Welcome, Freshers: The Only Exit is Through the Furnace

In nine months, you’ll sit on your bed in your hostel, sweating and looking around the room that has been your home for the past months. You’ll let out a little sigh, stand up, fold your bed, and tie a rope around it, adding it to the pile of properties that you’ve accrued over the months. You’ll realise that you did it despite the times that you wanted to quit, despite the times that you feared failure. But just before that, a lot will happen.

Six months have passed since the University of Ibadan offered provisional admission to the new students to expedite their learning. They resumed six weeks of virtual classes, which started on the 8th of April and concluded on the 17th of May. Their matriculation was also held virtually on the 23rd of April. This meant that they didn’t get to don the matriculation gowns, but fortunately, it also meant that we have freshers who read the UI anthem and can now quote parts of it for reference.

Having Virtual Classes meant that despite not having met their classmates physically, they interacted with them. Speaking with the press, a member of the 2K27(the new set of MBBS freshers) class had this to say: “I didn’t start interacting with the group until about two months after it was created. Since March, yeah. 

It’s been an enjoyable time with them.” He said.

 Speaking on the misconceptions he had previously had about medical students when he was in secondary school, he had this to say: “Na lie. These guys have been a joy to talk to and relate to, and I can’t wait to meet them physically. We’ve shared a lot of laughs, we’ve brainstormed a little, and it’s just been a lot of fun these past few months”. 

During the conversation with him, he also confirmed that he had cosied up to another department during their preliminary Science Lectures (Che 156, Phy 102, etc). One might think they’ve already settled in, but there’s much more to it. As everyone gears up in preparation for the physical resumption, here’s what the green-horned students can expect during their first year at the prestigious University of Ibadan.

First Semester: “Jambito”, Registrations, CBN Lecture Theatre and Freedom

Every freshman in a university is usually excited to start this new phase. But along with this emotion are several others. IfeOluwa, a freshman, admits to this. She says that while excited to resume undergraduate school, she fears certain things. She says, “I’m most excited about being in a new environment and putting all I’ve learnt in my 15+ years of being alive to good use and generally just improving myself in every way I can”. And on her fear: “My main fear is that…..I won’t have time for socialising and academics at the same time. But I hope to learn how to balance things”. 

But when the wave of numerous registrations hit, it’d eventually feel like there’s no time to focus on these feelings.

A large majority of the first semester is spent on registrations. Firstly, you’d have to register in your hall of residence. After payment, this process will begin on the first day of physical resumption. The Management of the Halls of Residences (HoRs) will release the list of requirements for registration. These are the same across all HoRs. 

Queen Idia Hall requirements for registration 2021/2022 session

Next up is the departmental and Faculty registration, registration for the University Health Services (UHS), and registration for your Student Identification Cards, among others. Arinze, a member of the 2K26 class,  shares his experience: “Before coming down here, I had the foreknowledge that I needed lots of passport and lots of registrations, moving from office to office to get my registrations done… I used less than 25 passports instead of the 40+ I was told I’d be using. I was also prepared for days and days of clearance but surprisingly it was just one day and I don’t think I stayed there up to 4 hours

After you’ve settled into the space you’ll share with 2, 3 or 5 people for the next couple of months. The next step is to prepare for the barrage of orientation programs organised just for you. These are usually from their primary groups. The first is the one organised by your religious affiliation. These include but are not limited to MSSN, IVCU, and others, followed by the one organised by your respective halls.

 These orientation programs are usually held to introduce you to the rules and regulations guiding the activities in the hall. For some hostels, a baptism is organised alongside—finally, the ones organised by either your faculty or department. Every single speaker at each of these orientations has a piece of advice for you. While they have good intentions, you must learn to sieve through them and select the ones that’ll work for you. Or you could just be like Zara and not have a flair for the orientations. She shares her experience: “I had many orientations before resumption. After resumption, I was not a fan. I don’t attend school fellowship, so I didn’t have any religious freshers welcome experience.

