LIFE STORY: What No One Told Me About University

LIFE STORY: What No One Told Me About University

BACKGROUND

I want to share with you my university experiences from relationships, lectures, unlearning, wrong majors, strikes, and exclusion.  This is an important post especially if you either going back to university or going to start your first year soon.

In Grade 10-12, I was a hardworking student and often a top achiever if not second best. I’d say that my High School life was the best because I had the best support and for someone who is very shy, my English Teacher, Ms. Mvubu, pushed me beyond my limits to help me gain self-confidence and public speaking skills.

In Matric, I knew that I have to get the best grades so that I can be accepted in University and get a bursary or else, I’ll have to go look for a job. That was my biggest fear because that road would end with me unemployed and a single parent of 2 kids from different fathers like most of my family members.


APPLICATION

I had applied at UKZN and UCT. At that time, a Bachelor of Education was my first choice because they had a bursary, Funza Lushaka and I didn’t know much about other careers other than Education, Law, and Journalism, however, Education accepted me with a bursary and the rest didn’t have funding. It wasn’t like nowadays where NSFAS is easily accessible.

RECEIVING A BURSARY

Unfortunately, UCT never replied so UKZN accepted me. When I got to UKZN Edgewood Campus, 2010, with a full bursary from Funza Lushaka, I had obtained a taste of freedom. Or so I thought.

SLEEPING ON THE FLOOR

No one prepared me for what I went through to get residence UKZN. Even though I was granted residence on my acceptance letter, I still had no res because Residences were full. So on my first day at Edgewood Campus, I slept on the floor at Student Union Hall, together with over 200 other first years. That is where I met my friends, who later became my roommates. In the morning, we were told to get our stuff and get to the buses, where were shuttled to the Coastlands Hotel in Durban, South Beach. Even though we had had our temporary res, many other students still were homeless. Which was one of many other reasons that triggered a strike.

STRIKES

At University, strikes erupt at any time, especially in the beginning of the year because there is a lot of frustrations from students which the University management ignores. Some frustrations are from the previous year. Unresolved issues.

I wouldn’t be able to explain how I ended up on the front line of the first strike I have ever been at and seen in my entire life. I was politically illiterate and had no political affiliation. But I was personally frustrated at how is it possible that I receive a letter saying I have been granted Res but when I arrive on campus, I have to sleep on the floor at some cold hall.

At the university, as much as there are different political parties, but when there is a strike, everyone participates because issues affect every student, regardless of the political association.

I cannot put into words the trauma I experienced on that intense and violent strike. When the Police came, I saw bullets hitting vulnerable students and some students right next to me getting shot and fell on the ground to be further beaten by a group of grown men in Police uniform; was truly terrifying.

The Police tried so hard to deter students however, they got more fueled. The next thing I saw was the Dean’s car set alight and burnt. I was never ready. After a week of the strike, registration proceeded.

WRONG MAJORS

During registration, I registered for FET Phase which is to teach Grade 10-12 & FET and majoring in Biology and Information Science, which was my first mistake because I had never done Information Science in high school though I was computer literate. I guess I just registered Information Science because I knew there was a shortage of Science Teachers and that would guarantee me employment. I was very good in Languages and Maths, I should have registered those as my majors.

RELATIONSHIPS

During the first 3 months of my first year, we stayed in town at the Coastlands Hotel where I met Matt*, a BEd 3rd year. We stayed in that hotel because UKZN was still sorting out Res issues. Be prepared that at University in the first few months, everything is upside down but things fall into place.

Matt* and I started out as friends and we ended up in a very good relationship. I am one of those people that when I am in love, I become all about you. I give my all and love hopelessly. I really loved Matt* but when he cheated, I was shuttered.

When registration was over and lectures commenced. I was attending classes, though I was confused most of the time that for example, in Biology, why weren’t we learning about Mitochondria, Reproduction and Cell Structures like in High School. Instead, we were traveling to the beach to examine fossils and learning about ancient trees on campus.

