University means different things to different people – it’s a place of advancement, of learning. It is a snippet of the big bad world. To me, university is a place of freedom and learning. I entered university in 2016, starting my law degree. Now that I’m in my final semester, It feels so surreal. It feels like it was only yesterday I just started, but at the same time it does not. Just a couple years back I was boning my face as I did registration for this unknown school, my dreams of living in a different state while attending Afe Babalola University dashed.

Looking back now, it actually was all for the better. Some times when things don’t go the way we want it’s hard to fathom why until one day we’re hit with the realization that those plans were probably not the best in the long run. If I had gone to Ado-Ekiti, I might not have started my blog, started product photography among other achievements made in Abuja – and I definitely would not have met my current classmates.

That being said, the end of something is a time for some reflection, and there are definitely some things that I would change if I had a chance to travel back in time. I’m writing this for those still in school, perhaps you’re in first or second year and your journey is just beginning – there’s still so many opportunities to take!

Not Working Harder

Unfortunately I fell into the college student trap of waiting until the last hour to start working on assignments and whatnot, no matter how long the deadline was. I wish I could kick the habit to the curb, but it’s something that has followed me since high school and I hate it.

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This last minute problem also applies to upcoming in-class tests. I wish I could kick the habit of procrastination as well as sleep. While some are blessed to sleep whenever they can during the day, I only sleep at night. So basically I can wake up from 5am and usually sleep by 9pm. I never sleep during the day, only in rare cases. I wish I did stuff like all-nighters from second year, chugging coffee and reading ahead instead of last minute stuff.

Actions done during the semester all add up. If you keep reading last minute for tests, you lose out on valuable marks that would have helped in the long run. If I had made out time in the semester to make notes that I’d use for exams, things would be less last minute, but it’s too late now. I tried to make up by attending group studying and that has proved helpful to an extent.

Building Relationships and Friendships

When I entered university I was a lot different to who I am now. It’s funny how so many things I never thought I’d do as, at that time, I’ve actually ended up doing – except alcohol. One thing I used to do was get affected strongly by things. I remember having strong crushes and a bit of conflict with my initial friend circle which really affected me. I had a strong crush on a particular person and it consumed me – whenever we were not on good terms, It was like I was thrown into chaos – it kind of affected my very first exams.

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If you told the 2016 me that eventually we wouldn’t even be in the same class or speak that much, I would not have believed it. While I didn’t know what university had in store for me, I did think or hope that I’d end up with this person. Today, everything is a completely different story. When I started schooling, I had 3 people I’d call my friendship circle. I thought we’d continue until school ended. Today, one has basically dropped out and I last spoke to them in 2018, the other 2 are still there but we’re not in the same class and we don’t talk much. Crushes can be a drag – it’s an experience I never want to have again. I don’t want anybody having that power or influence over me again.

Not Glamming Up

There aren’t much photos of me from my university life, and I hate it. I usually shied away from the camera, and if I could go back in time I’d take more pictures. More importantly, I’d pay more attention to my appearance. I’ve come to accept that I’m kind of a late bloomer when it comes to certain aspects about physical appearances and dressing up. In a way, I’ve changed things up quite a bit. For one, when I started university I strictly did box braids, wore a knee-length skirt and recycled about 3 different tops. I also did not wear makeup or talk much. Now, I have expanded my wardrobe a bit with a pair of pants, suit jackets and more skirts, then I discovered the magic and beauty of wigs, so I’m a #wiglife member. I even made my own wig and closure in 2018!

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I still cannot for the life of me walk in heels, and I basically stick to the same thing each week – all black. I wish I’d splashed more money on my wardrobe and physical appearance e.g. makeup. Up until now, the thoughts of me strutting into the faculty looking my absolute best are just that – thoughts. It might seem irrelevant, but it would have helped in the way I carried myself. Most times I just looked tired, sad and even frustrated – I am, but that’s another story.

Not Networking More/Inter-Faculty Mingling

Being in the same class as a person gives you more opportunity to build relationships than when you are not. There are a lot of important people at my faculty, and I wish I had summoned up courage to strike up discussions with them. At the same time, I don’t believe in forcing myself on people without some kind of plan. Even if I get this persons’ contact, why am I doing it? Will knowing this person help me achieve my goals?  I like to filter my interactions – but it definitely would have been nice to have a couple ‘connections’.

I do wish I had made friends out of my faculty. The people I know who are from another department used to be law students, so it does not really count. It would be nice to know a Business Admin student, or Engineering, or Environmental Science – see what their minds are like. I think it’s easier to do this when you stay in a hostel.

Going Out of My Comfort Zone

The craziest thing I can say I did was going to a lecture in a subject I was not registered for. Basically, given a choice between Taxation and Public International Law, I went with Taxation as my elective. I popped in about twice to the Public International Law lecture – exhilarating, and weird. I’m not saying do something that jeopardizes your student-life, but try and take part in more stuff! Like that pageant you see flyers for, or student government, or faculty events in general. I lowkey want to attend a lecture in another faculty for once, but fear of getting embarassed keeps me rooted to my beloved Law faculty. Sigh!

Staying Off-Campus

This isn’t a regret per say because it was due to circumstances. My school fees are highly expensive, and hostel accommodation is N500,000. I wanted to at least go to hostel in my final semester but that didn’t really happen. As someone that has never lived on my own – I’ve always been a day student – I wish I had the opportunity to live alongside other females and see what my interactions with other humans would be like. On the flip side, there’s always law school, I guess. It doesn’t make sense to pay N500,000 for accommodation (this amount does not include feeding) when your family lives in the same city, except you’re super rich – which I am not. The closest I got to the experience was sleeping overnight at school during the exam period in my final year first semester. Even at that, I actually slept in the classroom as opposed to the hostels.

That being said, it’s been a nice ride while it lasted. I’m still a bit conflicted about what I feel about formal education and getting degrees – there’s still much I don’t know clearly until now. How many Bachelors degrees can one acquire? Am I really capable of a master’s degree – must I get a Masters? How much more a PhD? Definitely looking forward to getting answers as life goes on.

Are you currently a student or an ex-student? What do you wish you could change about your university experience?