same modus operandi of the typical Nigerian politician. They rally around you only when they realise how important you are to their political aspirations and whatnot. And that this time of the session, freshmen are their easy targets. You may have noticed that some people have been really eager to help you with your registrations and have been patient in answering your numerous questions. They are normally suave and have a charismatic way of doing almost anything. Genuine smiles seem to have been completely etched on their face and they generally come off as kind, helpful and absolutely selfless. If you think they are like these because hope in humanity is not yet lost; I’m sorry, I’ve got news for you. What more? Most WhatsApp groups you are in are likely to have been created for political reasons.
It is good that they are helping; I have nothing against that. I just thought you should know the underlying reason they may not reveal to you immediately. It’s all tactics for a campaign strategy; you are not special or something. Pardon me, you are really special. You possess and wield a powerful hold over them and they are really smart to know that. Just make sure anybody you would go all the way for is someone worth it. See? Few weeks of being students and you are going to be faced with a decision that would affect the entirety of students in this community. This is one of the numerous and not so easy decisions you would have to make through your years here. Welcome to UI.
RELIGION- CENTRIC FOLKS
The University of Ibadan is a miniature of the Nigerian society. Maybe power supply is less erratic and the road network is somewhat better than the average Nigerian roads but don’t be fooled, you are still here. We know how really crazy we are about religion in our part of the world. Personally, I think we would be better off if we are more liberal with such concepts as religion. However, that’s not the issue now.
Now, there are lots of religious organisations and fellowships here and may be or may not be on hunt for new members at this time of the session. Consider this as a heads up, you may be stopped by random people who would love to preach the word of God to you and invariably invite you to their fellowships.
Also, as a freshman you should expect that not all knocks you get on your doors are from people you know or expect. Your doors would be opened to a lot of strange faces who prefer making room calls. Please do not get me wrong, I’m not trying to antagonise them in the least; I know better than to do that. The point is the odds of you meeting such people are extremely high.
HALL PORTERS
Mostly, the university is a free and independent place. A sharp contrast to what you have had in secondary schools. You do things at your own tide. Nobody is here to watch or guard your every move or restrict your movement. Nobody simply cares what you do. Cool huh? Yeah, I guess but it is also pertinent to note that with freedom comes even a greater responsibility; responsibilities to yourself.
However, you are not completely independent. I guess everything has a limit to it. You may have had encounters with your hall’s porters and you may like or may not like some of them already. I’m sorry, you are stuck with them.
Friendly advice; think of them more as your guardians and try to make friends with them, some are friendly but some are also entirely mean. The best thing you can do for yourself is to try your possible best to stay out of trouble.
THE CTY BELIEVERS
(Returning students should turn away now)
CTY is an abbreviation of Catch Them Young. In the UI context, it predominantly applies to the fresh female students being chased by stale male guys. This is a period where the FFS are kind of seen as vulnerable and somewhat naïve by the STG. If you are a female student, you should have met some returning students who have been quick to dash you a smile and introduce themselves. If you haven’t, be rest assured that they would soon come knocking.
You may like all the attention you get now and how they tend to flock around you but I believe I have the obligation to tell you that this is a cycle, you are the fresh blood now but you won’t always be. Another set of students will be admitted and just like that, you don’t get all the attention as you used to. If you suddenly believe that all the guys in your class or year are too young for you because some guys who have been in school before you did seem to be rooting for you, think again. It will not always remain this way.
POSTSCRIPT
“Your academics is the principal reason you are here”
You must have heard this statement a lot, in different variations. It is true; it really is true. However, it would be in the best interests not to let your quest for academic excellence overshadow your mind completely that you would not have time or the enthusiasm to engage in other activities that would undoubtedly make you a better person. Forgive me if I sound pessimistic but that may be suicidal- not literally though.
Of course, your primary aim is to study but as you probably know already, that is not really sufficient in this present age. Therefore, you would be doing yourself a lot of good if you decide against being an academic robot and get yourself active in other undertakings. UI has a lot to offer in these areas. Join students organisations; there are lots of them, be involved in school politics, join the sport council if you are a sport person. Just don’t be all about the book life. This might sound sentimental but campus journalism and press organisations are certainly one of the best student-oriented activities that could let you grow.
I hope you have a fruitful stay in this university. Good luck guys; believe me, you are going to need it.

TOHEEB

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