Maryam resumed the new academic session with so much energy. However, just a few weeks after her resumption, she struggles with her mental health. Maryam had always wished to stay in the school halls of residence, and behold! Her wish came true. She was excited to move in the following day after clearing her bed space and settling down. With so much positivity, she moved into her room. To her greatest surprise, her roommates were top girls from affluent homes. She immediately felt she was below their class.

She compared their soft and new Mouka foams to the old tattered bed she got from her school mother. They had throw-pillows, beautiful stools, and electronic gadgets beyond her purchasing power. She suffered from a severe inferiority complex.

She moved to her bunk only to see a bunkmate who looked like a foreigner because of her long, curly hair and fair skin – almost Caucasian. Her bunkmate is so beautiful, and her skin glows. She admired her and wished herself to be just as beautiful as her. As Maryam arranged her stuff into the locker in the room, she saw things for which she dared not ask prices in her room mates’ possession.

She knew, without being told, that she could not afford the items. The tins of chocolate powder, milk, and coffee that brimmed her room mates’ lockers mocked her teabags. They had canned meat and fish, and her mom even whined that she couldn’t get her dried fish because of its strangulating cost.
She compared everything her roommates have to hers, including their well-arranged set of boxes.

Slowly without realizing it, Maryam was losing her self-esteem, and she was starting to feel so inferior to her roommates. She wasn’t comfortable staying in the room with them because she felt unequal to them in the standard of living. Maryam’s mental health is in danger.

Abdul-Raheem lost his mind when he realized that his three closest friends had replaced their old phones and resumed with new portable laptops. He felt out of place and wretched. He was still using his old phones, and he didn’t even own a computer.

Most of his friends resumed with new clothes and expensive wristwatches when he returned to school with his old clothes, cramped up in his old box. He didn’t want to hang out with his friends anymore because he felt low and probably told himself that he stood no chance at getting the attention of the beautiful Ashabi he had been ‘eyeing’ for months.

He finds his mental health in a battle with his jesting friends who derided his torn trousers and old phone anytime he tried to form ‘big boy’. Abdul-Raheem wanted a new phone like his friends’, and slowly, he lost concentration in class while also losing his mind. Sad! Abdul-Raheem ran into the embrace of depression whilst trying to chase his friends’ shadows.

These illustrations are some of the various ways students feel oppressed on campus.
The feeling of inferiority because we can’t afford what others can is one of the problems confronting our mental health as students on campus. Belonging to a clique that uses iPhones while using a pocket-friendly Android device is a nightmare students would do anything to overcome.

We sometimes feel inferior because we don’t have enough money in our accounts like our mates or eat and dine with ‘Sapa’, unlike our rich mates.

This feeling of inferiority often results in depression which is just as deadly as Cancer because it eats deep into our happiness, success, and healthy way of life as students. While some end up as drug addicts, some; failures in everything they do, some as deranged individuals, and some often go to the extreme edge of committing suicide.

The popular slang “Na Mumu Dem Dey Oppress” is not just slang. It is a warning and a solace to every one of us. Dear one, having everything everyone has is not happiness but being satisfied with everything you have, lies true joy.

In a country with harsh economic conditions, where our parents struggle to make ends meet for us, the least you can do is to be appreciative. Coping with things you lack is hard, but managing depression is more herculean. Keep your eyes on your goal here as a student and keep your mental health safe.

Remember, your mental health is also your wealth. Keep it healthy!

NB: The names used are fictional.

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