My First Year in University Experience: On Academics, Finances, and Accommodation

My inconsistency on this blog must be appalling because I start most of the posts apologizing for it. Don’t get tired of me, please. This post is about 1000+ words and if that’s going to be a lot for you to read, do try to grab something to drink while you do.

It would be fitting to write this post now since I’m in my final year. I’d love to write the other sections regarding my second and third years before I finally graduate. Writing about my final year as soon as I graduate will be more authentic and fresher in my memory. Read part one of this post here.

That said, it’s been some sort of hectic journey for me but I didn’t realize how hectic until now when I looked back to see how far I’ve come. I started uni in 2018, got admitted in late 2017. I should have graduated in 2020 but because of the lockdown and the strike the federal universities later embarked on, I’ll now be graduating next year. I can’t say it was entirely hectic, it was fun too and I’m more than thankful and glad that I met amazing people, some of them who are now my closest friends.

To be fair, I don’t think my years in uni have been that bad. Besides my academic life, which later became as tedious, or even worse, than I was expecting in later years, other aspects were not so bad. No scratch that. They were bad, really bad. But not so much that I had to drop out or end up in a mental institution, I guess.

On Academics

Image from Pinterest

I am obviously not the only person who thought that studying at uni would be 10x harder than studying in a secondary school. I wouldn’t say I was right to be worried nor would I say I was wrong. School was hectic but not so hectic in my first year. For my first year (both semesters) we had 10-course modules to go through.

These are the modules below.

First-year first-semester registered courses.

Out of all of them, Maths seemed to be my least favorite but I scaled through, with the help of my classmates. I enjoyed GSP, URP, and, COS courses. I didn’t really have any much problem with courses here except Maths. That’s what I thought until our results were released.

As expected, I did well in the courses I enjoyed. Not so well in Maths though but I didn’t fail (Math)any of the classes. Now, my problem was in Freehand Sketch. Apparently, the lecturer for our course gave higher marks to students who were exceptionally talented at drawing. I love drawing, as a pastime or hobby but I won’t say I am exceptionally talented or skilled at it.

Other than Maths and Freehand Sketch. I had another course, Physics, whose result I was really baffled to see. I am still wondering how I failed the course because I’d passed the one in the 1st semester so it was really disheartening to see that I failed the 2nd-semester module.

With respect to studying, I was never one of those students who’d read 24/7, even at home. As much as I love being curious, I find studying tedious. And so being in uni didn’t change that trait of me, much. I studied when I felt I had to, which was weeks before a test or our exams. Other than that, not so much. I think it’s been that way for me because I know I’ll pass and that I can remember things after studying until they can no longer serve me.

I don’t have any specific studying method either. When I’m studying, I just write down summarizations of the text or notes I’m going through (in my own understanding and words) and then read them later. Okay, maybe that’s a studying method but I don’t know the term.

Besides exams and tests, we always had assignments. It was like every lecturer was trying to out-assignment the other. We had lectures from 8-4 or even 5 for most of the days and every day, a lecturer would give us assignments. I was thinking that it was going to reduce in my coming years in uni but boy was I wrong.

Word of advice, no matter how much the assignments become, please take them seriously. Apparently, they’re not only trying to out-assignment each other but those assignments could help boost your GP after a semester.

That’s why I failed the Physics class by the way. There was no record for any of my assignments or even tests for that matter. It must have gotten lost somewhere and back then I was too naive to go to the head department, which is in another school by the way, and demand an explanation. I decided to retake the course but er, it seems the computer or me, registered the wrong module and that’s how I’ve ended up with an unintended extra year in school. Read here for more.

On Attendance

Lecture hall at Johann Wolfgang Goe.

I know every uni student has practically seen the attendance meme at this point. If you haven’t then you’re not addicted to social media which I’ll have to applaud you for by the way. Attendance is very crucial in uni. Look, at first, I thought it was a joke. Even while I thought that I didn’t dare to miss my classes even if I was dying, no really.

Okay, I missed about 4 in total for both semesters but that was just it. The lecturers always warned us about missing their lectures. They told us that if we didn’t make up to 80% attendance for their classes, we’d automatically fail that class. How? They won’t include your name in the list of candidates for their exams. I guess a few people didn’t pay much mind to it because they were in their first year and thought the lecturers would be lenient which unfortunately didn’t happen.

On the day of exams, if you didn’t hear your name, you were not a candidate for that exam and a few of my coursemates were victims but I think they’ve retaken the courses and made up for it.

So, whether you like school or not, you have to try to be present in all your classes. And when you can’t be, try to ask a friend to sign your attendance for you or meet the lecturer and explain why you’d be/were absent.

