September 29, 2016, by International students
Leaving my hometown Benin City in Nigeria, for the United Kingdom, I always knew the weather was going to be an issue. This meant going from fire into an ice-making machine. This might sound like respite, but the story is best told by international students, most especially those from Africa and Asia.
Complaining to my course coordinator, he reminded me of the saying, “that there is no such thing as bad weather, only improper dressing” and further advised on getting thermal clothes (which I already had). Furthermore, he said with a smile, “After every dark winter, there is a glorious spring”.
However, the weather always had the upper hand.
Taking a retrospect back to October 2015, I began to settle in the University and gradually appreciated the landscape. The green areas mixed around the built environment, the hills, as well as the bell in The Trent Building. All three features kept me going, in good and bad times.
The green vegetation always brought about a renewed sense of appreciation to God almighty, for the wonder of his creation. Hence, I cultivated a “non-African” habit of taking a fifteen-minute walk on the field, after a hard day of study. During these sessions, I was able to disconnect from the vicissitudes accompanying academic life.
As time went on, I got a bicycle with which I used to traverse the length and breadth of the University Park Campus. As expected during my rides, I had to put in a lot of pedalling effort when climbing a hill. This continuous act reminded me of the challenges I have as a student and the only way to overcoming it, was by putting in more human effort; though I must admit that while climbing the hills sometimes, I had to get down from my bike and complete the ascent on foot.
Riding down the hills is always easier, and it portrays a picture of the reward that comes after hard work. The exhilarating moments of descent acts as a period of refill for time and energy spent on assignments and exam preparations. These were admittedly some of my finest moments. However, during the period of descent, I sometimes got carried away and veered off to a wrong lane. This tells me not to get too comfortable even when I have cleared my tasks as a student.
My favourite of all three, is the bell in the Trent building; more so that I have memorised the tunes whenever it sounds on fifteen minutes intervals. The bell is a clarion call, which makes me ever-conscious of what needs to be done, and most importantly, when.
Even after the completion of my thesis, the far-reaching sound of the bell as well as the hilly terrain, still serves as a timely reminder of the challenges that lies ahead.
As a Nigerian, I am entitled to three closing remarks namely, Finally, Lastly and Conclusively.
Finally, despite the advice given to me by my course coordinator, I still struggle with the relatively cold nature of the weather even during the spring and summer terms. I believe it became an issue of “how much damage had been done during the winter, which goes forth to determine how glorious the spring will be”.
Lastly, I’ll advise everyone to be a friend of nature, because it is indeed God’s first missionary. The creator has put things in place, to make our day to day living worthwhile. However, it is our responsibility to explore and make good use them all.
Conclusively, whatever challenge faced while studying, is surmountable. It is a matter of making use of the intellectual resources available in the University.