The university hostel is a beautiful place to live in while schooling. It is a world of its own with the good, the bad and the ugly. For many who are currently residing in the campus hostel or were once residents, you’d agree with me that there are quite some funny and annoying behaviors exhibited by students living in the hostels. One of the most important questions that comes to the mind of every newly admitted student A.k.a fresher is, “Do I live in the university hostel or off campus I.e. outside the school campus?”
Speaking from experience as a four-year resident of the university hostel, I advise that you should at least live in the hostel in your first year(100L). You know that saying, about letting the university pass through you as you pass through the university, it is pure fact.
As you make the decision to stay in the hostel, there are some behaviours which you should watch out for because you must surely meet most if not all of it. These behaviours or habits are predominant in the federal and state-owned universities. So, if you gained admission into a private university then there is nothing to worry about as most of the hostels built there are posh, comfortable and under strict supervision and control.
Common behaviors to watch out for in a typical Nigerian public university hostel: A fresher’s guide
These behaviours are different depending on gender; that is, the male hostels have behaviours quite different from the female hostels. The behaviours to watch out for in a typical Nigerian public university hostel includes.
1. Presence of more room occupants that the number initially assigned: upon payment of hostel fees, you were told that there will be just 4 or 5 occupants in the room but alas on the first night you spend in your room, you discover that 8 or 10 persons are about to pass the night as well. You will end up wishing you had complained or talked about it but then you are just a fresher and a little bit confused of the system. These other roommates are squatters who due to the fact that they were unable to get a hostel space or afford to live off campus are taken in by your original roommates.
The worst part of the problem is the different snore sounds that pervades the room every night. Very annoying indeed but hey! You will get used to it eventually because when you complain, you will be told to deal with it as you are no longer in your father’s house or you can decide to report the matter to the authorities. In all, strive to live in peace with your roommates.
2. Mischief while bathing: You are bathing and when you are covered with soap suds, someone comes and quietly carries your bucket of water away. With soap in your eyes, you try to scoop water in order to rinse off only to realize your bucket of water is no longer there. This is what I call village people at work. It usually happens when there is scarcity of water in the hostel. Very ironic I must say for a hostel that promises constant light and water. The Nigerian factor is at work and you have to deal with it. This mischief could also be from a friend that wants to prank you or a foe that wants to ‘pepper you’ (a common pidgin English slang). This annoying yet funny behavior is most common in the boys’ hostel.
3. Stalling your meal at the approach of friends: This behavior is rampant amongst both boys and girls in the hostels and it is something you will learn in time because every student is to manage their foodstuffs. So, when you sight your friend coming, you quickly put away your food no matter how hungry you are. As funny as this sounds, it is a method students employ to ward off those who are fond of coming to their rooms when they see food is ready.
4. The perpetual beggars: These are hostel students who unashamedly beg for everything. For instance, someone will come to beg for Eba because he/she has cooked soup while others will separately beg for Eba from one person and beg for soup from another person. You might argue that these students are poor hence their behavior but the truth is that most that do this have foodstuffs and are lazy to Cook it or they are hoarding their foodstuffs trying to finish what others have.
If you eventually run out of food and go to them to ask for some, they will tell you that theirs is finished even when it’s not. Some go as far as begging for your Stove or gas cylinder to prepare a quick meal like noodles but rest assured that your gas or stove will be returned empty to you because they will use it to cook beans and rice which takes a longer time.
5. Stinginess: You will end up becoming tightfisted with time in the hostel because previous acts of generosity will leave a long queue at your door and word will go round that you are a giver. As a fresher, you are still naive or oblivious to the fact that you are being used by other students but with time you will notice this and wise up. Always remember that giving or helping out those in need within your capacity is good and the right thing to do but know where to draw the line between goodness and stupidity.
6. Messed up toilets: This is one of the things that I hated during my stay in the university hostel. It’s also the major reason some students vehemently refuse to stay in the hostel. As a fresher, bear in mind that this is a constant. The toilets will often be messed up. Even if you go as far as washing it yourself every day, you will be dismayed upon return to see heap upon heap of faeces that will require the fire service to bring water to flush.
7. Roommates and neighbours inconveniences: Meeting and eventually living with other people whom you never knew before can be fun and entertaining as it is annoying. You should know that your roommates came from different backgrounds, differ in personality, belief and behaviour. You may come back from class after lectures, Cook, eat and lie down to try and get some sleep only for your roommate to start playing loud music with his/her mp3 player hence disturbing you or it could get as bad as coming back from night class to see your roomie cooking beans at 1:00am amidst the heat and overpopulation. As annoying as this may be, you just have to deal with it and try to maintain peace.
In all these, always know that the university hostel is a place where you learn to be a better version of yourself by learning the good stuff from others. It is a place that tests your patience, builds your character and helps you discover and correct certain behaviours you thought were cool.