Students in Nigerian universities have stories to tell, but hardly anyone to tell them to. For our weekly series, Aluta and Chill, we are putting the spotlight on these students and their various campus experiences.
This story contains distressing information. Reader’s discretion is advised.
The subject of this week’s story is Kizmat Balogun, a 400 level student of Law at Lagos State University. She talks about her ill-fated relationships and how they’ve affected her academic life.
Tell me about how you got into school
It’s one of the easiest things I’ve done. I wrote the UTME exam in 2016 and after that, I passed the LASU screening process. It’s interesting because I didn’t apply for Law — I wanted to, but for some reason, it wasn’t available at the time of registration, so I chose Mass Communication instead. When the admission list was released, however, I found out that I’d been offered admission into the Law program. It was weird.
How did that feel?
It felt like a miracle. I couldn’t complain because I felt like I would struggle with Mass Communication. Law was always the dream.
How were your first days in school?
They were characterized by loneliness. And this was a problem because loneliness puts you in tough situations where you begin to make bad decisions. In my own case, it was letting an ex back into my life.
Tell me about that.
I started dating him in secondary school. Let’s call him A. It was always back and forth with him, so we weren’t together when I got into university. When the loneliness hit the peak, I called him and we worked our issues out. It turned out that I played myself.
Premium tears. To be fair, everything was fine for two weeks before they started to go downhill. It was a long-distance relationship, the only way it could work was with proper communication, which he didn’t commit to. He liked to play the “I’m too busy” card, leaving me to do all the work to make sure we stayed together. He simply didn’t care. The situation with him got so bad that it started to affect my relationship with the few friends I had.
I was usually irritable every time we had our fights and my friends bore the brunt of it because they were the ones I could vent my anger on. Not my proudest moment.
That doesn’t sound like fun
No, it wasn’t fun. I was in my first year and I had my grades to worry about. Thankfully, I realised how much my relationship with him could hamper my grades, especially since he was bent on bringing me down. I knew it was time to let him go again. It was a tough decision to make, but it had to be done. I managed to detach myself from him before exams started so I could have the headspace to study. Immediately after I finished writing my exams, I hit him up and told him that I wanted out.
How did he react to that?
If he was hurt, he didn’t show it. I don’t think he was, though. He said okay, ended the conversation and moved on with his life. I was livid.
That’s so sad. Moving on must have been hard.
It was one of the toughest things ever. We had a couple of mutual friends, and every single one of them reminded me of him. He was out of my life, but somehow, he was still a part of it. 2017 was wild.
When did you completely get over him?
2018, I think. I was finally free and back to living my best life. However, I couldn’t stay single for so long. That life didn’t cut it for me.
I don’t know. I always felt like I needed someone to lean on to — someone I could call mine, basically. I guess that makes me a hopeless romantic.
We all need someone to lean on.
It was 2018 now, and I had just gotten into 200 level. My grades weren’t the best they could be, but they weren’t bad. I thought I deserved to blow off some steam. I attended a friend’s birthday party. I had no expectations and was going along with the flow. I met another guy there — let’s call him B. We danced together, and at the end of the night, he collected my number, promising to reach out.
Did you feel like there was something there?
Absolutely. I was elated. He reached out the following day and the game was on. The dude knew what he wanted and went after it. He made it clear that he wanted a relationship. He told me he was going to ask me to be his girlfriend the following week and I should take this as a heads-up.
How did that make you feel?
I respected his approach, actually. It also helped that I was attracted to him already. He seemed pretty okay, to be honest. What could go wrong? Anyway, I agreed to go out with him.
He was an upgrade from my ex. We had an amazing time together until he decided to ruin it.
What did he do?
It was more about what he wanted to do. B wanted sex to be a part of the deal, even though I didn’t. We were only two months into the relationship, for God’s sake. He became relentless, always going on about how he’d been sexually active before he met me. His persistence was a red flag — but I didn’t see it immediately. Also, he was bad for me because I was totally distracted from school — we spent so much time together and school work suffered because of it.
