Was I not fooling myself with ‘quotes’ and ‘motivations’? Well, this is my story.

I always used to dream big, had goals growing and had hope that one day all the things I dreamt of would eventually happen. I guess life is a journey and we all have our own specific times, time allocated to each one of us. Today it’s me, tomorrow it’s someone else.

I remember the first day I received an SMS from school that I was accepted; it actually felt like a dream, I couldn’t believe that I was getting into university. My family felt so proud of me, they went all out to put my things together. My brother was telling me stories about varsity students the whole night; they were so hilarious I laughed till tears fell from my big eyes. That was the best day of my life.

The day to leave for school came; I packed everything with my mom’s help, almost cried because I didn’t want Sunlight bathing soap in my toiletries. Mom had to buy me Lux and an expensive lotion; my aunt bought me shower towels. I just wanted everything to be perfect.

Was I not scared? Not to mention I did not even know where the school was. I was so scared for my life, my brother knew the school so he gave me directions and where the taxi should drop me off. I just wanted him to accompany me, sadly Mom did not have enough money. I had to be a big girl, and to think I never travelled anywhere alone was what scared me the most. It was the fear of the unknown, new school, new different people and a completely new environment.

Luckily enough I am friendly and when I got to school I did not struggle to make friends because all of us were new from different schools and places. Lucky for those who came with their friends from home, but even those of us who knew nobody there, it was easy for us to associate with other students as we were all in the first year group. The girls came to me, we became friends and we walked in a group of four girls. Little did we know we were also placed at the same school’s accommodation. Everything went smoothly, we were officially friends.

When one did not have food, toiletries or anything we would share ours with her, we practically became sisters. That’s when I remembered my mom’s words when she said, “In varsity you don’t just make friends, you build sisterhood.”

That’s what happened to me. My friends were sisters to me. Oh, and did I mention we even did the same course? Well, that was the best part of us being friends because we did group work together. The four of us shared rooms, two lived together so everything was just perfect. Events came; we were together partying so hard. I would go home to do my hair on Friday and come back Saturday morning to get myself ready for the night out. Make-up would be so perfect as one ofour friends was our make-up artist. She was so good at it you would swear she studied beauty.

Things fell apart when we were introduced to online classes because of COVID-19. Tests, assignments and classes commenced online, we had difficulties. The only thing better was that the school gave us data and allowed us to stay at the school’s accommodation to access free wifi. Little did we know that did not guarantee us passing and doing exceptionally well. We started separating, each one of us minding her own business. One would miss a test or a class because of not knowing there was even one. Everything fell apart although lecturers made means for us to adjust as it was not only difficult for students but for lecturers as well. Online learning was new to all of us.

Weeks passed, tests, assignments and exams were written online. Results came back, we failed, and bursaries dropped us, our lives stopped. We lost hope, tried applying for new bursaries.

Depression hit me hard, my body always felt heavy and painful, I had sleepless nights. I had nowhere to go, no one to turn to. I stayed home for three months while my peers went back to school, I watched them packing with the same excitement I had before, I saw them pulling their travelling bags and giving their families goodbye hugs. It was sad for me because I had the same chance and played with it. I wished I was more focused and did better, I had to face reality and stand by the bad choices I made back then.

Reality hit hard, neighbours started questioning why I stayed at home, relatives calling to ask about my graduation, which made things harder than they were. To think that the bursary money was the only income I got, which I survived with, but it ended because of my ignorance and neglecting my studies. This better be a lesson to all students out there. Have a daily reminder of what brought you to varsity or else you will suffer the consequences.

Motivations and quotes are there to lead us and drive us to never give up but to keep pushing. Don’t sit there without putting in any effort. Varsity is twice harder than high school, you can go from being a top student to drastically failing all your modules. You will have three-am sleepless nights wondering how are you going to pass, how you are going to make it. Your family will keep reminding you of how proud they are of you.

Varsity is not for the fainthearted, it is a war zone and only those who were knocked out a couple of times but never gave up come out victorious.


Tell us: What have you learnt about varsity?