Starting anything for the first time has never been easy with anyone and starting school as a newbie is not an exception either. There are so many things that a Fresher, Jambite, New Student needs to know and it becomes harder if it is a foreign student who has not known Nigeria or Plateau state before.
In order to succeed in Life and also in your Academics, certain things need to be taken into consideration because it is at the beginning that Foundation is laid for everything that you will become in life.
Let us consider some aspects of life and how it will affect your stay in the university.
1. Social life
2. Academic life
3. Spiritual life
I will be talking on the different aspects of life in relation to you starting life at the university.
1. Social Life:
Interacting with people is essential to your success in the university and also in life because you cannot exist on your own, the type of people around you matter because they will influence you in almost everything you do.
Since no man is an island, it means that you need people to get things done. Your ability to interact with people will help you to succeed.
We all come from different backgrounds, Families, Cultures and have different Beliefs and Ideologies; all these things come together to shape our lives and could affect us positively and negatively. Whatever your ideologies are, just know that you are coming to meet other people of like minds and of different minds. It will be good if you try to learn and adjust to some of your behaviors in order to cope with the new university environment.
A. So the first thing you need to know is being Polite. When you are polite it will make people to love and cherish you, it helps to wade off hatred and makes someone not to think of harming you, but instead reciprocate the love. Politeness could come in various ways such as:
Simply greeting your roommates when you wake up in the morning: it will not make anyone to look down on you, but it will create friendship and brotherly kindness among your roommates.
Always try to use the word Please when you need them to help you do something.
Do not assume things and start behaving unusual, it is better you ask about something first before you assume that someone in the room might have done what you may be thinking. Sometimes, you could misplace something or someone might have borrowed it, when you come to the room and you find out it is not there, rather than being angry, it is better you ask in a polite manner rather than assuming. By assumptions, you will create a lot of enmity among people.
B. The second thing is being good and Kind: Kindness shown to someone will help to create a peaceful and caring environment. For instance, if it is raining and your roommate is not in the hostel and he dried his clothes outside, would you prefer to be kind to pack the clothes for him inside or you will allow them to be soak by rain? When you pack the clothes, the person will be happy and will always like to reciprocate the same or different act of kindness.
When you are writing exams and your hostel roommate might have finished his own exams, will you be happy whenever you come back and you find out that your roommate kept food for you? Definitely it will make you happy because he is considerate to have kept food for you.
Though it is good to be kind, you should not be foolish to just pack everything and be feeding another person with it. Just try to help where you can help. You also need to know that the person you are helping today could be of help to you tomorrow even when you must have graduated.
C. Avoid Bad friends: You will come across bad students and also others that pretend to be students but are not students. You need to avoid bad companions such as smokers, drunkards, cultists, arrogant and wild students. It would be good if you stay away from such kind of people. At the university, whatever you do will be handed over to the security of the country. It is not like secondary school that you will be reported to your principal. Just know that whatever you commit will directly affect you and your studies. Bad friends will not help you get good credits, they will teach you how to do exam malpractice and when you are caught, you will leave the school and your name will be on the national dailies and such an act could affect your career in the future because people could use it against you.
Move around with people that add value to your life such as those that encourage you to read, attend lectures, prayer meetings and the likes.
D. Try not to be Isolated: I know some people might not interact well due to communications issues; there are people that cannot speak good English and when you meet with those who can speak well, it becomes a problem and you may not be able to relate well with them even though they may be good. The best thing is to try to speak out, though they may laugh at you, you will get to learn with time and this will help you when finally you leave the university and you are ask to speak to a large congregation of people. So never feel bad when people laugh at your mistakes, but always try to learn whenever you make mistakes.
E. Do not be a Know it all kind of person: You will continue to learn from people no matter how brilliant you are. There are different kinds of ways to achieve any kind of task in life. So when someone does not agree with you, simply ignore them and allow them try out their own ideas too. Do not try to be the only one that thinks you know better. Try to learn from others too because they may have something you may not know.