Next up is adjusting to the academic workload. You’ll have classes and practicals that’ll run into each other.  For preliminary Science and Technology students, you’ll have shared lectures with 100+ other students at the famous CBN Lecture Theatre. Classes will start at 8 am, and during the first couple of weeks, you’ll be at the door by 7:30 am, waiting for them to open the door. 

Toba, a member of the 2K26 class, shares that the lectures were selectively helpful for him and that it was easier to follow courses with calculations. “ Honestly, the lectures were selectively useful. I flowed in lectures for topics that had calculations because I had to engage in the class actively. For those lectures that were mainly theoretical, I didn’t connect; all I did was drift along.”

He adds that sitting at the front made learning more accessible for him. “For most of the lectures I attended, I made sure to sit at the front, which made it easier to hear and understand the lecturer when there were technical issues, which often happened.” 

Slowly but surely, the era of waiting at the door for several minutes before classes will stop, and the population of the classes will start to decline. 

The Continuous Assessment Tests will sneak up on you since this intake had a couple of weeks of virtual classes. You’ll finally have your first taste of exams at the University of Ibadan. During this period, you must expect a wave of tutorials to be held all over campus, some free and others paid. 

After the first test, the semester would have halved, and the University of Ibadan Students’ Union Freshers’ Week will be organized. A variety of events are usually hosted this week. The previous freshers’ week featured a campus tour, orientation day, an oratory competition, eating competition, movie night, variety night and a Health and Sports day.

Finally, the timetable will be out with General Studies Exams first. These will be conducted at the University of Ibadan Distance Learning Center (DLC). A few days after that, after you have indeed written all your tests and seen some results, the other exams will hold. 

Second Semester: “Academic Comeback”, Jaw War, Extracurriculars, Elections

After surviving a semester as an undergraduate, the excitement of resuming the second semester will not be as great as when you were a newbie. You may be identifiable as a jambite in a crowd. The second semester is usually packed with activities. People who were high flyers in the first-semester resume with the struggle to keep up the shining track record. For others, they resume with a promise to turn their academic life around. Coupled with this academic pressure are the social events. 

“Lagbaja is Coming”, “Tamedu welcomes you back to school”, and flyers will be strewn around the virtual space on campus. This is in preparation for the grandest event of the session: the University of Ibadan Students Union(UISU) Elections. The election period is usually heated, and the entire campus is actively involved. Candidates would visit all residence halls to announce their aspirations and ask to be voted for. Then, the Press and Manifest Nights will be held to assess their candidacy. After the UISU elections are held, the departmental, faculty and Hall elections are held with the same vigour.

You must also expect the buildup to the most significant public speaking event in Nigeria, Jaw War, which will be hosted this semester. Jaw War usually features two different categories: the faculty and Hall categories. It’s a debating and oratory event where halls and faculties go head-to-head with each other. This occurs in stages; the finals are usually held at the International Conference Center. Jaw War is the biggest gathering of UI students, and the sensation created on the internet about it is generally exciting.

Finally, the parties. After an entire session of studying at the university, is relaxation necessary? After all, a famous saying goes, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. The Halls of Residences, departments, faculties, fellowship and UISU will host their weeks. These are usually spread through the second semester’s second half, with most coming up after exams.

These are the highlights of the second semester, but there are several other events in between, so you must be careful to stay invested in these activities. This is so that you would pay attention to your academics. 

Your first year at the University of Ibadan is the hardest. But after surviving it, you’ll look back reflectively and realise that it was indeed the easiest, but you were also at your weakest. You’ll finally await The Book so you’ll know your fate and your tag will change from ‘Freshers’ to ‘staylites’. 

It’s been nine months; you will look in the mirror and bear a resemblance to the person you were months ago. You’ll heave a sigh and turn the key to close the room that had been home for you and lift your properties as you move out of the Hall for the session. 

Afeezah Wojuade

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