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Intro to Nigerian University Life (The ABCs to Life on Campus)


You’ve probably watched a lot of Nollywood movies that showed you how exciting, fun and scary University Life can be. You probably imagine that it is going to be like your secondary school or maybe a little advanced. My younger brother was asking me questions about universities the other day and he asked: “Is it the same thing as secondary school? Are we going to study Biology and Government and CRS etc.?”

You’ve probably watched Grownish and fantasied about your own fun Uni experiences and becoming your very own Zoey Johnson. If you haven’t seen Grownish, please do. It’s a fun movie but it’s not the complete, whole truth about Uni life. For starters, it’s a black American movie and we live in Nigeria so do you see how that can be a problem? American college life is very different from Nigerian university life. I’ve never been to an American college so I’m just going to tell you all I know about Nigerian universities in this series.

Darlings, the plain, undiluted truth is that Uni life is way too advanced than secondary school. In many ways, it might be similar. In secondary school, especially in government secondary schools, most students were mandated to take ALL the courses available (both science and arts) from JSS 1-SS1 and then in SS2, they had to make individual choices on which area to focus on. At least, my secondary school was like that. And in most ways, universities function in similar and dissimilar systems. In your first and second year, you’d get to do GS courses. These are general courses that arts and science students must take as requirements for the fulfillment of their programme degree.

Back in secondary school, I abhorred science courses – biology, physics, mathematics (why does it have to be so complex by the way?), etc. After choosing to do arts in SS2, I thought I had escaped most of my fears. But in Uni, they still made me take some of those science courses I hate and now in a more advanced level. So please, brace yourself. I really hate to be the bearer of “bad news” but you don’t really escape those subjects you hate. So I suggest you start paying attention to your biology and math classes.

Things change as you mature and move on to the next levels of your life. In secondary school, you did Government but in Uni, that might change to an elective called “Political science” or so. You did biology and co, it might change to a GS course called “Natural science” in Uni. Nothing stays the same. What is an elective you ask? Well, did you get to choose certain subjects from a variety of them in secondary school? Yes? No?

An elective course is a course (sometimes outside of your programme of study) that you have to choose for the fulfillment of the requirements of your degree. The difference between a major course and an elective is that you are fully mandated or required to take your major departmental courses while electives are the ones you can choose to study. They vary from subjects to subjects depending on your main course of study. For instance, I studied Mass Communication in school and thus had a variety of art electives to choose from – political science, linguistics, theatre arts, philosophy, etc. As an arts students, I can’t have science electives and vice versa but all science and arts students are mandated to do the general courses the school stipulates. After your second year, you can now focus on your major courses.

The “ugly” truth: Your first year will be busy and stressful. You might struggle to adjust to campus life. Nothing comes easy in life. Bear in mind that university is not like secondary school. There will be no “overbearing” parents/guardians or teachers dictating your life anymore. Your life and time will be entirely yours. What you choose to do with that is entirely up to you. You’d be responsible for your choices, decisions, and indecision and you alone will bear the consequences of its outcome. For most people, this is exciting news, especially those eager to leave their homes for one private reason or the other. But remember that mistakes, no matter how slight, will affect you in some way or the other. You have to be prudent, shrewd and have fun. Trust me, you’re going to be faced with lots of fun. Engage wisely.

In the next article, I’ll continue more on all you need to know about Nigerian university life so you can prep yourself well for what’s coming.  I know how hard it can be preparing for an entirely new life in a university. This series is dedicated towards helping address all conceptions, misconceptions or curiosity aspiring University students may want to know about. So, please if you have any issue you’d want me to address, do comment below and let me know.  Stay tuned. Let’s do this

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