Ahmed Kajee reflects on his first year at university.
Despite it not being the end of 2014 just yet, this is my last article on exPress imPress for the year. I thought what other way is there to sign off then to look back on the year and discuss how my first year went and the joy that this year has brought me.
So firstly, this year for me started out with me entering Wits University. Was it anything I expected? Oh hell no! For all matriculants of 2014, this is for you. Coming into university I expected a campus that one sees in movies where one or two people owned popularity. This could not be farther from the truth. Nobody is idolized here – at least according to my knowledge. The whole “John Tucker Must Die” vibe is non-existent. Popularity is definitely not the biggest element to varsity. If anything, passing and getting solid grades are. Furthermore, what I did not expect is the lecture theatre vibe. I never knew I had the power to play Candy Crush in my lecture for a full ninety minutes and nobody would care. Coming from school rules that were very stringent, freedom from the petty rules such as hair, shaving and cell phones is something that made my life super easy – although the onus was now on me to focus in class.
Onto the serious element of university regarding my sole purpose of attendance – no I am not referring to women! – Academic performance. Well coming from seven-subjects to four subjects is always a change. Here one should not think because it is only four subjects that it will be easy. It is university so expect more depth and so on! However, the upfront knowledge of test and assignment submission dates helps the process.
You may not know all your lecture venues but stress not, this is not high school… Ask and you shall be directed. For me, comprehending the fact that I was just a number and my lecturer did not give two hoots about what my name is, is something that took some time getting used to. Although, you should keep in mind that lecturers are approachable and willing to engage should you require anything. Furthermore, based on the teaching style that each student prefers, one is likely to come across some lecturers that just widen your horizons and make your mind work in over time. For me I had a psychology lecturer that ran classes that included dancing and life lessons over and above course content. It was amazing!
Speaking of amazing, this year I also came across the most exciting, welcoming and joyful community in the form of Ultimate Frisbee. I joined The Wits Ultimate Frisbee Club in the first week of the year, during O-Week – which is an orientation programme organised by the university for the first years. I have explained how Ultimate works before, so feel free to check out my article about it. The wonderful souls at Ultimate Frisbee are the happiest people you will find in the world. I thought I would join with these words in mind: “Let me try something different, Meh!” – And I never looked back from there. Amazing tournaments, lovely people and chasing a plastic disc every week, what more could I ask for? For you wonderful people who play Ultimate Frisbee and to the wonderful Wits Frisbee community, thank you and I love you!
I also joined the exPress imPress blog team this year. This blog forms a part of the Media Studies Department. We meet on a weekly basis to discuss recent events and the articles we plan to write for the following week. Here we often get into heated debates when discussing topics such as politics and world events. I even got labelled a “Pistorian” during the course of the Oscar Pistorius Trial. Yeah, I was THAT guy. The meetings were a brilliant way of getting other peoples’ perspectives on issues in the world.
Right, I am done wiping my tears of happiness from my face. I then experienced something called Tutorials, which are compulsory to attend on a weekly basis. In essence, it is a class you attend in groups of between 15-25 and discuss the week’s lectures with a postgraduate student. These are one of the best periods, and sometimes the worst, depending on the subject. Although, thankfully I was blessed with good, sorry I mean great, tutors who I get along with. My advice, do not hate on your tutors and be open to learning in those periods.
Beyond this, in university some students can also expect lots of free time and early ends to their days. In my case, on a Tuesday I was free from 10am until 3pm – enough time to study and go over work, right? I did find myself on numerous occasions sitting on the lawns with friends or missioning for fast food. Yeah, procrastination is also something I was at war with constantly. A maxim that will help you get by is something simple, but deep: do not try to kill time because time will simply kill you. Yes-beloved reader, I do have some sense of deepness in myself.
Finally, the best part about my first year in university was the people. I met some of the most extraordinary people since I started university. The best part is that I have only touched a tip of the iceberg. There are so many more wonderful people to meet in the future. Whether it’s “The Favz” who become your ‘missioning’ partners or your friends, who may or may not chirp you for being rejected by a girl for a movie (even though you never gave a specific time or place), you will definitely meet lovely people. My tutors were just the best ever. Apparently, Media Studies is well known for having the guy who is literally impossible to hate, and yes that’s you Tino. Gosh we love you Tino.
So what can you expect from University? In a nutshell, here goes. Lots of fun!!! Expect to meet lovely people. Also, expect to have to work when it is time to do so. It won’t be fun at times, but you will pull through. My advice on that front is to just attend lectures and you should be A for Away. And lastly, in the words of my dear friend and outgoing Ultimate Frisbee Chair: “GET INVOLVED!!!” –Woohoo!