IT’S NOT WHAT YOU EXPECT

I had passed Life Sciences (Biology) well enough, however, I was never ready for this scientific research we were bombarded with. We had lab coats and all that. When were we going to learn how to teach Life Sciences? I mean, I was there for that! Not that lab stuff. lol


ACADEMIC ESSAYS

Meanwhile, in other modules, we were learning about how to write academic essays which by the way is way too different from what we learned in high school. If you want to ace your academic essays, unlearn what you were told by your high school English teacher and do exactly like your university Lecturer tells you.

ATTENDANCE IS NOT COMPULSORY

In university, attendance is not compulsory. Let me tell you that this rule is a trap! While notes will be available online, but attending classes is very important because if you miss two classes, the next time you attend, the whole lecture will feel like it’s in Chinese because you wouldn’t know what’s going on.

Which is where my downfall started. I stopped attending lectures. For various stupid, unjustifiable, and immature reasons. Some were because I was hungover, some were that I was with Matt*, some because I overslept, and some because I was out shopping.

The key underlying cause was that I felt confused, I was lost and had no idea what I was doing. That was because even in the first place, I picked wrong majors but I thought since I passed well in high school, I will manage. When I couldn’t manage, I got demotivated. I missed important class assessments, therefore not qualifying me for a DP. I’ll tell you about that just now.

DULY PERFORMANCE

A DP, Duly Performance, is your semester mark. It includes assignments, tests and any form of assessment done before exams. It determines if you will write the exam or not. If your DP is below 50%, you can not write an exam unless you appeal and give valid reasons why you didn’t get DP.

I didn’t even appeal because I honestly did not know how to appeal.

My advice now, if you didn’t get DP, if you have a medical certificate that can prove that you were going through something, illness or mental health issues, that will help you out.

Out of my 5 registered 1st-semester modules, I got DP for 3. I wrote exams and failed 1, passed 2, which was Academic Literacy and Computer Literacy. Basically. I failed my majors.

ROBOT SYSTEM

There is a system that is called a Robot System. Just like a robot, it has 3 colors. Green, Orange, and Red. If you pass all your modules, you remain on Green. If you fail half of your modules, you shift to Orange, to caution that if you fail more modules, you risk being Academically Excluded. Meaning, you pack your bags and go home.

Red is where I was at the end of the 2nd semester. This meant that I had to have a meeting with the Dean and give reasons why I shouldn’t be kicked out of the University. Which I went and I explained that I will do better next semester. He gave me one last chance which meant that they put me on Probation.

PROBATION

When you’re put on Probation, you can only register 3 modules and you HAVE to pass them all or else you will be Academically Excluded. Some students do well and move up the robot systems but some, like me, things don’t go well.

DEPRESSION

In the middle of my 2nd year 1st semester, I became very sick. Both physically and mentally. I didn’t know what was depression at that time, I was only 19 years old that year, 2011. Now looking back, I know that I was suffering from depression because I didn’t have flu or fever, however, I just wanted to sleep and never wake up.

Matt* even broke up with me and things got worse. I lost weight and developed red spots all over my body from the constant painkillers overdose and on an empty stomach. I took any pill that will doze me off to sleep. I did that for over 6 weeks, every day. Which I think it’s what caused the stomach ulcers that I have now.


LOSING BURSARY

After failing my first year in 2010, I had lost my Funza Lushaka bursary and for months, I was without food and started having outstanding fees of those 3 probation modules and semester residence fees. I lived off Instant Porridge, mixed with water for breakfast, lunch, and supper. If by luck, my roommate came back that week, she’d bring me food because she knew I had no money, no food.

RESCUE

I stopped going home. Until my Gran came at Res to check what’s going on with me and in the state she found me in, she just took me back home. Whilst I was recovering at home, I received a letter of Academic Exclusion. What hurt me the most was that I had disappointed a lot of people who believed in me especially my high school Principal. The look on his face when my grandmother took me to him after exclusion, I knew he wished that he can even remove my name from DUX 2009 Board walled up in his Office Reception.

