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"Do not worry about making friends - it is easy!"

Posted 28 July 2013
student testimonial

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I knew I had this right. I looked it up again for the fourth time on the notepad my Mum had copied it down for me, just to be sure and “1 Billinton Way, Brighton” was definitely what it said! So it had to be my thick African accent, I concluded! It was three hours since I had arrived at Brighton train station and still no one seemed able to give me an idea of where to find my destination, even the taxi drivers. After much ado, I finally resorted to phoning my agent. How silly and frustrated I felt as I realised I had got the address all wrong! Nevertheless, I now made my way enthusiastically to the college!

I knew I had this right. I looked it up again for the fourth time on the notepad my Mum had copied it down for me, just to be sure and “1 Billinton Way, Brighton” was definitely what it said! So it had to be my thick African accent, I concluded! It was three hours since I had arrived at Brighton train station and still no one seemed able to give me an idea of where to find my destination, even the taxi drivers. After much ado, I finally resorted to phoning my agent. How silly and frustrated I felt as I realised I had got the address all wrong! Nevertheless, I now made my way enthusiastically to the college!

I had painted and re-painted this very morning in my imagination for four months now and had based it on everything I had scouted for about the college over the internet, coupled with loads of college films. I must say the 7th January 2013 wasn’t like anything I had imagined - it was better! I hadn’t expected to see a mixture of races all in one place relating with each other! And another thing that struck me was the diverse languages that were spoken. In the courtyard I heard a group of people rambling in a tongue I later learned was Russian. On the way to the residence I saw a group of Asian girls chatting away in fluent English and then, on approaching my room I discovered the people next door were French!!! I was so excited because I speak French too!!! To crown it all I was greeted by people from my own country too who were excited to meet ‘this new January starter from Nigeria’. It did feel a little like home already and all of this helped me overcome those nostalgic feelings that had hit me when I had boarded the flight to Heathrow.

My induction was the next major event. Approaching the exam hall, it seemed like a complete circus but I loved it anyway. There were so many people, each speaking their own different language and I joined in too and spoke with my new friends. Mr. Addison, the principal, arrived and gave a really motivational speech, after which I was issued my ID card and a sweet feeling of happiness swept over me at the realisation that I was now fully a student of Bellerbys College in Brighton.

All the A level teachers were lovely, as were the Foundation teaching staff and everyone else I met as time went on. The students seemed nice too, although it took quite a while for me to get over my shyness, almost everyone seemed approachable and this helped me a great deal.

Don’t get me wrong! College life is not as glamorous, musical and adventurous as it is portrayed in Legally Blonde, Pitch Perfect or some other high school/college film. Come on, this is reality we’re talking about here and groups of people don’t suddenly burst out singing and uniformly choreographing the same song all over the campus! College life has its ups and downs like everything else but I believe we, as individuals, have a say in what level of ‘downs’ we experience, to an extent. For me, my first ‘down’ was when I fell ill on the second week of school but with the college nurse’s prescription I was up and going again in no time and trying to make the best out of college life, even despite the rigours of school work and academics; the tests, assignments, exams and deadlines. Funny as it sounds, I’d say they’re all part of the adventure of college!

Brighton is a very beautiful and friendly city! Don’t worry about making friends, it's easy here! Even if for any reason you find friend-making hard at the college, it would never be an issue in the city. I recommend joining a sports club or activity as Brighton has something for everyone. And by everyone I mean that! If you’re a shop-a-holic then I guess I’ll probably be bumping into you every weekend at Churchill Square! If you enjoy reading, there are loads of book clubs and even a writing workshop once a month at Waterstones.

Having just concluded only one year of college, my story is only just beginning. Having schooled in a predominantly Nigerian boarding school all my life, Bellerbys College is a whole new experience - a truly wonderful one nonetheless!  Not only have I remarkably improved academically as I have learnt to study independently, which is what the college tries to instil, but I have also made friends in the staff, the students and the community at large who have all made my first year stay at the college memorable.

You can bet I’m looking forward to my second year already! In fact, I have already begun the countdown.  56…55…54…

I am Osariemen Osaikhuwuomwan (Love) from Nigeria and I study A levels at Bellerbys College Brighton.

Osariemen Love Osaikhuwuomwan

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