Alexia Iyaloo Ndahalele
I am a small-town girl who grew up in Ongwediva. I attended my primary years at Charles Anderson Combined School and later completed my high school studies at St Boniface College. Many would say I am a quiet person, whereas I’d describe myself as observant, studying my surroundings and waiting for the right opportunity to showcase my outspoken personality.
I am currently a first year Bachelor’s of Accounting (BAcc) student at Stellenbosch University. I know it has only been one semester, but trust me, I truly understand the joy of graduating because it is not easy. People say that varsity years are the peak of your life, but must I say they are a rollercoaster. Have you seen students at the mall, they wear the biggest smiles and look so happy. Deep down they have three pending assessments, two tests and classes, all in the upcoming week. To tell you the truth, that student is me. Work overload is the daily bread when you are at varsity. Honestly speaking, varsity is a battlefield between your education, your social life and your overall mental wellbeing. But somewhere in all this chaos you’ll have to find a balance in order to stay sane but that is easier said than done, talking from experience of course. But it is not bad, you meet lifetime friends during this time and discover new things about yourself you never knew. It is the peak of your life because everything in your life is at its peak.
One thing I have surely learned from varsity so far is that you should not come to varsity expecting to get your high school grades of 90% as soon as you land, but don’t come with your 50% mentality either. That mentality of only needing to get the border mark to pass will get you only one thing - either the border mark or below. Don’t aim low because you think it’s all you need. Set goals according to your abilities; that really will take you far. As for the current matriculants, make sure you do research to find the university where you want to spend one of the most crucial times of your life and discover what you truly want to do. Research courses you never thought about. I, for one, was convinced I was going to do medicine up until Grade 9. A lot of people can testify to that, but look at me now. I am doing accounting; who would have ever thought? Work hard in your studies at high school. Apply for bursaries and scholarships too. There is nothing more fulfilling than being at your favourite university with a bursary or scholarship. You do not have to worry about fees and just worry about your books.
Still, although it’s all about education and our future, don’t forget to live in the present and enjoy your high school or varsity time. For me, Stellenbosch has been a great home away from home. Considering the fact that I prefer small places, the town itself is peaceful. I’m literally on campus every day because the town is the campus. The people are kind and there is so much to do. If you are an active person you’ll probably never get bored. As for the university itself, scenery speaking, it is beautiful. The lecture halls and computer rooms are so different from one another. And the nature around you… if you have allergies like me, you’d be rubbing your nose every other day. The residences are all unique in their own ways, and have their own cultures, something new to learn every day. Truth be told, something is always being renovated around here for some reason and yet it always turns out different. My first semester has been nothing short of a rollercoaster but I’m pulling through.
Word of advice, though: don’t lose yourself while trying to fit in, just be you, it is still just varsity at the end of the day. And if you see a student anywhere, just tell them they are doing a great job or just smile I know that gratitude goes a long way. One of my new friends told me that she cant promise that it gets better, but I’ll get better at it. Lastly, own your varsity experience and make sure you make memories that your future self will be fond of.