I have been wanting to write/talk about this for a verrrry long time now, and I am glad that I have the opportunity to. As a second year student, the comments I make below are a compilation of questions that I wish I had answered before going to college. I love my school (shoutout to my Gaels), but these are things I wish I was aware of. I have made it my personal mission to ask every college-bound student this question, and hope they can answer it.
Where is the college located?
I don’t just mean what state, province, or city your college is located; this also includes whether your school is in the suburbs, city or village. Each scenery has its pros and cons. If your school is in the suburbs, there isn’t much noise, there might be a sustainable means of public transport, and there are people who live nearby so it isn’t completely isolated. However, most suburbs don’t want college kids partying around, and it may be difficult to get off-campus housing close by. If your school is in the city, you have more housing options off campus. you can probably get around without your own vehicle cause everything is close by or within reasonable distance. There is also more to do besides studying (even though that is your no 1 priority), and you don’t have to answer to residents. However, cities are really noisy and distracting.If your school is in the village, you really have time to spend with your books. You can study in school and leave to have fun somewhere else. It might be difficult to live anywhere else that is off campus, and public transportation may be impossible.
What organizations and support systems are present?
What sorts of clubs do the schools you are applying to have? If you are like me, you want to be involved. You don’t just want to pass through college, you want college to pass through you. There are different categories of organizations. Are there academic organizations that cater to your major, or area of interest? Do your schools have diversity organizations, sports clubs,and just things that interest you? It might not seem relevant now that you are applying, but one day, you will be sitting in your tiny dorm room, wishing that you had a club meeting to attend.(My face will then appear in your head with me saying ‘I told you so’)
What are the ethnicity of the students?
As a Naija girl, I have always had Nigerians in my life. The only diversity I had growing up were people of different tribes. Going to college, I didn’t understand what that would mean. It’s all fun and good meeting new people from different cultures, but you want to have people who understand you on a deeper level. I am not saying that your best friend has to be someone of your ethnicity (not at all), but it is nice to say ‘no wahala,’ and people don’t look at you like you are crazy. Take into consideration the amount of people of your ethnicity/country who go to the school you want to go to.
Where can you get things done?
If you have lived in one place for your whole life, you take for granted how easy it is for you to do things. Before college, I had a hairdresser for braids, for cutting my hair, for weaves, infact any hairstyle I wanted to do had a designated hairdresser. I also had favorite food joints for anything. Basically I had my customers. Now I have learnt to make my hair myself because Nigerian hairstylists have raised the bar. Also the closest hairdressers for black hair are too far from where I live. That is just one example of things you need to get done. Think about the closest banks, closest grocery stores, barbers, food of your ethnicity,etc. Make sure you can get to these places whenever you need to, because it could be frustrating when you can’t.
Have fun applying and I hope you get into the school of your choice
1 Corr. 10:12-13-‘So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.’