Jambites is a lingo referring to freshmen in higher institutions in Nigeria, derived from the acronym JAMB (Joint Admission and Matriculation Board), the regulatory body responsible for organizing examinations and placements into higher institutions across the country. All Jambites must have heaved a sigh of relief when offered admission to pursue a course that would determine their career path.
When one gains admission into the university, it is like a dream come true and the beginning of a new chapter for many young persons, especially those who must have stayed at home for a year or two before the eventual admission.
You do not need to get caught up in this anticipation because knowing what to do will help you get by. When you know where you should go, who you should meet, and how you make friends are some of the many questions you will need to grapple with.
The following tips will help you survive your first few days on campus.
College orientation at the beginning of every academic session is important because it helps you prepare for the tasks ahead. During this period, you can attend a series of events that will introduce you to the new community and familiarize you with the resources to use throughout the year. This is to ensure that nobody is ignorant of the rules or unaware of where a particular facility like the bookshop, school clinic etc are situated or where a particular course will hold.
In some cases, students’ union leaders are involved in orientation programmes. These student leaders help familiarize Jambites with the resources, and plan programmes dedicated to first-year engagement, which help you feel more comfortable in your roles as members of the new community.
This few days’ experience before the commencement of lectures will help students acclimatize to the campus. Some relationships are struck, and opportunities to get involved in campus life are unveiled.
Some schools offer tours for freshmen to explore the campus. You can also go with a friend to different spots around the campus. Some Federal Universities in Nigeria have recreation centres like zoos, hills, waterfronts, botanical gardens etc.
Find a map or direction of the campus so you know where to find the major buildings and recreational centres. Unilag, for example, has a lagoon front and trees that provide shade. You can also go for an informal walk and see where everything is all by yourself. Visit the hills, sports centres, and zoological gardens we have at the University of Ibadan. You can go inside buildings and look at where your classes are and what the classrooms are like.
Try to find where the cafeteria, faculty advisor offices, Students’ centres, gyms and other resource centres are located.
Who you were in high school is of no importance now. No one cares if you were a prefect or the school football captain, or voted the most likely to sleep in class. You can be who you want to be and it is possible to turn a new leaf in your life pattern.
As a fresher, you are expected to have the necessary tools that will help your studies. Your lecturers will hand out the class syllabus and go over what to expect in the semester. Remember to take notes to keep track of all the information that will be given. Some students take notes with their phones but not all lecturers would like the use of cell phones in their classes. Know what each lecturer would tolerate.
College Dress Codes
Dress codes in tertiary institutions tend to be a little less strict than in Secondary or High school. Some Universities in Nigeria expect strict adherence to their dress codes. Regardless of whether your school has a dress code or not, you should endeavour to dress appropriately in line with set codes for classes and around the campus.
You should note, that you will “be addressed, as you are dressed”.
Meet the People in Your Hall of Residence
Hopefully, by the first three days in school, you will have met your roommates and interacted with other hall residents, stay open to other people in your room or hall and have good relationships with people around you, your coursemates; they are a veritable source of information on development in the school. Trust that nobody is perfect and that we are all fallible.
Eat Good Meals
Many people are so nervous on the first day that they forget to eat. You can prepare breakfast in your dorm if your school permits. You can also buy some groundnuts, biscuits, kuli kuli or gari (cassava flour) for snacking. Occasionally, some beverages or coffee can come in handy.
For lunch, you should try to visit your school dining hall. You can go to the dining hall as a group or alone. It is okay if you feel anxious as you enter the cafeteria, but you will get by with time. You can eat alone, but feel free to sit down anywhere and talk with the people at your table.
For dinner, you can visit a restaurant on or near your campus. However, for security reasons, it is not advisable to go wandering outside the campus on your first few days in school.
Attend Co-curricular Activities
Schools encourage students to participate in club activities. They also fill in the extra hours of your day and let you develop soft skills you can use for jobs and hobbies. It is another opportunity to make friends, ensuring that you pass through the school and the school through you.
As a new student, try to identify with only those clubs that are registered with the school so that you are not lured into groups with clandestine intentions. To do otherwise can land you in grievous problems.
You can browse the options which are so diverse from social clubs to faith-based groups in our academic societies. There is something for everyone! Take a deep breath and trust that you will fit into one on the list.
Some clubs organize meetings for freshmen to visit; you can attend as many that interest you as you can. You do not have to commit to anything just yet. Stay open to learning about what fun can be had outside the classroom and remember why you are in the university.
Ladies should not anxiously be looking for a relationship. Dreaming of the possibility that you will find the one who will bring your ring by spring could happen, but it does not go that way all the time. You will find a good boy when you least expect it, and you usually end up with jerks when you are desperately looking for one. Be careful when offered a drink because your favourite fizzle drink may not just be what it looks like. Never take a drink from somebody when you have no idea what is in it because boys can lace any drink with alcohol or drugs to taste like your favourite juice. Keep safe.
You will need to take your academics seriously from the first day, spend nights in the library, and avoid procrastination. Study rather than memorize information like you did in your secondary school days.
Whatever happens, you can enjoy your first few days on the campus; stay optimistic and with every passing day and every semester to come, you will become more confident as a member of the academic community.
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