Hey guys! It’s been 10080 minutes (I hate maths so don’t think I did this without any help). I’ve been hanging in there, it seems. Tired of saying this but it is what it is. I hope you’ve been fine and doing better than I was. Let’s get into today’s post. It’s pretty long so grab a coffee, tea or any beverage drink. You know what? Just grab something.
Back in secondary school, you can say I was one of the few people people who were super hyped and couldn’t wait to get into university. Back then, I used to think that being in the university is some kind of life achievement, that I’d be all grown up and have figured out life and shit like that, you know? I was thinking “that moment when I’d finally become a real adult. I’d graduate and get a job and work my ass of until die.” Pretty sad and hilarious. Ugh. How naive and clueless I was. Lmao.
In secondary school, being an introvert and having anxiety wasn’t really much of a problem for me. My friends and classmates had no problems with it either. The only time anxiety was a problem was when I had to read something in front of the other students or say a prayer/read the gospel (we got randomly appointed sometimes). That’s in the past and I have this particular story where I was really humiliated but I’d share it some other day.
So, I graduated secondary school and unfortunately didn’t cut the list for the university of my choice. I had to stay back at home, for a whole year. It was just like taking a gap year I guess but I did nothing meaningful during that time and I kinda regret it. I was beyond depressed around that time too (if you have Nigerian parents, you’d understand). It wasn’t easy being caged at home, I couldn’t even go out, whenever I did, my parents would descend on me with words and what not. It was honestly tiring and exhausting.
I met a few people outside when I could and online too. I guess my being quite and reserved was hard to ignore? and most times, they’d bring it up in conversations. Asking questions like “why are you so quiet?” “is it because you went to a boarding school?” I’d say it was just how I was or something like that and most of them would tell me “just wait until you get into university. It is your type that change alot.” Well, that was really creepy and ignorant but back then, I didn’t see it like that.
I kinda agreed with them because I’d seen stuff like that in movies and read them in books. The introverted character would always end up being not so introverted anymore. They’d end up with the “wrong crowd” when they got into university. I started to think I wasn’t really as reserved and quiet as I liked to think. I thought that it had something to do with my parents being all strict and me being in boarding school and so on. So, the few months before I was to go to my school (I’d gotten admitted, yay), I spent it day dreaming and imagining this new version of myself. I was rogue and free and had as much fun as I wanted. I finally went to parties and had the kinda fun that normal people seemed to have. Yep. That’s pretty much what I thought was going to happen when I’d start. Well, I got in when I was 17 and I nothing much changed.
On Making Friends
When I arrived uni for the first time, it was already late in the afternoon, so nobody was in my new dorm when I got in (they were still having lectures). The portal who had directed me to the room gave me the spare key to unlock the door so I’d unpack my stuff and settle. It was great for me actually because I realized I was anxious and didn’t want anyone watch me unpack my things. I was pretty much done before they started to come in, one by one. They were kind and welcomed me with open arms but I wasn’t really friends with them until weeks later.
Where I made actual friends was in my department. On my first day (for lectures), I made a friend. It was a guy who was seated beside me for lectures, he noticed I was new and offered me his note to catch up. That was really so kind of him. We’re still friends till this day but not as close as we were back then. I’m not as close as I was with people I became friends with during my first week actually. It’s only about 3 people out of the 7 or so people, that I still talk with, on a not so constant basis.
I became best friends with two girls a month later and it was probably because we were in the same hostel, one was in my dorm, the other wasn’t. The first time I talked, like actually talked to either of them, when we were both alone, there was an instant connection. I became chatty like I normally would around my old friends and we got along pretty well. I started hanging out with them, a whole lot than necessary.
They had other friends too and I did hang out with them but it didn’t feel the same like when I was with both of them. Does it make sense? Even though we didn’t share the same hostels and rooms later on, we still made out time to hang out. Friends of them became friends of mine and friends of mine, which aren’t that much lol, became friends of theirs and that’s how I became friends with beautiful amazing people.
I wasn’t really expecting anything much on this part actually but I’m thankful to have met people who’re not exactly like me but still get and understand me. I didn’t feel any pressure to be someone else around these people and it says alot about them than it does about me. I don’t think making friends in uni should be hard. You just have to keep an open mind and be yourself (cliché I know but it works).
And maybe it’s me and I was just lucky but it really isn’t that necessary to be out and about before you find a bestie or partner in crime lol. Oh, and I didn’t see this wrong crowd I kept hearing about, before uni. Everyone has a group of people they’d rather move with, and I don’t think there’s any wrong crowd. There isn’t any right crowd either. There are just crowds and it’s up to you to decide which one is best for you.
On Socialization and Parties
I was low-key anticipating this part. Meeting new people that would bring out the extroverted me who’d do cool, fun stuff normal people did. Honestly, I thought I was going to change but I so obviously didn’t. I may have grown in some areas but parties are still not my scene and socializing still gives me anxiety ( and I think it even got worse). Normally, back in secondary school, the pep talks used to work, I think but they don’t anymore. I go mute when I meeting someone in an event or when I have to give presentations. Besides the weekends, which I’m always looking forward to, after 5 days of having lectures from morning to late in the afternoon or early in the evening, there was hardly any time, on my part, to socialize.
