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Untold Stories of UDUS Married Undergraduates Combining Marriage with Academics

Ogoona Blessing, a final year student of Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto (UDUS), had her baby as a 100-level student during the 2019/2020 academic session.

Though she tied the nuptial knot with her husband before securing admission, the couple agreed to being childless till Blessing gets to 400-level. However, things did not work as planned. She got pregnant a few months after their wedding. 

Five months after becoming pregnant, the Academic Staff Union of University (ASUU) embarked on an indefinite strike which lasted for eight months. The industrial action gave her the opportunity to give birth at home.

“I started experiencing difficulties when I resumed back to school with my baby. I never knew motherhood was very demanding because nobody helped me with the baby in school. Most of the time, I cried alone and called my husband to leave his work at Abuja and come to my school so he could help with some of my daily activities, but to no avail because of his job.

“The only thing that kept me going was my husband’s words of encouragement. He made me strong to face my fears of combining education and motherhood.”

She has since adjusted her reading schedule to late night when her child would have slept off. Speaking on how she’s been able to cope,  Blessing said her husband never let her down. 

“Whenever I called my husband and cried, he always supported me. Aside from waking me up to read at midnight, he still keeps track of my academic performance. So, being successful in marriage depends on having the right partner to cheer you up whenever you are weak.”

Reflecting on her academic journey as a married undergraduate, Sadiya, a recent graduate of UDUS said she got married after completing her secondary school education at the age of 18. With the support of her husband, she was able to graduate from the department of Biology despite having two children.

“Marriage represents a sense of foundational strength and unity,” she said as she spoke glowingly of the impact her husband had on her education success. 

Best-Graduating Student in UDUS

In December 2023, Sumaiya Abdullahi, a married woman in the Medicine and Surgery department emerged as the best-graduating student in UDUS. The mother of one, who got married in 2021, also bagged 23 academic excellence awards at the institution’s convocation ceremony. 

Speaking after her graduation, she said “Marriage gave me more motivation and determination than ever. It made me more focused on achieving my goals. I faced challenges, but challenges are part of life, and we are not as perfect as the picture you see, I was scared at some point in time. Having a baby in medical school, especially while carrying the nine-month pregnancy and taking care of the child after delivery was strenuous for me.”

The medical graduate added that she wrote many tests in a hospital bed during her fourth year.

On her part, Fatima Idera, a sociologist encouraged women to challenge the archaic beliefs that the ‘life of a woman ends in the kitchen’. She urged married undergraduates to pursue their dreams, saying “We are the architects of our life, we should stay focused and keep taking one step at a time.”

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