WARNING: Finals are Closer Than They Appear

Calli Umipig University of Cape Town, South Africa


June 19, 2017

Time is a concept rarely taken seriously when we’re young because we feel as if we have so much of it. Only when we don’t want something to end does mortality start to make sense and suddenly its all we can think about. Each absence between blog posts isn’t because I forget (I do that sometimes) or hate to talk about my experiences here. It’s because for once, I’m too busy experiencing life. I feel and laugh and love in this city I was transplanted in three months ago. In many ways I cannot fathom how I will separate from it in four weeks.

That isn’t the focus of this post though, so I won’t get sentimental. Yet. As the title suggests, I’ve just attended my last lectures and am heading into finals. Who would’ve though I’d be taking finals during June and July? I didn’t.  Here we are though, with an assignment left and my first final staring me down this Wednesday. The obvious choice is to procrastinate by writing this post. As I reflect back on my education here at UCT, there are a few things I’d like to note- both for myself and anyone reading this that is thinking of coming here.

First is the different style of classroom learning. Here there are lecture and tutorials rather than one class setting with a professor. I’ve taken lectures that have started with over 450 students and the first instinct is to be overwhelmed and scared by that. The tutorials are much smaller and intimate, but often the material is different to what is covered in lectures. In some courses they were supplementary while in others they were tested separately. Tutorials were required attendance while lectures were often optional. This type of learning has tested me as a student and I like to think that after this experience, I’ll come out a better learner. Sometimes you need a shock and change of pace to adapt and become someone better.

Second are the people. Its clear that there are still deep divisions at the school both racially, socially, and economically, but the students are actively trying to deconstruct these barriers and create an institution that reflects its student body and ensures the success of each student. I don’t think anyone could anymore of the students here and it inspires me. Caring isn’t an option here, its a necessity to surviving higher education. The movements here are something I will continue to support and follow from the states, I can only hope that by being an ally I can bring awareness and support to their causes.

Third, my future. When I come home I’m going to be a senior at Arcadia with two semesters standing between me and a bachelor’s degree. I went through a lot to get to this point and I can’t imagine what others did to get there. Being in Cape Town has allowed me to grow as a person and become more certain of the path I want to take after this journey is over. I can’t be 100% sure it will be what I choose next May, but lets just say that may not be the last time I walk across a stage to get a diploma.