On Finances

Budget Planner from onplanners.com

Honestly, I only spent money on assignments that needed printing, body hygienic products, and junk food. Lots and lots of junk food. My mother was strict about us eating junk food and because I went to a boarding school, I couldn’t get them there when I wanted to.

So being in uni gave me access to that and I didn’t realize that at the time, it was a disservice to my body. But, I couldn’t care less about that. Besides, I wasn’t getting any fatter like people tended to say junk food would make you be so I continued to eat everything I could get my hands on.

I hardly bought real, good food which was far more expensive than junk so my monthly allowance was enough for me throughout the month until the next month. I wish I had a savings account back then. I wonder how much I could have saved by now.

The price of things wasn’t too high and I rarely went out, to shop or anything so money wasn’t a problem for me back then. I was content with just spending it on junk and any other needs of mine that had to be met and they weren’t plenty.

I had no budgeting plan since my allowance was enough at the time which is a really ignorant thing to think by the way. Whether your allowance or income is enough, I think having or making a budget plan will be much easier and better, for your sanity.

On Accommodation

Image from Pinterest.

As I stated in part one of this post, I came into my dorm room when nobody was around and started to bond with my roommates weeks later. I think the best part about being in that dorm room is that it allowed me to get to know one of my classmates better. Now we are best friends.

Our dorm room (every dorm room in that hostel) had double-bunk beds for 7 occupants. Yes, the room was wide enough to contain the bunk beds, the occupants and their various personal belongings so don’t leave your mouths too open. Each person had their own wardrobe which was cool. Each room had its own toilet and bathroom too so it was left to the occupants of the room to ensure it was clean if they wanted it to be.

I’d like to say that I bonded really well with my first-year roommates. The girls in my room were really nice. Sometimes, we’d have little issues here and there, mostly about the cleanliness of the room and bathroom, but other than that, living with them was fun. My bunkmate, Chisom, who was a finalist then was the kindest person ever.

Because of my then obsession with junk food, she’d share her food with me after cooking while also advising me to cut down on sugar and processed foods. Another finalist, Chioma, who happened to be in the same faculty as she was was also nice but not too nice like Chisom.

She liked to order us around (I and my roommates who were freshers) and because we didn’t like it, we started to be wary of her. Aside from that, she was really friendly with us. She loved to remove my earpiece from my ear when I slept off with it and she helped with our make-up when we had events to attend.

Chisom braided hair, as a side income, but she once braided mine for free, and my other roommates, with Chioma’s orders (when they needed it lol) did my dinner make-up. A really funny but lovely night that was.

We sometimes had movie nights too and shared food with one another. They once cleaned my part of the room for me on my 18th birthday and I have to say that it was the sweetest thing ever. Chisom also liked to make my bed whenever I left for classes in a hurry and in return, I’d wash her pots or plates if she couldn’t because she had to study or stay over for prayers at her Church.

Because of how comfortable I felt with them, I’d sometimes sweep the room or clean the bathroom even if it wasn’t my turn on the rooster. They likely did the same too and one of us even volunteered to buy a barrel for the room so we could fetch water and pour it into it instead of using our own personal water to clean the room or wash the bathroom.

I think because we respected each other and hardly quarreled, doing these little stuffs for one another came so easily to us. I haven’t experienced such in any of the rooms I’ve lived in after my first year but my best friend has so that’s sweet but I’d love to meet more people like my first-year roommates.

They made my first year memorable because honestly, there wasn’t much to the academic or friendship side. Living with them was peaceful and as I write about my other experience, you’ll also find out that they were the cleanest roommates I ever had.


And that is most of what I experienced during my first year at uni. I’m excited to see this post come to life now because I’d written down an outline for it way back in 2020.

If you’re currently in uni, what was your first year like for you? And if you’re about to go to one, I hope your first year would be more fun and pleasant than mine was.

P.S. I’d love to know if long posts like this are okay. I know we are all experiencing some kind of shorter attention span epidemic so if long posts like this are too much to bear, please let me know.


Thanks for reading or getting this far.

Stay safe and healthy.

7 Comments

  1. Great post! I like how descriptive this was. As for the length of the post, this is perfect to me. It’s just in the middle. Not too long, not too short. I like that you’ve narrated your experience in first year. Mine wasn’t too memorable but yours was pleasing to read. Sorry about the extra year and I like that each room had a bathroom. My school wasn’t that way. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much. It wasn’t easy for me to accept it but I have now and it’s not much of a big deal like I was making it out to be 🙂
      What uni did you go to?

      Like

  2. I enjoyed the long post! I’m glad you got along so well with your roommates because most people I know didn’t get along with their in university. I think we all make mistakes like eating too much junk in our first year. I know I did. I think it’s a mix of suddenly getting more freedom than we have ever experienced as well as not knowing any better. All the best for your next year- hope it’s amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

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