When going home for recess I already know that all my days will be dedicated to spending time with my family, resting and having long lie-ins in bed until eleven or twelve. However, I also anticipate that awkward, dreadful and all-around unnecessary conversation between me and my neighbours. This is where the golden question “Uqeda nini?” (When do you finish?) pops up. I bet this question remains a source of great annoyance to everyone who has been and still is a University student.

My initial thought is “Ungenaphi?” ( How is that any of your business) however, I fail to articulate it because I remember that as an African, perhaps that’s no way to talk to my elders. Consequently, I chuckle and tell them that I’m left with a few more years. I then march off painfully thinking that they should not have inquired about such a personal matter.

I battle within myself trying to find the motive behind this question. Some may argue that it’s merely an innocent question from people, but I beg to differ. Personally, I find it invasive and cumbersome. The askers come across as nosy people who are prying. It is also indicative of the boundary issues they have. There are some questions that are too personal and off-limits. Simply put: it’s none of your business. I cannot comprehend why neighbours should keep a record of when you’ll finish your studies. And then what? Do they own companies that’ll provide us with jobs after we graduate?

And eventually, when I have a job, will my salary be a subsequent question to the invasive ones I’m already receiving? The motive behind people’s complacency in asking such private questions cannot be figured out in a simplistic way, could it be because I grew up right in front of them and they’ll always see me as a child or they simply refuse to acknowledge that I’m at a point in my life where I’m still trying to figure myself out?

The reason these types of questions are not palatable to students is that thousands of students battle to graduate in record time by virtue of various reasons, which are not anyone’s business. However, some change their degrees because they feel that they are not for them. Some face academic or financial exclusion for the duration of their studies and these questions are nowhere near helping the situation.