Everything you need to survive your first year at a Nigerian university

I’ve been wanting to make a post like this for some time now, and being that I just finished my first year at Usman danfodio University Sokoto, Nigeria. And the next academic year beginning in just a few weeks, I thought what better time to make a blog post like this for our 2019/2020 freshmen.

school can be rather brutal during the first few months in school, with you being far away from home in a totally foreign environment and academic system. Some kids crack within their first semester and drop out (it is no novel news that Nigeria has one of the most brutal educational system on the planet), I personally know three people from my department, which is the department of economics who had dropped out of school because they couldn’t keep up emotionally and academically. Ironically, a girl which I thought was better off academically than me quit school before we even wrote our first examinations!

Stressed student, Nigerian university examinations

For this reason, you have to come prepared for the very worst! Some universities are more bearable than others, but that’s just some, which is a meager drop in the bucket compared to the brutal multitudes!

Academic requirements of Nigerian university student

Because the stress of it all is just too much to cover in one blog post, I would create sequels over time to address every area which I think is important to know hopefully within the course of this week, my goal is to have a detailed resource for the freshmen who would be admitted into the system this year before the semester fully begins. As of the time of this post, the University I attend is yet released its admission list for the coming academic year.

This post will be about everyday survival tools to help you get through the week and possibly the semester.

What you will need to invest in and why

flats and trainers

Trainers, Nigerian student daily activities and lifestyle

Unlike most foreign universities, almost every location is situated far away from each other, imagine having three different lectures in three different locations that are all at least a thirty minutes walk or more apart. This can be hectic if your class schedule is back to back.

you might be thinking, “oh, then I’ll just use a public transport to get to where I want to go”.

What public universities are like for females in Nigeria

Uhh, no. Most universities do not offer in-campus transportation to various sites in the school. Most bus stops are situated from the school gate to the official in campus bus stop usually situated in the school’s banking area or mini mart. To get to the student’s residential area you either have to own your means of transportation (feet, bike, or car) or hire a commercial biker to take you there. But more often than not, the charges are quite exploitative.

Financial exploitation of students in Nigerian universities

The ironic thing about this all is that every single site in most universities is motorable, yet neither the school administrators nor the student body has done much to address this issue. I guess it’s their own way of forcing everyone to be active!

Means of transportation for Nigerian students

Over dress and jackets

This is a must, especially for last-minute call-in by lecturers. In your first year, you’d probably have troubles with your schedules and instructors who would suddenly fix an out of the blue class or test and worst of all take attendance and scores. Sometimes you might not get information about a deadline till the very last second, so because of the possibility of unplanned events popping up out of the blue, it is best to have pieces like an overdress or jackets just in case you are not put together at the call moment.

Clothing essentials for Nigerian students

Most universities in Nigeria, especially in the northern parts imposes decency in dressing, so pieces like this should not be ignored!

Dress code for northern Nigeria university students

Tupper ware, water bottles, and flasks

Most universities only have a specific area at which food, drinks or snacks are being sold. Usually, you are not going to find anybody selling or even hawking anything edible or not around classes, halls or offices. Having this, especially for those days you’d be busy running around would save you the stress and time to go look for food when you’re low on energy. There are times, however, when you won’t be able to leave the location you are at because of you having to wait in a queue or for a lecturer. From experience, these are the times you’d wish you had something at hand. Also having a spare of various stationery would prove life-saving too.

Electronic School planners and financial records apps

This was extremely handy for me when I was in my first year, so I will recommend this as essential for every student, especially the freshmen. Because I was new to the system, I would often time mix up my classes and venue as well as the courses I was taking for the day. I discovered the app “school planner” on play store and it had helped tremendously in not only keeping tabs with what I had for the day but as well as my assignments and grades.

How to keep track of your grades and assignments in a Nigerian university

It is very easy to have leaky wallets during this period and one would tend to spend without being able to remember what the hell they had used their money for, only to find themselves broke before the month had gone halfway through. The app money lover not only made me aware and accountable but better helped me make plans and budgets that only worked in my favor both long and short term.

Hats, sunglasses, sunblock

Weather Temperature in northern Nigeria

As you would be walking under the brutal sun for most of the day, it is best to always have this handy, especially when summer starts to close in. I didn’t have any of these things when I began my first semester and my skin suffered because of this. I literally went two shades darker! For those of you who plan on schooling in the northern parts, please do not ignore this as the temperature and sun exposure is at it’s extreme. Whether you are light or dark skin, do not ignore this. The hat and sunglasses would also make your walks under the sun more tolerable. They’ll also let you catch some ZZzz in a boring class without you getting caught by the professor!

antiperspirant/deodorants and mint gums

Do I really need to explain why you need this? Since you’d be walking and perspiring a lot during the day, you need something to kill any possible odor that may surface as a result of your daily activities, please do not ignore this if you want to save the noses of those who would be unfortunate to sit close to you during these times.


It’ll do you good to always have some change at hand just in case of unplanned purchases that may arise during the course if the day.

Invest in a bag pack instead of purses, as you would be carrying a lot of files during these period, unless you like holding loads in hand, then by all means skip this advice.

In a lot of the universities, the WiFi available could be quite slow when you have thousands of students logged in at the same time. Whereas some places do not have the school’s WiFi coverage. You need to set aside little cash for data subscriptions as you would need to be connected to the school’s site and various groups at all times. Most people would not bother calling you if there was an urgent announcement. All departments have their official Facebook or WhatsApp group for all levels, be sure to be added as soon as possible.

Every department level has a class captain who is usually elected by the course participants at the start of the year. Informations are often passed from the professors and department head through him/her, as well as assignments and documents submitted through them. it would be wise if you get this person’s contacts.

I think this should cover all there is about freshman year academic day life, although I do feel as if I am missing something, let me know in the comment section if you have any concerns or if I had missed something. For the next sequel I will be covering night life and social groups essentials so please subscribe to this blog to be notified when the post goes live.

Published by 11th House

Very little can be done to 'change' the world, especially if 80% of the stakes required for any degree of change to occur depends on other people's willingness to do so. I am not interested in "changing" the world, I'm only interested in changing myself and my 'world'. For, in the end, that's where the true change occurs.

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