Your ability to interact with people is the most important thing you will need to do while in school because a good friend could help you with money or advice when you are in need. A good friend could get handouts for you while you are absent in school, a good friend could help you when you are sick in school; so the most important thing you need is making good friends and being a good friend. It comes first before even Academics.
2. Academic Life:
Your reason for being in school is to acquire knowledge and be good in what you went to study. If at the end of the day you end up being expelled, or repeat or come out with bad grades, it is because you never did what you were supposed to do. Getting good grades in academics is very easy especially when you start early and you know the secrets of reading.
You are supposed to start reading the moment you are in school and make it a habit to read every day no matter how little it might be. The human body always likes to do what you have trained it to do. So if you are starting out and you fail to start reading and rather accumulate the work that you are supposed to do until you hear of exams, you will only end up failing. Try to always read and ask other friends about it. Join discussion groups and learn from others, it is the secret of passing exams. But if you think you can do on your own the way it was done while you were in secondary school, be ready to have Carry overs.
Orientation about the nature of the Exams, past questions, attitudes of lecturers, and the nature of the department will also help you too, so try and ask about almost everything. Do not feel bad about being a newbie; after all, everyone was a newbie.
If you can add your academic pursuits with other extra curricula activities like Politics or Business or games, then you can go ahead, but if you see that it is making you backwards academically, then you had better let go and focus on your academics. Again, in Nigerian Universities, do not waste your time trying to read textbooks that are not recommended by your lecturers or reading outside of what your lecturer gave, it does not work like that. The lecturers prefer you read their handouts rather than reading someones textbook. This is not secondary school where you can read textbooks and pass. In the university, you must focus on the lecturers handouts and if you read anything different, it will be for your own consumption only.
Always do your Assignments, Write tests and never miss anything.
3. Spiritual Life:
Whether you like it or Not, God exists! and if you are not ok with that, you will find out one day. Though you must not be a Christian before you pass exams, you will definitely need God to help you out with life issues. We hear of Suicide almost every day in the Developed countries like USA and students being killed while in school. These things happen because such people have no Hope of being alive or hope of life after death. If you have no God, you feel empty and you feel gain no Joy over what you do. The kind of life you will live will be full of regrets and frustrations. God is the one that helps our evil nature to be changed to the good nature. You need God even while on Campus and so you need to join a campus fellowship. While choosing campus fellowship, take your time to choose a good one that will be helpful to your spiritual life. You will find so many of them inviting you to fellowship, but always choose the good one and go.
Some good campus fellowship groups in Nigeria Universities include: Christian Medical and Dental Association (CMDA), Fellowship of Christian Students (FCS), and Deeper Life Campus Fellowship, ECWA Student Fellowship and NIFES. I am speaking as a Christian and the ones I have mentioned are the ones that I know. Apart from the spiritual aspect, these groups could help you out with tutorials on Mathematics and other hard courses, and they could be of help when you are in need.
You will need Clothes, Money for books, handouts, transport fare, food and many more. Whatever is the case, you will need money to pay for some necessary things. Be careful of the type of lifestyle you will live in school, do not boast or be proud in what you do. Always be humble, because once you start boasting or living a life that your financial status has not reach, you will soon be involved in bad things such as Prostitution, Stealing, Cultism and the likes. It is good if you cut your coat according to your size.
Do not try to live a fake life, if you do not have something, do not be shy; simply make do with what you have, by doing that, you will live a happy and satisfied life in school. There are people that try to live up to the expectations of some friends and by doing that they have found themselves stealing and were caught and expelled. So always be contended with what you have.
If you intend to enjoy your stay in any Nigerian University, be careful to follow what has been stated and try to know the nature of people that live in that area, just like the saying that goes: When you are in Rome, behave like the Romans so try to know the environment, history of people around there and their lifestyle.