Honours- Don’t knock it till you try it.

by Casey Valentine

As the year draws to the end and there are only final presentations left to go, I find it is the perfect time to really reflect on how this past academic year has treated me and what I have learned from it. Before starting the year, I was filled with excitement. I was coming to a new university after achieving my undergraduate degree from the University of the Western Cape. When the course finally started, it began with a general course with all the Honours students (studying different degrees), and I felt quite lost. I didn’t know how this university functioned and what was really expected. It was quite unsettling at first which made me feel quite worried as I didn’t want to fall behind and have my first year of postgraduate studies not go well. However, once we were settled into our separate little groups of different divisions and faculties, I could be excited again. Since lockdown took over the past two years, I had limited lab experience when starting however I didn’t need to worry as everyone around, including supervisors or lab managers were so supportive and helpful, it really gave me the reassurance I needed. That support made me feel like I was doing the right thing and I was in the right place. The different modules were so interesting, and it opens your eyes to different options within your field in case you’re worried about where to go next. Without a doubt Honours was a challenging year and there were many long nights and early mornings and -make sure to stay hydrated, because there will be many tears. However, I would do it all again. Of course, it is a honour to be able to continue your studies and not many get the chance, but I feel the best past of this year has been the people that I have encountered. From my phenomenal honours class to my supervisor, HOD and of course my family. Everyone has helped to build me up. When you feel like you’re at your lowest point and doubt being able to finish the year and doubt your abilities. All the encouragement and support gives you a fight to continue. You develop such a deep and strong relationship with everyone around you that I would advise anyone to do Honours just to experience this relationship. It is worth every tear to be here. I trust that everything happens for a reason and God has set out a plan for us that we are unaware of. I am so grateful that this was part of His plan for me.

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