by Adedoyin Jaiyesimi


I can never forget the excitement that I felt on that sunny morning in August. I had just been admitted into the University of my choice. Finally! I was going to experience what it was like to be a university student. Let me confess, I even felt like a big babe, ‘omo university’.

My excitement was soon to reduce as I began my course at University of Leeds. These are the things that I really wish people had told me before I stepped on the plane to Leeds. It would have made life easier for me

Snow is not a beauty ornament
I really loved Christmas movies as a child. They showed everywhere being covered with this white substance and streets were beautifully decorated with Christmas lights. Why didn’t someone tell me this white substance was not just a beauty ornament? I experienced winter in its true form in my first year and it was deadly. I’m not exaggerating. The cold just hits you in your bones. It finds a way of getting to you through those layers of thick clothing. Oh how I longed for that sun I always cursed. As time went on, I learnt to adapt. Good luck if you are going to study in Canada.

No one needs your ‘good morning’
As the respectful Yoruba girl that I am, I remember going to campus the week lectures officially began and greeting my professors with all the enthusiasm that I could muster. Nigerian style of course. “Good morning sir”, “good morning ma” I beamed delightfully. The first lecturer looked at me like I was crazy; the rest looked like they had just seen a strange creature. I was soon to understand why. Your lecturers don’t send your ‘Nigerian respect’. “Call me Roger”. That was what the Dean of the Law faculty said in his first address to us. “Ah, call a whole Dean by name?” My Nigerian strong head could not take it. Again, I had to adapt. Soon enough I was saying “Hello Roger” Can you believe it?

Humans can manipulate time
Before I went off to uni, I knew 24 hours to be 24 hours. Time never changed. So imagine my great surprise when at the end of October, I received an email that the time would move one hour. “Move one hour? What is that?” Just like film trick, when I woke up by 8am the next day, my laptop was showing the time as 9am. Just picture how disorganised I must have felt. Luckily it was a Sunday. Same thing happened in March. Time changed again. This change was a welcome one as we gained one extra hour of sleep. The whole phenomenon was quite weird for me. Oh during the winter months, it starts to get dark by 4pm. So don’t be alarmed when you step out after your last lecture and it looks as if it is 10pm when it is only 6pm.

“Are you alright” is not an insult
So it’s the first day of resumption and I am at the bus stand waiting for the bus that will take me to campus. This girl comes, sees me, smiles and says “are you alright?” “Ahn ahn, did I tell you anything was wrong with me”, I thought while getting irritated. Since it was not my father’s land, I smiled and said yes I am. She gave me a funny look and boarded the bus. This scenario repeated itself throughout the course of the day and my first week on campus. Then I finally got it, “Are you alright” was their way of asking “How are you?” In Nigeria, “Are you alright” is not a greeting. It is an insult. Note that.

Living close to the city centre will harm your pocket
For those that choose to go to University of Leeds, the university is located right in the heart of the city. This means that you can easily walk to the city centre. For those who don’t understand, the city centre is the hub of every city in the UK. All the shops, restaurants and hangout spots are located there. I got a house close to the city centre because I wanted to be close to campus. In less than 10 minutes, I was in town. So I will deceive myself that I want to go grocery shopping and then I will pass by this large sign that says “Sales 50% off”. Only a woman with a strong will can walk pass such a sign without having second thoughts. I never could; even when I was broke. I will go in and check things out. So a large of portion of my money went into shopping. When I finished my course, I realised I bought a lot of things I didn’t need and ended up not using. Ladies, ‘Sales’ is not always your friend.

Despite the fact that I did not know these things, I was able to successfully complete my course with few hitches.