When did you know it was a problem?
I was at his place one day and we were making out. It happened so fast, but he pinned me against his mattress, staring down at me. I recognised what he wanted to do. I told him no and begged him to stop, but he showed no reaction. He was going to have his way with me until he realised that I was on my period. That was my saving grace. Eventually, I was able to push him off.
Wow. That was a rape attempt.
It was, and I called him out for it. I was devastated and angry. Of course, he apologised. But when I called him a rapist, he flared up. It became this huge fight.
But you broke up with him, right?
You would think so. I still don’t understand how I couldn’t go through with it. I didn’t forget what he tried to do and its consequences, but I honestly thought we could get past it.
What was the thought process behind that
I thought it wasn’t worth the trouble. If the word got out, most of the blame would be on me because I was the girl. I thought it would be easier to reel it all in and pretend that it didn’t happen. The relationship was doomed to fail from that moment. He wouldn’t stop trying to get me to have sex with him. Eventually, he told me he wanted a break. “My boyfriend” wanted to go and satisfy his sexual cravings with another girl and come back to me when he was done.
Yup, that happened. That was the dealbreaker. I told him to go and do whatever he wanted. It was over.
I’m sorry you had to go through that
I was inconsolable. My grades had started to drop. I was fighting to hold on to my sanity too — it was a dark moment. Thankfully, my friends were there for me. Life had to go on…
Life had to go on, but I was moving in circles. Not long after I broke up with him, A, my on and off popped up again and wanted to get back together. I’m not going to lie, I was relieved. It was the first time he came back to ask if we could get back together. I thought that meant he’d grown and was ready to make us work this time, or maybe I just couldn’t outgrow him. He was my first love, after all.
How did that work out?
It was still a long-distance relationship, but he made some effort this time. We took it as slow as we could. However, we still had some stupid fights.
Sometime in January 2019, he dropped a bomb on me.
Apparently, he was seeing someone else before we got back together. He came clean and told me that they were sleeping together. I guess he couldn’t get past the guilt. He advised me to forget about him, and oof, he was out. Again.
This shattered my heart. I hated myself and how I allowed these guys to play me that hard. Suicidal thoughts became a thing. I’m not trying to be dramatic, but it felt like I had no reason to live anymore. I decided that I needed closure, so I asked him why he had to do that.
I’m very interested in what he said.
He blamed me for everything that happened. He claimed that he was single when he met her. His entitlement jumped out because he believed we would get back together in the future. I was done with him this time. I told him to forget that he knew me.
Good for you.
I erased every physical bit of him, but I couldn’t get him out of my head. He really did a number on me. Of course, my productivity dwindled. In the beginning of my third year, I decided that I had to take control of my life again. I threw myself into schoolwork, became active in extracurricular activities. This filled some of the void.
So it’s over now?
It is. I don’t see myself getting back with him again. I’m done, really. I just want to focus on my academics now and make the best of whatever time I have here. Boys aren’t shit. It took me some time and quite a journey to get here. But I am here now, and I can only look forward to new beginnings.
What are your grades looking like now?
They’ve gotten better — thank goodness. With all the drama out of my life, I managed to get them up somehow. The results of my last exams were released recently and I haven’t gotten over how good they were. I’m getting my life back, one day at a time.
Do you think they would be better if you didn’t have boy troubles?
I believe they would be. I’ve never been a bad student. I should add that I’m not holding the boys responsible for this. However, all the events that happened when I was with them drew me back. It wasn’t fun.
If you could change anything from the last five years, what would it be?
Easy. I would push boys to the background and focus on myself. In retrospect, I think I was too young when I started dating, and that may have affected how I managed these relationships. I didn’t give them a lot of thought. Anyway, that’s all done and over with. My energy is focused on getting this Law degree now, and I’d be damned if I let anything get in the way.
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