I have spent all of my previous semesters as a student of Obafemi Awolowo University living on campus and witnessing both the awesomeness and horrors of students living in the famous halls of residence.
Life’s pretty harsh around here, I’ve seen people go an entire day on an empty stomach, whilst still chasing multiple lectures in multiple locations, and after it all, they return to their rooms to soak Gari in the murky “Omole water” (named after the erstwhile Vice-Chancellor), and paltry peanuts and sugar.
Pile all that on top of the misery of the current economic recession and growing inflation, resources dry up fast, and students end up drained, emaciated, in the poor psychological state, overall in very bad shape. It’s a hard life. But you should learn to afford yourself as much comfort as possible.
1- Manage your resources
All fingers are not equal. This saying is too popular to be forgotten, and yet many students have no value for it other than to recall it sometimes when they it helps them little. There’s always a lot you want, but there’s only a portion of it that you NEED. You need to use a scale of preference in every situation.
Your friends and neighbors may be wearing cool shirts and nice shoes to every class, looking fresh and expensive. But that’s what you see, what you cannot immediately notice is the difference between what resources they have and what you have, and even what they themselves are going through beneath those cool faces.
So you have #3000, what are your needs? First, write down everything you wish you had at the moment, now pick out the ones that you cannot do without. You’re running low on foodstuffs, and it may be a while till you get any more money.
But you also want this really cool shoes, so ask yourself which one you cannot live without.
Also, do you know that those snacks and meals at canteens are sapping more of your resources than you can imagine? If you buy one “Gala” sausage roll for #50 and the plastic bottled 7up for #100, you’ve spent #150, and of that five hundred naira in your hand you have #350 left.
It still feels like a lot, till you buy #100 recharge card, Sugar and peanuts for #50, and then you have #200 left. You photocopy someone’s notebook for #40, bought banana chips for #50 amidst lectures, and a sachet of pure water for #10. And now you have #100 left, in just half a day.
What could you have done, you could have bought vegetable for #100, cow skin (Ponmo) for #120, and #20 locust beans. Then you could have used the little palm oil left to cook it with some powdered pepper, and you have something to eat with for 3 days! You eat “Eba” or Rice with it, you’ll be fine, with about #260 left. You’ll eat before going to class and you won’t need the junk food!
Manage your resources well.
2- Don’t suffer in silence
When you’re low on cash, or you’re down on foodstuffs, don’t hesitate to tell someone about it. Your Parents, your relatives, your friends… If you’re not frivolous with your spending don’t be shy to ask when you’re in need.
Don’t just surmise that the economy is bad, look for those who can help you, and tell them about it. Suffering in silence is the worst thing that can happen to a student, just tell someone about it, someone who can help you.
3 – Don’t overdo anything
Don’t overspend, over-buy, overtly stress yourself, or trouble yourself with needless burdens.
Don’t buy 3 things of which you need one. You probably do not need another pair of jeans. And you probably do not need an extra pair of shoes, and you probably shouldn’t get it.
Don’t go out of your own way to buy a girl/guy anything! Your girlfriend or your boyfriend is not your wife/husband! And that girl who’s your crush is not going to fall in love with you because you bought her #1000 recharge card, in fact, she may be using your attraction to her as an advantage. Be wise.
And have fun. Carefully