GOING BACK

After exclusion, I found work. I worked as an admin at a community radio station. Where I developed the love for graphic designing on the side. Eventually started designing magazines. I had an opportunity to meet Mbali Dhlomo, who taught me everything about magazines, publishing, and writing.

I fell in love with it and for years, I worked with magazines. I registered my company and started publishing under my company and I realized, this is what I love.

I met more amazing people through MEDIA24 and SETA programmes. That is how I went back to UKZN and begged them to take me back as a Media student. Which they did.

Now, though I still have those outstanding Fees, I am more matured now, well-informed, and determined. I do everything right, I participate in class, I attend lectures, I attend tutorials, I submit on time, I pass all my modules, and I’m on the Green Robot. I am looking forward to my graduation.

God is good.


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Matt* is not a real name. Hidden for privacy reasons.
Xoli
Xoli

Blogger, Media and Marketing student at the University of KwaZulu Natal.

Find me on: Web | Twitter

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First Impressions: ‘Real Housewives of Johannesburg’

Real Housewives of Johannesburg

The first episode of the Real Housewives of Johannesburg aired on the 3rd of August 2018 on 1Magic and it’s shocking.

Shocked Nene Leakes GIF by I Dream of NeNe: The Wedding - Find & Share on GIPHY

At first, I wasn’t much hyped up about the show. I thought it would be just another franchised American TV show or another version of Diski Divas and I was wrong!

If you’re not familiar with the ‘Real Housewives’ show, it’s about a group of rich women, (contrary, not necessarily married). They come together to try and form friendships or sisterhood but then egos, drama, and fights come into the process.

Real Housewives of Johannesburg is produced by RHOSA Productions led by a black phenomenal woman, Pepples Gqunta.

My first impression of Real Housewives of Johannesburg; the show is a world-class production. It is invigorating to watch a beautiful side of South Africa, especially in an era where the imagery of Africa is told from perspectives of colonizers who focus on the bad side of Africa and intentionally exclude the fact that Africa is beautiful, and Africans are making the most.

Mercy really wants her vegan menu at Brinnette’s traditional wedding! Should traditional ceremonies cater for vegans and vegetarians too? #RHOJ pic.twitter.com/ODGK71EQ8Z


The most important thing I took out from the first episode is the fact that most of the women grew up in Soweto. They have their own successful businesses. As much as they are rich, they still uphold their ‘Africaness’ in their culturally diversified personalities.

Though Twitter thought it was a cringe-fest, I agree to some extent. That’s what Reality TV is, a cringe-fest. The first episode was already filled with drama. Being familiar with what unfolds in the Real Housewives of Atlanta, I can tell that punches, slaps, and Moet spills are on the cards soon.

There is already a noticeable clash of personalities. About 3 of the 5 women think they are queens. We know how that attitude ended up with Nene Leaks and Kenya Moore.

 

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Blogger, Media and Marketing student at the University of KwaZulu Natal.

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Twitter Rules Simplified-Why Your Account Might Also Get Suspended

Twitter Rules


Twitter has suspended over 70 Million Accounts ever since the beginning of the #TwitterPurge. Even the most prestigious Twitter accounts lost more than 500 000 followers. A definite tragedy especially when you have worked hard, spent money and years to gain followers.

You are presumably here because you fear that you might get a Twitter suspension. Worse, you have been suspended already.

Let me help you understand the complex and long Twitter rules so that you can toe the safe Twitter line and avoid getting in trouble with the Twitter Rules.

Copyrights Infringement

What Twitter is trying to do is to encourage organic, original content creation.

If you steal tweets, post music videos, or any content created by someone else, without crediting them or their permission, you might find yourself without a twitter account.

Stealing a Tweet means that you are publishing someone else’s original content as your own without any acknowledgment.

If the owner of the original tweet can prove the originality of that stolen tweet, they can report you to Twitter Support and as a result, you can get suspended.

