~ Femi’s POV
The thought of knowing that the University of Ibadan was a very competitive school always sent a chill pill down my spine as I awaited the admission list. Even though my Jamb score was high, I was uncertain of what it would turn out to be. The course of study I chose was also competitive.
That very day, I sat relaxed on the couch in the sitting room. My phone was in my left hand as I scrolled through my newsfeed on Facebook. Then came Shola’s voice from the bedroom. “Femi, UI admission list is finally out. Hope you are aware?” She said and dashed out of the bedroom with a half smile. “How did you know? Are you sure of what you just said? Please, don’t joke with me.” I turned in her direction.
Shola and I have been very close right from childhood, and oftentimes we do prank each other and play other expensive jokes too. “No. I’m not joking. Why would I joke about such a thing?” she looked me in the eyes, and then I could tell she wasn’t joking. “Why not check their website and see for yourself,” she said, letting out a smile. My heartbeat suddenly went faster. It seemed like unusual electrification went through my veins as I stopped what I was doing with my phone and quickly clicked on my browser.
Subconsciously, I was sweating. Deep down, I prayed to be among the chosen ones, just as if my prayer could have changed anything then. Since I already had my jamb reg number copied to my clipboard, it was very easy to paste it on the box wherein my Jamb reg number was to be typed. Shola was watching from behind as she stood behind me.
“Femi, your hand is shaking,” she teased me.
“You won’t understand,” I replied with a half smile.
She simply chuckled and had her eyes glued to my phone.
The University of Ibadan had been my dream school when I was much younger. It was a childhood dream to end up as a student at the prestigious university. I can’t really tell why but I grew up to fancy the school based on numerous positivity that emerges from there. Their students are quite intelligent; both academically and morally. I knew so many people who desired to be there but eventually didn’t reach the cut-off mark. Some ended up in Polytechnics, others opted for other universities the following year.
The network seemed so bad as the browser loaded very slowly. I just couldn’t wait to know my fate. I quickly turned off the data and turned it on again in a second. In the blink of an eye, I was wowed to see an offer of provisional admission to study Mechanical Engineering; my dream course. I screamed joyfully while embracing Shola that we almost fell flat on the floor, but the couch in the living room saved us. I was overwhelmed; my heart leaped up for joy. I felt a surge of happiness. That was one happy moment of my life.
“Finally, I will be leaving this house for you all,” I said jocularly. Shola busted into laughter.
When mom returned, I told her and she was happy about it. She congratulated me while she seized the opportunity to advise me to be prepared for the challenges ahead. My father was glad when I told him I made the merit list. For the first time in a long time, he was proud of Femi. I guess I was the happiest person on earth.
Weeks later, it was finally time to move out of Ondo to Ibadan where my journey as an undergraduate would set in. I received tons of advice from my father: “Femi, don’t forget where you are coming from. Femi, don’t do this, don’t do that.” I responded positively to everything he said. Well, I was already a changed person; my mind was made up to turn a new leaf after the encounter with pastor Ben. I decided I was going to live right as soon as I step my feet in UI.
My mom was like, “Femi, don’t allow anybody to pressure you. Be contented with what you have.” I was just nodding my head like an agama lizard. I was going to miss them all and it was quite an emotional moment for me. Bidemi was equally around. She was back from school for the long break. I would miss her too. I told them I would miss them and they were honest to admit they would miss me too. Shola teased about coming with me so she would be cooking for me. Everyone busted into laughter. Indirectly, she made jest of me for not knowing how to prepare meals.
My black echolac bag was filled with my clothes. The other two bags contained my foodstuff and other home appliances and accessories I’d be needing in school. It was on a Saturday morning, and I was to go with my father in his car.
~ Biola’s POV ~
Three months of pregnancy and all I can say is, that it hasn’t been an easy ride. Yet, I was keeping up by the day. I thank God for Femi’s mom who was steadily checking up on me. She was there like a mother to me. She was the person who informed me about Femi’s admission status. Femi didn’t call me again after the very day I ended the call on him. I realized I was being harsh on him, but that was how I felt then. He truly didn’t deserve any form of rejection from me because we were in that mess together. Maybe I was tensed up because I was the one carrying the load.
After some days, I decided to call Femi. At least to congratulate him on his new feat. He was surprised I called, and at the same time, he was happy to hear my voice. It seemed there was something about him that I can’t get off my chest. I still liked Femi and I missed him too. Yes, I do. Femi and I got talking on the phone, and he told me he had changed from the old Femi I used to know. We laughed over it while he added that he changed from being nonchalant to being a very ambitious guy. He also talked about his challenges as a fresher. He confessed it hasn’t been an easy task. The call lasted for ten minutes and I was glad we got talking again.
~ Femi’s POV ~
As a new student of the University of Ibadan, I guess I was the newest ‘Jonny Just Come’ on campus. The school environment was new to me and there were so many things I needed to adapt to.
I wasn’t staying off campus. My father wanted me to live in the school hostel. He believed that would curb my possibility of living a wayward life on campus. Living in a school hostel wasn’t actually what I wanted, but that was my father’s decision for me. Nevertheless, living with people I barely knew in a room was something that really bothered me. But since we weren’t more than four in our room. I believed I would cope, I consoled myself. Although the room looked congested, I had to manage.
The University of Ibadan is also a very big school with a serene school environment for study. They have good infrastructures and good lecturers too. Though some people believed that the school is boring but I don’t agree. It’s generally up to you if you want to be bored.
I met lots of people and faces I barely knew would turn out to be my friends and coursemates. But just like my father had advised, I was conscious of the kind of people I relate with. Well, I’m definitely going to bore you if I begin to narrate in detail every single thing that happened in UI. So I’m just going to be brief enough.
One of the challenges I faced was stretching my intellectual prowess. I have never read in my life the way I read in UI just so I could meet up. I had to learn to strategize, learn smartly, discuss with a few coursemates, and collected lecture slides from people too. I was told they don’t set simple questions. On average, I can say a typical UI student is a bookworm. The majority of them are bibliophiles.
My early life at UI was kinda boring because I avoided night parties and all sorts of social gatherings that were held at night.
One fateful Friday, Biola called me on phone. She didn’t mince words before telling me why she called. She wanted me to pay her a school visit. She was literally craving my presence. I could feel her loneliness in her voice and it melted my heart. It was her first pregnancy and I felt she must be going through a lot.
Me: I will come around whenever I feel we have lesser lectures ahead.
Biola: That will be in a very long time.
Me: Um, I don’t know yet but I’ll try.
Biola: Anyhow shaa. Just try and come.
Me: Okay. I’ll.
From the look of things and how Biola sounded, I knew she must be missing me badly. I couldn’t feel well when I dropped the call. She could be facing some challenges, I had pondered. Throughout the night of that day, I didn’t sleep well. All my thoughts were centered on Biola. I had to call her on phone the following day being Saturday.
“Can you text me a proper direction? I’ll be coming today,” I said when she picked up the call. I could feel she was elated to hear I was coming to see her.
“Okay. I’ll send it as a text message,” she excitedly responded and hung up immediately.
Ibadan to Lagos is about two hours plus trip. So even if I decided to leave Ibadan later in the day, I’d still meet up, but because of security reasons, I left around noon, having informed two of my roommates, Kunle and Ifeoluwa.
To be continued…
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