After lectures, if my friends (the two girls) were busy or hanging out with people I felt I wouldn’t blend in with, I’d walk to my hostel, buying food on my way. When I got in, I’d eat and then sleep off. Most times, I didn’t even take off my clothes, that’s how tired I was. Other days, I’d just be up but tired and not feeling any need to socialize because I honestly didn’t see any reason to. Sure enough, it’s always about building connections and business partners but it’s honestly so draining and I must have been out of my mind to think I could handle it.
As for parties, the first one I heard about was the freshers party. Of course I’d hear about that one, why wouldn’t I? I was in my room that night when someone called me and asked where I was. Confused, I said I was in my room and then he asked why I wasn’t there. There? Where was there? At the faculty, he said. There was a party going on, for first years. I was quite for a minute then I said I’d be there. Mind you, this was around the first few weeks and I was super pumped and wanted give myself a try at parties again.
When I reached the faculty, there was loud music everywhere and I could see people dancing. I saw some of my friends and talked with them for a bit but I couldn’t stay long. The noise was too much and I didn’t feel comfortable plus I was in my pajamas. Lmao. I told them goodbye and walked back to the hostel. That was when I knew I was never going to be a party person (unless it constitutes my friends and not more than 10 people). More parties were heard, in places I’d never heard of and I missed all of them. The only type of gathering I liked was the one for movies. We had movie nights some times and if I wasn’t doing anything, I’d attend them because I love movies. They were fun and funny sometimes.
My best friends aren’t really the party types either but they hang out with some of their other friends sometimes and it’s a lot fun than a party I bet. I’d been to one of the hangouts and I didn’t regret it. We were just 6 or 7, I think. We went out to eat pizza and ice cream and talk about stuff. That was the night I fell in love with pizza after 4/5 times trying it and not liking it. The pizza at that place was so good, we ordered another box.
I don’t know if it’s a thing in other schools but faculties/departments/churches/clubs hold a dinner party once a year, at least. I attended my department’s own but I wasn’t really present. I spend half the night outside, talking with one person and when it was time to go, I tagged along with a friend. For my second year dinner, I intentionally got drunk because I thought I’d be fun and be talkative. It didn’t work. Instead, I became more quite and slept through the night. At least, I was too drunk to have minded the noise.
People look forward to this part so much and I guess I’d have too if I wasn’t dating someone before I got into uni. Sadly, it was long distance and while he came over to see me sometimes, it couldn’t work. He was incredibly worried that we weren’t constantly talking anymore and I was feeling guilty that things weren’t working and was harboring feelings for other people.
The guilt, on top of the emotional stress and everything was too much to bear so halfway through my 2nd semester, I decided I’d break up with him when I got back home. Harsh, right? Looking back now, I think it was for the best. I cried for 2 weeks straight after and wanted to call and apologize but thank God for internet addiction (sigh). We’re still friends and have both moved on.
So, before the break up, I turned down the 3 boys (who managed to notice my existence) who asked me out. Looking back now, I’d do it again because 1: I felt we weren’t compatible and 2: I enjoy being alone too much and honestly didn’t want any of that relationship stress. I did like a few people but when your gut instincts tell you that they wouldn’t be right for you, they really wouldn’t be right for you. My only advise here would be not to ignore red flags. That’s all. You’d know them when you see/sense them. Your gut instinct doesn’t lie.
I didn’t get to cram up everything I wanted to but these parts are essentially summarized. Before uni, I was so excited for change and new experiences, while I’ve grown and changed (and still growing and changing), I’m not so different from who I was before I got in. The pressure I felt before uni disappeared as soon as I got in, I think it was because it felt like being in a boarding school again, just with fewer restrictions and enough freedom (which I didn’t use, apparently). People weren’t as judgemental as I thought before.
Sure enough, there’d be gossip here and there but people actually do mind their business unless you’re a class topper, then you’re everybody’s business. My classmates are always telling the class toppers to calm down and give us a break, lol.
If I narrated this to someone who’d had spent their first year going to the best of the best parties and hanging out or attending social events and so on, they’d probably tell me that I’ve missed out on something I can never get back and that’s okay. I know a few people who have the same experiences as mine and I know quite alot who don’t. Bottom line is everyone’s experience is going to be different and just because you’re an introvert or somebody who gets overwhelmed by socializing and loves being alone doesn’t mean that you won’t have any good time at uni. You’re going to meet people who’d get you, I hope you do. You’re also going to have fun, in the type of way that suits you and if you want love, you’d get it too but look out for red flags and listen to your gut instincts.
I’d upload another part to this post, talking about accommodation, finances and academics. Let me know if you’re up for it. I’d love to answer questions, if you have any.
What prompted me to write this post was a question tag I’d seen on Instagram talking about uni and being anxious, early this month. I know there are introverts who are going to be starting uni anytime soon. I want you to know that there’s actually nothing to be afraid of. You’re going to do just fine :). I hope this post convinces you.
What was your first year in uni like? Are you nervous about starting? What do you think it’d be like? Let me know!
Have a lovely week.
Thank you for reading.