As a blogger, your success depends ultimately on two factors: the amount of time and effort you put into your blog and how deep your connections are with fellow bloggers. Blogging is a fascinating hobby as much as it’s an exhausting chore. It becomes exhausting (and frustrating) when you’re forced to face the most discouraging blogging challenges — like schooling in Nigeria for instance.
Being a Nigerian student blogger has its limitations — worse is the case when you’re a first-year student who is still struggling to adapt to your new lifestyle and environment. If such is the case, it’s either these limitations frustrate you into quitting blogging or you man up and decide to face these challenges head-on by juggling your academics and blogging.
While I’ve never supported the idea of multitasking, I believe it’s much better and benefiting to mix blogging with your academics than to quit blogging. Though, if you try to do this without developing an effective strategy, your grades and the blog you’re so concerned about will eventually suffer. I should know this since I’m writing from experience — I’m presently struggling to dedicate equal time and attention to my blog and academics.
Now, without further ado, let’s take a look at these five challenges you would most likely face if you’re a Nigerian student who wishes to venture into blogging — or if you’re just another blogger who recently gained admission to a Nigerian university.
1. Inconsistent power supply.
Nigeria’s power supply isn’t all that great when compared to that of other countries such as China, USA, and even Ghana. Here in Nigeria, we offer goats and rams to God as gifts of thanksgiving whenever we get power for as long as sixteen hours a day.
Although the power supply is terrible across the country, it’s much better for people who live in Lagos State (like me) and other well-developed states. People who live in Edo State (where I’m presently schooling) and most Nothern states get it much worse. It’s so terrible that we could stay for days without power simply because of a light drizzle.
Now, as a student who has so many expenses to cover (school fees, accommodation, textbooks, utility bills, etc), you most likely won’t be able to afford a generator or an inverter. Even if you do manage to get a generator, at some point, it would become difficult to afford fuel for it.
What’s the solution, then?
If you live and school in an area where you get insufficient electricity, and you can’t afford a generator or an inverter, there’s very little you can do, really. It’s either you get yourself a good power bank or you get extra batteries for your phone that would serve as a backup. Or you could just do both because, why can’t you?
2. Expensive data rates.
In the movie Kingsman: The Secret Service, when Valentine (Samuel L Jackson) offered anyone who got his sim cards a lifetime of free calls and free internet, I was like, “Shut. Up! 😱” Although it later turned out that it was only a ploy to control people’s mind and set them on a path to kill each other, thus reducing the world’s population. SMH.
Seriously though, imagine a world where phone calls and internet are free — forever! With the exorbitant rates at which we buy internet data here in Nigeria, that world can only exist in our imaginations, unfortunately.
Students aren’t the richest set of people, so getting sufficient internet data (for mobile or MI-FI) can be a major challenge at times. Lucky for us, however, people are making great effort to curb this problem.
Many universities now offer their students Wi-Fi at a relatively cheaper rate, and Google has built numerous free Wi-Fi stations in Lagos and some other big cities. Also, banks like GTBank, Zenith Bank, and UBA now offer free Wi-Fi to their customers.
GTBank never failed me those times when I ran out of internet data and couldn’t afford more. So if, as a student blogger, you’re unable to buy data at any moment, I suggest you locate the nearest branch of any of these banks and make use of their Wi-Fi whenever you want to blog; at least until you buy data again.
3. Slow internet speed.
You would think that our network would be perfect since our data plans are ridiculously expensive, but that isn’t the case. According to The Punch Newspaper, in a recent test, Nigeria’s average download and upload speed were recorded as 10.76 mbs and 8.74 mbs respectively, thus placing us in the 105th position in the list of countries with the fastest internet speed.
Nigeria’s not-so-good network can be a drag on your productivity as a blogger. There was a time when I had to climb to the top of a building or a tree before I could surf the net effortlessly. Yeah, it was that bad. But it’s better now than those dark times (*shivers*).
In Nigeria, your internet speed largely depends on your geographic range and the service provider you use. Globacom arguably has the slowest internet speed, whereas MTN, Airtel, and 9mobile’s speed are quite fast. And in terms of location, it seems the network is the smoothest in cities like Lagos, Port Harcourt, and Abuja. If you school in remote areas like Abeokuta or Ekiti, chances are that blogging productively would be much of a challenge for you.
4. Tight schedule (no time).
Every student blogger can relate to this one, whether they school in Nigeria or abroad. As I said earlier, without a strategy that actually works, combining school and blogging is nearly impossible.
Being a student entails attending so many lectures, completing loads of assignments and projects before their deadlines; and if you’re a science student like me, you’d have series of practicals and experiments piled up for you every semester.
School life is already difficult; incorporating another difficult activity — like blogging — into your routine in your first year might not be such a good idea. BUT! If you can develop an effective strategy to manage the situation, things will get easier, I promise.
I won’t lie to you, though — it’s not going to be easy at the start. I’m still struggling to combine blogging and my academics in a way that doesn’t negatively affect my GPA or my productivity as a blogger. I’ve just come up with a strategy I think might work; I’ll test it out these coming weeks and see if it works. I sincerely hope it does.
Permit me to tell you why I didn’t blog consistently last month. When my classes fully resumed at the beginning of April, I had to wake up every morning by 5:30 a.m. to prepare for school so I could get to class before 7 a.m. Coming to class later than that meant sitting at back of the class or not finding anywhere to sit at all.
Lectures usually end by 6 p.m., but I always left school before 3 p.m. to attend this amazing tutorial class till 6:30 p.m. (Did I forget to mention that I always had my first meal for that day around 7 p.m. when I got home?)
So, from 7 p.m. until midnight, I would be doing my numerous assignments. Then I would spend the short period between midnight and 3am revising all the lectures that I had the previous day. In short, I was pretty much sleeping for just two hours every night, and I had no time to blog or be active on social media. Although I tried my best to keep up with the articles other bloggers were writing.
Last month wasn’t my best month because it was my first month in university, and I was struggling to adapt to my new environment and lifestyle. If you’re a student who wishes to start a blog, your life might not be as stressful as mine, but it will be stressful — at least until you develop that effective strategy I keep preaching about.
It isn’t my aim to dissuade you as a Nigerian student from blogging. No, never. I only wish to give you a heads-up on the changes you’re bound to encounter once you enter the university.
Realise now that if you had been blogging consistently before, this might change for a while. My advice to any first-year student who’s seriously nursing the idea of starting a blog is this: save yourself the stress and start your blog in your SECOND semester.
Dedicate utmost time and attention to your academics in your first semester. Also, use your first semester to learn all you can about blogging and develop effective blogging strategies; then brace yourself for the new lifestyle you’ll definitely adopt in your second semester.
And if you’re a blogger who just got into university, accept that your first few months won’t be rosy, and that you will find it difficult to blog as consistently as you normally do. Your traffic might drop, and your stats might start to discourage you — this is normal, but you shouldn’t think on it too much.
In fact, don’t waste too much time thinking. Rather, take an action — develop an effective strategy to help you juggle your academics and blogging AND STICK TO IT. Do this and not only will blogging become a fascinating hobby for you, it also won’t be a drag on your academic life as it is for most people.
Does your environment negatively affect your productivity as a blogger in any way? How so?
Happy new month, people! I’m wishing you the very best this month. Much love from here. ❤