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How to be a Nigerian undergraduate

How to be a Nigerian undergraduate

by: Raheem Omeiza

I started out dumb and idealistic but that anomaly has since been rectified. Here are a few useful tips on how to be an undergraduate in Nigeria:

  1. It is always your fault

Always. Logic doesn’t work in Nigerian universities outside notebooks and it must never be used in real life. In time, you’ll learn to find fault with yourself first. You’ll have the pressing need to respect the sanctity of the University by never speaking ill of it. Society needs broken people that can find ways to function in a broken system. Don’t fix the system, fix yourself.

2. Morality is the ultimate endgame

If you’re a student in Nigeria and a lecturer has never taken out time to preach to you, you should be ashamed of yourself. How else will you know God? Some really kind ones go the extra mile by incorporating body-shaming into the routine. Jezebels that fix nails and hair are going to hell. This is known. Why in the world will University students use hair extensions, faux lashes, and wear makeup? Lecturers may touch students in places they do not want to be touched behind closed doors later but you know how it is, right? These people have needs. May God bless them for their contribution to education in Nigeria.

3. Going to the Administrative Block is an extreme sport

This is a mindset you have to work with always. No one likes you. No one cares about making you comfortable, least of all the non-academic staff. You have to brace yourself for impact when you need to submit a letter or ask for a form. Universities don’t want pansies that can’t take a bit of abuse. They’re only going to yell and cuss at you, make you come back a dozen times, and generally frustrate you. Nothing unheard of. These things help you build character. So, be strong mentally and emotionally. A few weaklings have been known to break down and cry out of frustration. Me? I eat abuse for a living now.

4. You must pass always

Nigerian varsities don’t tolerate failure in any form from students. Failure of staff is celebrated though. They’ve earned the right to fail. What’s your excuse for failing as a student? You weren’t taught? So? Didn’t other people pass? You probably didn’t read the lecture notes you were not given. All lecturers passed against all odds. Some had to swim rivers and climb mountains before they got to school, and still, they passed. So, what’s your excuse?

5. Respect and Humility should be your watchword(s)

“You can never get anywhere in life if you’re not humble.” Grovel, beg, and kiss ass for what is your right. If you must complain, lace it with several words of praise before the sheepish “but”, and make sure you apologize immediately after. This is the only acceptable way of getting anywhere in life.

If you follow these tips, you are bound to have a swell time as an undergraduate in any Nigerian varsity. Trust me!

When he’s not arguing with strangers on the internet, Raheem reads, and writes when he’s tired of reading. His works are published or forthcoming in The Story Tree Challenge Maiden Anthology, Afritondo and elsewhere. His works explore boyhood, grief, sexuality and the liminal spaces where they intersect. Raheem Omeiza is Ebira and writes from Lagos, Nigeria. He tweets @raheem_omeiza on Twitter.

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