As a final year Nigerian student, I can say that being a Nigerian university student has been a mix of fun, struggles, tiredness, and days of wanting to give up. Attending a Nigerian university can be challenging as Nigerian universities are another world filled with different people, cultures, and languages, all of which comes with its struggles.
In Nigeria, there are public and private universities, and the public universities comprise the federal and state universities. Whether you attend a federal, state, or private university, there are certain experiences you have as a Nigerian university student; these experiences make one’s stay in school memorable. I still remember vividly my reaction when I gained admission to the university. I logged into the university portal to check if I had been given admission; the experience was so scary.
I successfully logged into the portal, and filled in the required information, and BOOM! I found my name (YOU’VE BEEN ADMITTED). Immediately, I tossed my phone onto the bed, and I screamed. I ran to meet my parents to inform them about the great news. My joy knew no bound.
Writing this, I have the moments playing in my head, and I am just here smiling. Yes, I was excited; however, I was nervous too. I wasn’t sure of what to expect on the new journey.
As a young girl about to start an independent life, I had heard different horror stories about Nigerian universities, and this made me very sacred: stories of how lecturers harassed students and scary stories about cult groups in universities.
The Yoruba movie industry also contributed to my fear because they never portray Nigeria universities as a good place. Most of their university’s movies always center on cultism and killing. Even as I was celebrating my admission with my family, I couldn’t stop thinking about these unpleasant stories; they made me curious about a journey I had not even started.
You probably noticed my extreme excitement when I related the news of my admission; I needed to state that because gaining admission to a public university in Nigeria can be a daunting experience. Admission in Nigeria is like GOLD! A student in Nigeria is required to take WAEC, JAMB, and after that, will have to take another exam in the institution of choice before he or she gets accepted into that institution.
It is even easier to gain admission into a private university than a public university. A few Nigerians are so lucky to gain admission to any Nigerian public university after their first attempt. 6 out of 10 Nigerian university students try multiple times before they eventually get accepted into the university.
Asides from the struggle to gain admission, most applicants do not always get their desired course of choice. Only 2 out of 10 Nigerian university students study their desired course in a Nigerian university. All this is because of the large population i.e., the applicants are higher than the space provided, and the government is not ready to do better.
Nigeria’s education system still has a lot of things to work on.
WHAT MY YEARS IN THE UNIVERSITY HAVE BEEN LIKE
My overall years in the university have been a learning curve, fun, and a daily struggle. Each year came with unique challenges for me.
Getting straight into the university after my secondary school was a bit shaky. In my first year, I was a clueless young lady winging everything. My first year had a lot of new experiences in store for me: it was my first time living alone. I had to make decisions, manage my time, cook my food, wash my clothes, read, wake up early for lectures, clean my room. WHOOP! It was a lot. Seriously, my first year was more of winging it with a taste of fresh struggles.
My second year was an upgrade, I had adjusted to the university system, and I had friends that were in the same department as me.
My third and fourth years were great, and my fifth year has been a wonderful experience. I learned to be more of an organizer, manager, and all.
University forces you to grow up: it pushes out the adult inside of you. I can say I’m no longer that young girl that winged it at first. It has been years of hard work in total.
GOOD AND BAD EXPERIENCES FROM A NIGERIAN UNIVERSITY STUDENT
Probably all students at their point of entry into the university believe they are going to have the best time of their lives. But, the university years are a mix of experiences.
Talking about a good experience, I met amazing people! Meeting new people was what I enjoyed most about my university years; I made a lot of friends. Another pleasant experience is passing my examinations after long nights and days of studying hard. Passing exams makes a student’s experience even better. Every student loves to pass his/her exams.
One of the bad experiences I had was when I failed a course; it is an experience I don’t like to remember.
The worst thing about studying in a Nigerian university is the break in the academic calendar. Lecturers go on indefinite strikes without considering the students, and refusal of the academic staff to work takes a toll on the students. Nigerian university students are always at the receiving end of these actions, and it dwindles their academic performances.
The indefinite strike disrupts the calendar, causing a prolonged school year that exceeds the designated periods. Students who are supposed to study a five-year course end up spending eight years for a simple degree program.
Nigeria’s education system is also poor. There are cases where students have to make photocopies of their lab manuals out of their pocket money because the government has refused to provide it for them. There are also cases where practicals are cancelled because the needed materials are not available in the laboratory, and sometimes cancelled for lack of electricity.
Poor standard of teaching is another unpleasant experience: there are no available or limited resources to teach the students effectively. For example, a case where the university has the apparatus, but nobody in the whole faculty knows how to operate it, and students have to pay to bring an expert from outside to operate the machine. Yeah, it happens!
It is no surprise that people often talk more about the downside of studying at Nigerian universities than the advantages. However, there are still advantages to studying at a Nigerian university. Schooling in Nigeria puts you under stress and pressure, which prepares you for real-life situations. On the bright side, the cost of studying at a Nigerian university is also cheap and affordable.
If you intend to study at a Nigerian University, here are 6 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
1. Get involved in other activities
Life is not all about good grades. It is important to make the most of your university years. Alongside learning, gain other skills, and get involved in extracurricular activities. Skills like communication skills, how to relate with people, working under pressure, and lots more can be quite helpful in life.
Also, gain skills that can be a source of income to you e.g. baking, tailoring, and so on; gaining these skills comes in handy in Nigeria because it can be quite difficult to get a part-time job as a Nigerian university student.
2. What you learn in school differs from what you meet in the actual world.
School is a world of its own, and the real world is the ACTUAL WORLD, so at every given opportunity, volunteer to work as an intern in your field of study.
3. Make the most of your first year
Your first year in the university is crucial, so learn quickly. Do all your registrations on time, and imbibe a good reading habit. By the time you move to the other years, different activities emerge, which makes balancing school and other activities quite hard. So, get yourself together in your first year.
4. Join a study group
You can cover the whole syllabus on your own if you have an efficient study group. Speaking from experience, I’ve learned that reading or studying with people helps a lot. Yes, some people are geniuses and might not need to study much, but if you are not one of those people (lol), be aware of what reading pattern works for you.
5. Learn time management
In a Nigerian University, if you are all for the parties and fun, you will get it there; however, time management is crucial. Manage your time well between your classes and activities.
As much as grade is not everything, nobody wants to fail!
6. Establish a good relationship with your lecturers and course advisers.
Being a Nigerian university student is fun. My number one advice is to make the most of your university years to avoid regrets. Study hard! Make friends! Have fun! Take up extracurricular activities.
Also, the stress in a Nigerian university is overwhelming; don’t allow the stress to eat you up. Have fun! I wish I knew this early.
I hope you find this post helpful, informative, and interesting.
I’m an affiliate pharmacist and a blogger who shares relatable lifestyle content that includes how we live our lives, how we think about ourselves, and our relationship with God.
Alongside blogging, I’m also learning to write. I’m a bit shy, and for someone who loves to share as I learn, writing is a good platform. I also share useful personal development tips on my blog.
I also share handwritten Nigerian recipes on my blog. My passion for food brought forth my small food business, and I am proud of that.