Registration day arrived. It proved the worst day yet. I had to go up and down to get to where I was supposed to be. I had to queue for hours.
I was really hoping I was going to be registered by the end of that day but they were asking for lots of different things. For starters, I was asked to bring along my mom’s banking documents and it was too late for her to go to the bank. So that meant those things could only be done the following day, on Friday. I then had to go back home without being registered.
I called my mom before I left there and told her what was happening. She was worried too because it was 31 January already. If I was not registered in time I would be in trouble.
Thanks to the support from other people, my relatives and my former teacher, by 1 February I managed to be registered. Everyone contributed into the registration money, even my former teacher.
After a long and tiring relentlessly hot day, I was finally registered. I had my timetable and student card as proof of my new status. I held my first student card closely and wore it proudly around my neck. It was the start of greater things to come, I believed. I had always envied students when I saw them carrying their student cards. I always tried imagining how they must be feeling with their student cards close to their hearts.
It may have been a small thing to others, but it was an unbelievably phenomenal thing to me. It felt I had obtained freedom.
At last, things were looking up, I thought. They were going to get better. I knew I had to believe all would be well, to keep me sane throughout the year. I got back home and told my mom everything. If there’s one thing I am, I’m definitely a mama’s girl.
The first thing going to university changed was my relationship with Siya. I didn’t see him as much as I wanted to. It was a huge change because we had grown used to seeing so much of each other. I missed him; but we were slowly growing apart. I so wanted to hold on to my relationship; it was the one thing I just didn’t want to fail at.
I started sneaking out late in order to meet with him. I knew it was wrong but I couldn’t help it. I loved him and I wanted the relationship to work. I knew my mom hated seeing me so unfocused, going in and out at night.
My first day of lecturers was something to be remembered. My first class wasn’t too early; my timetable said my first period was at 9:40 am. Even so, I had to wake up early to rush to catch an earlier train since I didn’t know how trains from Bontheuwel to Unibell station worked. And I still had to buy a monthly train ticket.
As I got to the station, one train passed as I was taking the stairs. I didn’t even attempt to try to catch it. The train was packed, just as I had expected. I had to stand in the train – all the way from Kuyasa station to Bontheuwel. It felt like I was sandwiched in between so many hot sweaty bodies.
As I got off the train onto the platform, I bumped into some people I knew.
“Hello,” a former schoolmate greeted.
“Hi.” I greeted back looking at him.
“Hayi shame ude wathathwa, you finally got accepted?” he asked as he saw the student card holder in my hand.
“For the Psychology course that you wanted?”
“Ha a, BTH,” I said. Then I added, “Bible Theology,”
“Oh,” he couldn’t hide his shock. “At least you got in. Ungas’ke utshintshe, you can always change next year,” he added when he saw my half smile.
I wasn’t so bitter anymore. At least I took comfort in the fact that I had chosen Psychology as a module subject, so I would be doing it that year.
“Ja, everybody says so. How is your course?” I quickly changed the subject.
Luckily the train arrived. We continued to chat inside over general things. He was also studying at UWC, in his second year. I was no longer worried about the trains delaying; he had taken my mind off things. He looked calm. Maybe he was used to the way trains carried on, I thought to myself.
We got there and I was early. Fresh fear gripped my mind.
I looked at the beauty of the building, the passing students and just how diverse the place was. I was now afraid of whether I would fit in. The girls I saw looked great. Some were wearing heels and short skirts – one would doubt they were students rather than lecturers. They looked elegant and stylish in their clothes and weaves. Some had make-up on and walked with confidence.
I looked at myself, there was a huge difference between us. I was just plain Jane in a plain jeans and t-shirt look. Suddenly my clothes looked dull and old.
One girl almost walked into me. She couldn’t see me, she was staring at her Samsung Galaxy S3, big and elegant, like herself, it clearly obstructed her view. On her arm she was carrying laptop bag.
I looked around, still processing the reality: I had got into university. But as the minutes passed I just felt more and more out of place.
Tell us: Should Nosie be worried? How was your first day at university?