You need to be comfortable with being uncomfortable in order to see growth. Read that again and slowly.

by Limpho Thipane

This year was a journey I was not ready for! From when I arrived in Cape Town, I struggled with accommodation, and I kept telling myself that I majored in Psychology, so I know how to counsel myself and deal with it. However, there is a famous saying “a doctor, cannot heal thyself” so the Psychology I learnt did not help. Bear in mind, I am far from home with no accommodation and funding. There were 2 voices, the first one told me to go back home because this is too much handle and the other one that I chose to listen to, said I should stay, and I will get through this and within days it was sorted. After that, another struggle or weight on my shoulders was funding. After weeks of stress, it got sorted out. Now another struggle was the transition from NWU to UCT and going back to contact lessons. We might have studied the same work in undergrad, but the content was totally different. In between my struggles of accommodation and funding, we had classes too. In my entire schooling years, I have never struggled academically the way I did this year! It came as a shock and even now I still ask myself what went wrong or what did I do wrong, because the frustration stemmed from putting in the hours, but they seem like they were not enough. Again, another struggle I faced was losing a loved one during all of that. Doing neurosciences and physiology came as a blessing and it is something I do not take for granted, because I managed to help my relative while he was having a stroke over the phone. Even on his funeral, I was unable to go because I had class, so I had to show up and exams were close. Basically, the most written word here is STRUGGLE and no matter what happened, I told myself that I should just take it 1 day at a time and it shall pass. Now my honours project, which challenged me to be uncomfortable because I had no background in immunology but the day I started, I told myself that I came here to learn and that is what I did. From doing lab work until late hours, my samples getting contaminated week after week, using chemistry calculations I did in Garde 10 which felt like decades ago and working with MICE! I know, you would expect me to be scared, but I wasn’t like which surprised my supervisors, like I said my project challenged me and I was grateful. But I’m probably going to scream when I see a mouse on the street! One thing that got me through this year was the support system I had, which I will always be grateful for! This year, I learnt a lot about myself and as much as I went through a lot in a short period of time, I am filled with gratitude and I learnt that life or growing up is not swift, easy or gradual, but it is a bumpy road, and it works out in the end. The months became weeks, weeks became days, and I am typing this after being finished with my academic year. So push, it will be worth it at the end. As the journey continues….

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