Graphic Content

Posting explicit content like death and/or dead animals, an accident or injury, violence, porn or surgical procedures can get you suspended BUT there is an exception. You HAVE to mark that content as Sensitive Material so that you allow the viewer to make a choice to view or not.

And more importantly, you cannot use that material as your Display Picture or your Header.

Unauthorized usage of Twitter badges.

I have seen a lot of videos on Youtube where they teach people how to fake/hack the Twitter Verification badge.

You can get suspended for unlawfully using Twitter badges, Twitter logos or any material that might give the impression that you work for and/or you are endorsed by Twitter.

Selling Twitter Accounts 

Twitter prohibits the creation of multiple similar accounts and the selling of Twitter accounts.

This is familiar to those running Twitter Followers Gain Trains. You find that the owner has more than 3 accounts identical to his/her name. This is specifically for those who sell accounts with a large following. Well, if Twitter catches you, you will lose all if not most of your accounts.


Inactive for 6 months

If you are like most of us who created accounts out of curiosity and went back to Facebook for years because Twitter seemed complicated, you can no longer be away for more than 6 months now.

Stolen identity, impersonation

If you want or have a parody account, indicate that it a Parody, Fan Page and NOT Affiliated with the person you’re impersonating. It must not be confusing with the original person’s account, or else the blade will be upon you.

Violence

You cannot make threats of violence that aim to cause serious physical harm, death or disease to an individual or a group of people.

This includes promoting terrorism. Also, you might get suspended for affiliating yourself with organizations that promote violence against civilians.

Suicide or self-harm

Whilst depression is a serious problem, however, if you are promoting suicide and/or self-harm on Twitter, you might be suspended. But, you will be referred to a relevant organization that deals with mental health problems.

Child Sexual Exploitation

This includes but not limited to; child porn, sexual videos of a child. Twitter has a Zero-Tolerance against sexual exploitation of children.

Abuse and Hateful Conduct

Those who think Twitter is a platform to bully, harass people, they are in trouble. Twitter even considers “an attempt to harass, intimidate or silence someone else’s voice” as abusive behavior.

You cannot promote violence against, threaten, or harass other people based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or serious disease.

If you’re a troll and you make fun of people, your suspension will come.

Also, those who love sending pictures of their genital area in the DMs, are not safe either.

Sharing Private Information

Sharing private information of someone else can get you in trouble.

This depends on what your country’s Constitution defines as ‘private information’.

For example, someone’s HIV Status. No matter how angered you might be with your ex, just don’t hurt yourself by sharing their private information.

This includes threats to expose or hack into someone’s private information, accounts etc.


Spam and Security

Linking your account to malicious content or 3rd party applications/websites that aim to hack, disrupt twitter security in attempting to access someone else’s private information, in simples, hacking into someone’s account can get you suspended. Or even using apps that send automated DMs to your followers.

Twitter defines SPAM as “bulk or aggressive activity that attempts to manipulate or disrupt Twitter or the experience of users on Twitter to drive traffic or attention to unrelated accounts, products, services, or initiatives.”

This includes:

  • Mass following, or mass unfollowing accounts.
  • Sending automated links on the DM
  • If you have a large number of people who have blocked you for various reasons.
  • There is a large number of spam reports against you
  • If you purchase/sell followers
  • If you run follow trains or sharing 3rd party APPs that aims to gain people followers.

The best way to stay safe on Twitter is to stick to your own original content. Do not do follow trains. Credit the writer of the original tweet. Do not send automated links on the DMs. Keep your genitals to yourself. Lastly, stay true to who you are.

Source: Twitter Support

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Blogger, Media and Marketing student at the University of KwaZulu Natal.

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UPDATED:10 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT GLOBAL CITIZEN FREE TICKETS

Global Citizen, Global Citizen Festival

Source: Global Citizen APP.

Here are important things you need to know about getting the Global Citizen Mandela 100 Festival Free tickets.

