Well it’s 12 days into the new year, over a month after we thought we would be starting class at the University of Ibadan, and neither classes nor registration has started yet. Our Yoruba teachers at the Language Flagship center on campus have finally decided to resume Yoruba classes while we wait for U.I. to get organized. U.I. was supposed to start on December 6th but the professors requested more time off for break so they extended the date to January 3rd. Now I hear registration hasn’t even started for some reason unknown to me, so we won’t start classes until next week at the earliest. I have come to understand that this is just Nigeria, nothing happens on time. We have been on break from all classes for the past two and a half months but at least signs of academic life are starting to show. Freshers are starting to pour into campus. Shiny faced girls with brand new weave ons walk in packs, exploring their new home. Really young looking boys with tight jeans and black rimmed glasses saunter around, looking all freshman like. Campus is coming to life. In Nigeria, first year University students are usually between 16 and 18 years old. They go to University after completing SS3 (secondary school level 3) and after taking the WAEC (West African Examination Council) exam.
Starting a new college semester is always something I look forward to. The idea of getting back in the academic and social groove with fascinating classes excites me. Reuniting with friends and meeting new ones in classes is the best. But this semester I have a totally different set of nerves. I am anxious but patient, excited but fearful. Overall, I am ready. Academically, I have no idea what to expect from this semester at the University of Ibadan. Will it be difficult? Will I have to study hard? I don’t even understand how we register for classes. Friends is an entirely other situation since I will know absolutely no one on the first day but everyone will surround me and ask me mine. It already takes me twice as long to walk home as it did four days ago because of all the people– complete strangers and people I’ve met once and don’t remember at all–who greet me on the way. At least all of the University classes are in English (except the foreign language classes) so I can soak up the new environment with the ease of understanding the professor without too much attention.