ON ANXIETY & ASUU STRIKE: THIS FEELS LIKE WAR


Black girl on twists wearing a black long sleeve shirt

I don't think I have ever felt this anxious in my entire life. Being a student in Nigeria does this to you; every month, you are one leg in and out of different opportunities because you are not sure when the federal government will end it's charade with ASUU. But one day you do a deep dive, you go all in, you decide to move on with your life and take on as many jobs/ opportunities as you can because the wait has become too long. Once you do this, ASUU conditionally calls off the strike. You look at the news. You go on Twitter. You panic. You wonder what this means for you. Then you start to cry.


You wonder what conditional means; if you are in your final year, you will be done before ASUU gets the chance to strike again, but if you are not, you can only hope and pray. Your parents or guardians want you to be happy that the strike is finally over and you want to be happy, but if there is anything you know about public universities in Nigeria, it's that they don't care if students have been adequately taught before the strike, they don't give two cents about the mental state of the students whose lives they have paused for months, all they want is to continue this race against time, to give out exams in a twinkle of an eye and admit new students as soon as possible. If we had a system that worked, we would start the session afresh and let students take their time to settle in and be properly educated. Being away from school for this long does something to you! You lose zeal. You lose motivation. Schooling now becomes a case of, 'let's just go and finish what we have started.' Why do students have to be the ones to suffer every time the federal government and ASUU start their back and forth? 



Nobody is really interrogating the effects and magnitude of this long pause in a student's life. In Nigeria, you almost don't have the luxury of just being a student. You are compelled to find something that gives you some sort of meaning or value, something that your certificate clearly can't give you upon graduation. Let's not start talking about the rate of unemployment in Nigeria or the gross underpayment of those already employed. That's a story for another day. 


Brown girl lookig at the camera

It is easy for anyone to sit on their impetus and say students should have used the strike to do something productive or at least read their books. While that is not entirely a wrong suggestion, it is often said without good faith, in a way that is conveniently ignorant of the reality of things. Not every student has the luxury of finding things to do. Heck, not every student wants to! Not every student can read without the structure of a functional academic session. Some students just want to be students. Is that too much to ask? Why does everything in this country require mental gymnastics and a lot of rigmarole? 


This is all to say students in Nigeria have felt different strings of emotions following the news that ASUU has called off the strike. We have gone from numb, shocked, sad, and hopeful. Most people are worried about the financial, academic, and mental implications of returning to school. The nerve of some federal universities to summon students to school with immediate effect, do they know we are in different parts of the country? Some people are not even in the country. I saw a rumoured timetable from my school that suggests we are writing exams in December. I have seen many types of wickedness, but this one takes the cake. This post is a rant and will probably do nothing to change anything, but here are a few tips to survive this period if you are overwhelmed by anxiety like me.


  1. Breathe, accept the situation and stop being in denial. Start slowly packing your bags and getting ready. You will be stretched and stressed but go to school and do your best if you believe in God, like I do, pray & praise. God is with you. You will not fail. Here is a heartfelt Prayer for students returning back to University by Mazino Malaka. It gave me strength. You should listen to it. 


  1. Try not to feel pressured by other people's achievements because you are about to hear many versions of, 'I earned in domestic and foreign currency and I turned Udemy and Coursera upside down.' It's good that they have moved mountains, but don't let it make you feel less than.  ASUU  and FG shouldn't have let this strike go on in the first place, so it's okay if you did not do and undo these past months. It's okay if all you did was not die.


  1. I don't know what this means, but find a way to read smart, adjust your reading pattern to suit the times ahead. Maybe join a reading group, consume summaries from different people or solve past questions. All I know is there is no time to overspend time on one particular course.


  1. If you are working remotely, renegotiate working hours, any sane employer should understand, except you lied that you were not a student when you applied. If you are like me and you can't totally stop work, take a day or two and focus on the bulk of your work, use the other days for school work. If you can quit work totally, then fine. It would be best if you had all the time you can get.


  1. Be ready to give weight watchers and body shamers gbas gbos, and this is my personal favorite. Stop enduring the nasty talk. Take it from someone who has endured it her whole life. Ignoring or pretending it doesn't hurt always leaves you feeling helpless and worthless. I think it's time to teach people emotional intelligence the hard way. Here is a template; if someone comments on your weight loss or gain in a lackluster or intrusive way. You can say "Don't talk about my body like that, you sound unintelligent and insensitive,"  say  "my body size should not concern you in this way, are you a pervert,"  say  "you must really be bad at time management and lacking in common sense for you to take out time to talk about my weight like this." As you people can see I am ready for everybody this period, the Roseline that used to suck it up, retired after her many visits to Nigerian hospitals these past months ( One day I will write about this in detail)



Black girl with hands Akimbo
As you can see my hands are on my head. It's only God that can do it at this critical point.

I am still walking through my anxiety and panic attacks while planning my life. Try to do the same. It's hard, it seems impossible, but try. I am genuinely praying for all of us who have to go through this. Also, if you know a Nigerian student, send them money, you can start from me. I highly recommend. 


Bye.





17 comments

  1. Omo. All I can say is Roseline has done it again. Magnanimously expressed the view of the majority and done it brilliantly. Thank you, chukwu gozie gi. Please return ASAP to school, people that missed you are waiting ❤️✨

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    1. Thank you so much for reading! I will be in school soon. Let's do this!

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  2. Wow! I could relate to this at so many levels. This write-up hit home. 🎯
    Indeed Roseline 'Mgbodichimma' Anyaokorie has done it again!
    - Chukwubuikem E. Onumajuru

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for your constant support. It means the world to me.πŸ’₯πŸ’œ

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  3. Thank you for this, especially the body shaming part, I love it. I believe God will see us all through.

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  4. Thank you Roseline. You captured everything.
    I'm so torn, after investing so much into my baking business it's difficult leaving it all behind, but no one cares. The worse part is that this rush leaves no room for students to run their businesses... I'm so tired 😩

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    Replies
    1. Ngife! God is with you. It seems impossible, but I am holding on to the fact that we would look back at this one day and laugh. You are unstoppable, you can do this! πŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œ

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  5. Thank you Roseline for sharing this! You've captured everything about the whole ASUU saga so well and this has filled me with hope and strength for the journey ahead. God bless you!
    _ George Zaka.

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  6. This was so beautiful. Also funny. You’re so inspiring. You know this but I’ll never stop saying it. How you’re getting by with all on your plate. And this is the one the public knows about. You deserve your coinsπŸ™ŒπŸ™Œ

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  7. Thank you so much Sis Roseline, God bless you

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  8. This heartfelt post beautifully captures the struggles and anxieties faced by Nigerian students due to the ASUU strike. Your resilience and determination to navigate through these challenges are truly inspiring. Keep pushing forward, and remember that you're not alone in this journey.

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  9. I can truly empathize with the emotional rollercoaster of being a student in Nigeria, navigating uncertainties with ASUU strikes. The struggle to balance opportunities, mental well-being, and the abrupt return to academics is a challenge many can relate to.

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