“Hey. How is your first day so far?” my friend, the one I had lost last year, asked as I bumped into her in the corridors. She looked great; like she belonged.
“Okay, I guess. Where are you off to?” I asked, hoping to tag along and get directions. She was in her second year and knew her way around.
“To check my emails before my first lecture,”
“Ewe, yes. Awukayozijong’ezakho. Don’t you check yours?”
She laughed as I asked. I must’ve looked really confused.
“You are lucky I have some time before my lecture. Come, I’ll show you, e-teaching also, I’m sure you don’t know.”
I was starting to feel more and more confused. I had no idea of anything here. She was talking Chinese to a Xhosa girl. Just when I was starting to enjoy the feeling of being a university student, now I had so much to learn in just a little time.
We headed to the computer lab and soon as we got it, she was clicking away on the computer.
“You’re so quiet, are you OK?” she asked after some time. What she didn’t know was that I felt like my head was going to explode with all these computer things. “Ungakwazi uzenzela, can you do it on your own?”
“Umhmm…” I felt so stupid. I felt like the earth could just open up and swallow me.
“Oh, not that icon… here, click on this one,” she said, instructing me.
I was lucky to have at least this small knowledge of the computer, like how the mouse was used. We were never trained on computers at school; I had my older brother to thank for teaching me the little that I knew. I felt stupid enough for not knowing that I needed to check my email and e-teaching, never mind the fact that I never even knew that I had a university email address.
“I need to get going, are you going to cope with all of this? It’s 8:20 am already and my lecture is at SC 8,”
“Ja, don’t worry,” I answered avoiding her eyes. “Where is SC 8?” I asked. She looked at me with worry. I knew she was feeling sorry for me.
“By the field, it’s further up. I have to go, enjoy your day, my friend,” and off she went.
I was left alone. I was really struggling, I felt like crying. How was I going to cope here? I didn’t even remember where she had clicked for the email or e-teaching. The guy sitting on the computer next to me seemed like he knew everything; he was clicking and typing furiously. I was even scared to ask him. I’ll ask him next time, I thought as I was deciding to leave.
I was worried. How was I going to be able to do all of this on my own next time? It was just my first day. I had expected it to be a little calmer, with no stress. But here I was stressing about this. It was almost time for my first lecture when I logged out and headed to the lecture room.
I stepped in to the shock of my life. If the number on my timetable wasn’t written on top of the lecture room’s door, I’d deny that it was a lecture room. It looked like a hall. Classrooms were sure never like this in high school, I thought as I walked slowly in.
The room was spacious and big. I sat in the front seats; there were just a few people in here. There was a large screen on the wall and it made the room look more or less like the cinema.
More and more students entered the room. The first row filled up quickly and then the second and the third one. It wasn’t long before the room was fully packed. They will surely get some students in the next lecture room, I thought to myself. Some were seated on the chairs and some on the stairs.
There was a lot of noise and excitement. I couldn’t help but wonder why they were so happy and excited. Was I the one feeling nervous around here? Just then a young woman, looking like she was in her late twenties, walked in and stood at the front of the class. She was wearing white linen pants and a bright white floral shirt. She turned on the computer and the screen came on. The wall showed everything she was doing as her cursor moved around.
Just then I realised that she was the lecturer. She finished what she was doing and turned to the crowd. She gracefully plucked the mouth piece of her audio set in her shirt and held the set in her hand. In her small, squeaky voice, greeted everyone. Isn’t she supposed to be old? I asked myself. I had expected the lecturers to be so much older.
After the lecture, I had to get to another lecture which would start in 10 minutes. Finding it wasn’t so hard and before I knew it, the day was over.
I headed home feeling happy and proud of myself. I had survived the first day in university. I was now a mama’s big girl. I couldn’t wait to share my excitement with my mother and Siya.
Tell us what you think: Can you relate to Nosie’s first day experience?