  1. There are only 70 000 Free Tickets to be given.

  2. Actions are not hard at all, even if you don’t have a smartphone, you can participate using Facebook Messenger Lite.

  3. Download the Global Citizen APP here.

  4. Gather as many points as you can in the APP whilst waiting for the 21st of August 2018. (my advice).

  5. There will be days of actions in Johannesburg where you’ll participate in person, physically.

  6. Once you’ve earned your points, you will enter a draw.

  7. Winners of the draw will be let known the following day.

  8. If you didn’t win, you can still enter the draw again, using your points.

  9. Non-SA citizens CAN participate however they’ll have to be able to travel to FNB Stadium, Johannesburg on the 2nd of December 2018.

  10. If you haven’t signed up online, do it quickly here.

Wishing you all the best.

 

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CONFIRMED: Beyoncé is Coming To RSA-Here’s How You Can Get FREE Ticket

Beyonce on the run opening night

Beyoncé is coming to a FREE Global Citizen Mandela 100 Festival, in South Africa 2nd of December 2018, at FNB Stadium, Johannesburg.

The Global Citizen Mandela 100 Festival is under a campaign called ‘Be The Generation’ that will end extreme poverty by 2030. Global Citizen has partnered with the Motsepe Foundation which recently had local soccer fans stunned as the Patrice Mostepe-led foundation brought FC Barcelona to play with South African Soccer Team, Mamelodi Sundowns FC, and bringing Beyonce has been a dream for South African Beyonce fans.


The ‘Be The Generation’ campaign and Global Citizen Mandela 100 Festival comes to Africa at the time when Nigeria has just been announced as the country that is most battling and affected by extreme poverty overtaking India. It is reported that 82 million Nigerians live in extreme poverty. That is a staggering 42.4 percent of Nigeria’s population, according to the World Poverty Clock.

These Global goals are part of what is called the ’17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)’ adopted in September 2015 by the United Nations. 190 World Leaders committed to helping end extreme poverty, fight inequality & injustice and fix climate change. Learn more.

By participating in Global Citizen Campaigns, you will learn about the causes of extreme poverty amongst other big challenges humanity is facing also advocating a fight against these challenges.




The most important thing is for you to take action against those global challenges and that is how you will earn rewards such as a Free Ticket to get to see Beyoncé live for FREE.

And of course, amongst other international artists such as Usher, Tiwa Savage, Cassper Nyovest, D’banj, Ed Sheeran, Eddie Vedder, Femi Kuti, Pharrell Williams & Chris Martin, Sho Madjozi, and Wizkid perform live on the 2nd of December 2018 at FNB Stadium. As 2018 is Nelson Mandela’s centenary year, this event will also be honoring the life and legacy of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.

What Do You Have To Do?

“All you need to do is, starting 21 August, take action on the Global Citizen platforms — GlobalCitizen.org.za, in the Global Citizen app, or with our Facebook Messenger bot — search “Global Citizen” in Facebook Messenger to learn more.” The Global Citizen.

You have to sign up HERE, all will be further communicated via email on where and how you can take action against the world’s biggest challenges listed below such as:


  • POVERTY (SDG 1): End all forms of poverty everywhere
  • ZERO HUNGER (SDG 2): End all forms of hunger and malnutrition
  • HEALTH (SDG 3): Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
  • EDUCATION (SDG 4): Ensure every child has access to a quality education
  • GIRLS & WOMEN (SDG 5): End all forms of discrimination against women and girls everywhere to ensure that #SheIsEqual
  • WATER & SANITATION (SDG 6): Ensure everyone has access to clean water and sanitation
  • LIFE BELOW WATER (SDG 14): addressing the threat plastic pollution poses to the oceans

STARTING FROM THE 21ST OF AUGUST 2018.

This action is very simple yet will make a global impact in fighting these big global challenges. It can be in a form of tweeting, sending emails, signing petitions and calling.

Participate in this campaign as an opportunity to learn about sustainability, become a global citizen because all of us are directly and indirectly affected by gender inequality, poverty, water scarcity, poor education and the rest of the major 17 global challenges.

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Xoli

Blogger, Media and Marketing student at the University of KwaZulu Natal.

Find me on: Web | Twitter

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