Dear Fresher- ‘Joba Ojelabi


Dear Fresher,

I write to you to share with you a different perspective to some of the realities that would house you for the next few years. Under normal circumstances, this letter should meet you in a place of excitement and curiosity. After all, it is scientific for any normal creature to want to explore when introduced to novelty. But we are not all always under normal circumstances and this perhaps is first thing you must learn. In the next few days, almost everything you would encounter would be novel to you and as such might require some getting used to, especially the people. Sometimes what you refer to as normal might be grossly abnormal to someone else. In situations where you have to share some resources with such a person, it becomes imperative to find a mutually accepted common ground. This ability to reach compromises you would need as its need would arise in every facet of your new life; in hostels, classrooms, and with things as seemingly meagre as public transport. The sooner you learn to live as a social entity, the easier your settling in becomes. 

However, in as much you must try to integrate into your new society, you must also learn to hold onto the individuality of self. The university is a beautiful place; one that affords a person a lot of opportunities both within and outside the classroom. So, you must learn to maximize your time within these walls, for in the end, it really is every man for himself. However, one thing I have come to find is that the walk-through Ife is easier with the right kind of friends. Therefore, at this stage, it is important to not deeply commit to any alliances until you can adequately determine the personalities involved. This also extends to larger associations, societies and even fellowships. Do take your time to understand what these organizations truly stand for before promising to become a member. The fresh year is often the experimenting year; trying out new things, visiting new places, meeting new people. 

Interestingly, some of these things can have more serious consequences than others. While attending a wide array of fellowships might not have any consequence than perhaps diarrhea from one of the welcome packages, using and abusing drugs might have more life-threatening effects. So Dear Fresher, you must learn to thread with caution in the cause of your experimentation.  

There is a popular saying that it is one the to pass through the school and it is another thing for the school to pass through you. Interestingly, this saying has been the basis of a number of mistakes in the University. Making friends and learning from older colleagues could help with this.

Speaking of older colleagues, I assume that by now you have come by a number of them already. Just as is in life, there are good ones and there are bad ones. Sometimes, it only takes a closer look to know the difference. I did woefully in Moz101 and as much as a part of me hopes that you do too, this is not to say that some of the most beautiful love stories have not come from that legendary carpark. Sadly, some of the most horrible ones have too.

Beyond all, you must strongly commit to your academic pursuit. Whatever goals you have should be clearly spelt out and you should get to work on developing workable strategies to achieving them. However, you must also prepare for other eventualities as you would come to see in time that things do not always go the way we plan them. Personally, I have had some of the worst days of my life on campus but this does not in any way take away the good days. And at the end of it all, it all just goes to show the interesting mix of colours called life. 

Dear Fresher, I don’t write you from a place of perfection and so this might seem to you as mere musings. I have had my highs and lows and have come to discover that sometimes, life is best experienced with a little bit of both. So, as you commence this journey with hope and excitement, I hope you are able to find and focus on the things that really matter and at the end of it all, I hope that you know happiness. For perhaps that is all that truly matters.

Regards,
‘Joba Ojelabi

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