I remember my first day in UI… it’s a little over four years now but it still feels like it was just yesterday.
I had heard a lot about this citadel of learning but I was not prepared for what I saw. I recall driving in with my brother for the Post-UTME exams and all I could see was an unending chain of gigantic trees standing tall and glorious…full of pride too. The trees gradually faded and gave way to what I call the cadre of buildings. Gosh! They were so tall and majestic…prestige was written all over them. I do not remember my first impression of the other landmarks leading to my exam centre because I was deep In thought.
“How Would I Cope In Such A Big Place?”
“Isn’t This School too prestigious for me, What am I doing here”
“ Is it too late to take another JAMB form…Oluwa oooo”
Fast forward to 2018..
I am in my final year now in this same university and what can I say? I have survived…for this long at least. Although each time I walk through the school gate… I chide myself for thinking some time ago that I was not worthy of this citadel of learning. I am worthy of this university.
Life in the University as many people know is quite different from the life majority of us are accustomed to. For example, I graduated from sharing a room with my sister to sharing a fraction of it with four other individuals that I had never met or seen before. Also I was from a private mission school where I was a day student and being a Christian and a Yoruba girl I was surrounded by fellow Christians and just a few from other religions and tribes.
I also happened to top my class for 6 years too.
Getting to the university…it entirely different from the life I knew and lived. I met people from all classes , tribes, religion etc. I remember registration period as a fresher… oh! How I was cheated by the smarter ones. We would be queuing for probably a course to be signed or medicals and this person will come and say “sister, I was here before you came”. Gentle me will step aside and allow the person. As in they had scammed me several times before I realized what was happening.
I learnt how to be sharper in UI, I also learnt how to be accommodating towards all people as we all are not raised the same way – different parents with different training methods. One of my 100 level roommates was a Lagos bred Edo girl and I just couldn’t understand how and why she did the things she did like that – apologies to Lagosians. I remember one day she went to Bodija market to buy yam; she didn’t tell us IB bred that she was going. She came back with one tuber of yam, one tuber! and was gushing about how cheap it was, how the seller was nice to her and all that. The rest of us burst into laughter; she bought that one tuber for the price of three tubers and IB people know that yam is sold in threes in Bodija market. We still joke about it till this day.
What’s more? The porters. Hmmm. These people are legendarily-awesome (if there is a compound word like that). They’re your friends this minute and the next they don’t know you. I have not had my ID card seized before and I don’t plan to until I finish from here. Its not like I don’t break the rules too sha.
I remember one instance when my card should have been seized. I was washing plates in the balcony which is a punishable offence. Normally I’m very careful to look around and see if they are close by but on this occasion I don’t even know what happened, as I poured the water like this the woman just said “that girl that poured water come downstairs with your ID card”. I don cast! Long story short I went downstairs where she called me but I did not see her, I waited there for about 2 minutes and I went back to my room. I did not branch porters lodge because that would be adding petrol to the flaming fire.
I thought all was over until I looked out of the window some minutes later and saw the woman with not one or two but three other porters pointing to my floor and saying “the girl poured water from there”. It was quite early in the morning and I think it was a Saturday too so there was not alot of people outside. I knew that trouble was waiting for me downstairs. Want to know what I did? Well, as a UIte that I am and a sharp one at that I quickly changed my clothes cos I knew it would give me away easily. I went to my friend’s room the floor above and watched from her balcony as the drama unfolded. My room then was on the fourth floor so none of them was willing to risk climbing the stairs. At some point one of my roommates passed and they told her to go and knock our neighbours door (thinking it was them) unluckily for the porters our neighbours were not around. After waiting and threatening downstairs, they went back to their porters lodge. Phew! That was close and that’s not even the closest I’ve gotten to having my ID card being seized.
There is another experience I would like to share in this anthology… I have had many… so many experiences here but I would just make mention of just one more…
Aish! Which one should I pick now again…?
Well…let me tell my first first-hand experience on a protest
There is not much to tell though. 100 level, couple of weeks or months after our matriculation, a student died. I cannot remember the date as I don’t keep a diary and I am not a super human.
Mayowa Alaran was his name. We got to know about the incident when guys in their numbers came down to Awo ( I am an awoite, have been one for about 4 years now) in the middle of the night all dressed in white and singing “oro” songs.
As a fresher I was quite scared…scrap that I was very scared and the rate of fear increased when the lights went out. It was like something out of a “Nollywood” movie. lol. It seemed like every tiny bit of movement was celestial and every bird that chirrped had a mystery to unravel to us. To me.
The situation was further climaxed when we were told to come out enmasse to protest the negligence of the University’s health centre early the following morning and that anyone who doesn’t would be forced out to join. As a fresher you know, I had to go or I felt I had to go because I couldn’t bear the slated consequences. Early the next morning we set out and boy was it a tedious journey!
How some ladies still managed to put makeup on that early still amuses me. Let me spare you the details, we went round the school or so I thought because it seemed to take forever. It was fun. Everybody at some point seemed to forget our differences and all and we began to mingle with people outside of our group; guys especially.
The climax of the event was when some radical students with their big canes burst into some lecture rooms and beat-chased students out of classes. As I look back now, I can’t help but laugh and feel pity as I did that day too. It was such a funny and pitiful sight as I couldn’t help but feel for those that got the strokes.
I also had my fan-girl moment when the Vice-Chancellor met us at Jaja to calm us down and clarify issues as well as set the facts straight. I strained and pushed my way through to get as close as possible.
Abi UIte that cannot push is that one a UIte?
Well, I got as close as I could, at least I could see him clearly although he would not have seen me. Maybe he did, who knows? It’s a pity that today’s freshers might not experience this. We can’t say, maybe they will.
There are so many people I have met on this journey who have challenged and brought out the best in me on most occasions. I have made friends and we are as close as close can be. I have also met people that we do not really see eye-to-eye but ain’t that what life is about?
This is it…These are some of my stories.