It is indeed a wonderful experience in the lives of the new undergraduate students who are admitted each year to various programs at Ahmadu Bello University Zaria. For the vast majority of them, if not all, this is their first real opportunity to live away from home. They will undoubtedly require a place to stay as they spread their wings and gradually enter adulthood. While ABU’s hostels are among the largest in Nigeria, they are still insufficient given the premier institution’s large student population, so many undergraduates will have to find alternatives off-campus. And deciding which option is best for you can be difficult.
Before I continue, I want to emphasize that if you are a Jambite or a freshman at ABU, I strongly advise you to try ABU Hostels at least in your 100 levels, if you can secure a decent bedspace. This is without a doubt the simplest and best way to adjust to university life. Trust me when I say that the experience is well worth it and crucial at this stage. For those of you who are undecided, here is a brief breakdown of the benefits and drawbacks of living in ABU hostels or off-campus housing.
Pros: ABU Hostel has a lot to offer. To begin with, your residence hall puts you in the heart of the campus’s vibrant life. When you live in the heart of the city, you can’t help but feel like a part of it. Furthermore, life in the ABU hostels is easy. Living on campus ensures that all research facilities and services are within easy reach, including water and electricity to classrooms and the library. And the shorter the journey, the more likely you are to arrive on time (7 a.m. classes can be challenging) Aside from the short commute, living on campus ensures that the school can provide people to clean the toilets, common areas, and general atmosphere of your hostel, among other things.
Furthermore, staying in a campus hostel puts you practically within arm’s reach of a large number of fellow students. Yes, ABU Hostels are an excellent way to meet new people and strengthen existing friendships. There is almost always someone to hang out with. And the relationships you create will shape your University experience just as much as the time you spend in the classroom or studying.
Cons: Of course, life at ABU Hostel has its drawbacks. Although it’s great that there are so many social opportunities and outlets within walking distance, it can be difficult to concentrate or carve out some quiet time. Cell division can be difficult to learn while your classmates are chasing desk chairs down the corridor. Furthermore, in ABU hostels, space and privacy are frequently restricted. Yes, there’s a fair chance you’ll be sharing a small room with a few others. Furthermore, bathrooms are usually shared, which means you may have to compete for shower time, etc. Simply put, it’s difficult to get away from your friends.
Pros: There are a lot of benefits to living off campus! To begin with, off-campus apartments would most likely provide you with more room and privacy. You can find that being able to spread out and not having to share a bathroom with 20 other people makes you feel more at ease. Plus, if you don’t have a bad neighbor(hood), your apartment would almost certainly be much quieter than the hostel, making it a better place to study!
You can also avoid the ABU Campus bubble by renting your own apartment or house off-campus. Local families, a “responsible” married student, or young working professionals may be your neighbors. Living off campus also allows you to have a better understanding of freedom and adulthood. You’ll have your own (mini) household to run. Furthermore, your apartment will not follow any of the ABU hall governors’ and administrators’ rules and regulations.
Cons: Depending on where you live off-campus, you might find yourself feeling isolated from your school and your peers. You likely won’t have as many friends residing around the corner or around the block. And, depending on how far away you live, your commute might affect how and when you choose to socialize Further, that taste of independence we mentioned above comes with increased demands and responsibilities. It will be up to you to take care of installing amenities such as cable or internet. You’ll have to keep up with all your bill paying. Additionally, it will be your job to clean (not to mention furnish!) your new digs. While we’re sure you have the skills and wherewithal to complete these tasks, don’t forget that they will also eat into your schedule.
WEIGHING THE COST
Another thing to think about is the price. You’ll have to carefully compare the price of an ABU hostel headspace with apartment/house rentals in the surrounding area to determine whether it’s a pro or con (for either option). Remember that your off-campus expenses will outnumber your monthly rent. You’ll also need to factor in things like electricity (which aren’t always included), cable, and transportation. You’ll also need to figure out transportation costs (whether by car, public bus, bike, or other mode of transportation) if you don’t think you’ll be living within walking distance of campus or an accessible spot. Obviously, depending on where you live off-campus, any of these costs might not be applicable But you will definitely have to do the math.
Do you want to live in ABU dorms or go off-campus?
There is no right or wrong response when it comes to the on-campus vs. off-campus controversy. As you can see, each alternative has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. It’s a decision that is entirely dependent on the needs and desires of the person. Finally, even if you come to regret your decision, you can take comfort in knowing that your time at Ahmadu Bello University is only temporary!