Blood, Sweat & Tears make a Bad-Ass Graduate

Photo by Jonathan Daniels on Unsplash

It's so puzzling how when we're in High School we're so excited to be venturing into the world, going to varsity and finally having FREEDOM. What we didn't know on those days we were literally counting down the days to the start of first semester, was that varsity is no joke. It's endless trials and tribulations, going through depression, struggling to manage your money, going to groove, taking about an hour to motivate yourself to study for the exams and so much more. As individuals, we have our own stories of how University was/is for us. One thing we can all agree on is that Graduating is the BIGGEST accomplishment you can attain more so for black Individuals. The amount of challenges my brothers and sisters have to face to get that degree are countless.

This blog posts is focusing specifically on BLACK FEMALE graduates and the challenges they've faced in finally attaining their degree. These ladies are recent graduates, some have chosen to remain anonymous and others, not. This is in no way intended to scare you about varsity (if you're a high schooler) but is meant to give you an insider's perspective of what our fellow sisters go through and to give you the confidence that you too can and WILL make it.


Challenge Faced: " I fell pregnant in my first year, so many of my challenges came from that. I was scared of being judged, and I had to excel in all my school work to prove that being pregnant won't stop me from doing my best. "

Overcoming: "I overcame these challenges by focusing on myself, not minding how I was being looked at. I also had to put in extra hours when it came to my school work."

Word Of Advice: " To any young black female, please don't let anything stop you from obtaining your qualification. You can achieve anything you set your mind to!"


Challenge Faced: Graduating the first time around was a lot easier mainly because I was already an academic achiever and set my sights on getting into Honours at UCT. Working hard came naturally because I had determination. My Honours year, though, was a lot tougher. The challenges were more mental - I experienced Anxiety and Depression. I was overwhelmed not just by the physical space of UCT but by how I felt inadequate being there. I didn't feel like I belonged there even though my grades said otherwise.

Overcoming: There were countless times I really wanted to quit and drop out. I'd take time away from campus just to try and regroup with myself but every time I went back to class, my Anxiety would come back. I had to learn healthier ways of managing this. I don't often speak out when I need help, but I needed to this time in order to save myself from falling apart in my head because my body was already suffering. So seeking help was a way I got to overcome the mental challenges I had. But most importantly, it was the decision I took to save myself for myself that helped me.

Word Of Advice: If you have to hear the hard truth about university, then let it come from me because I say this with all the love and experience; university is not easy, and it's not for everyone. You are entirely responsible for how the next 3, 4 or 7 years go during your varsity career. Do all the fun things that come with varsity life in your 1st year - you'll experience some big reality checks then. Choose your friends wisely. Don't ever compromise your health - the degree will always be there no matter how long it takes you to finish, but you need to be whole and okay when you eventually finish that line.


Challenge Faced: Financial hurdles. I thought everything was in check until this year when I had to register for Postgraduate studies. There was a mix up between DHET grant and my bursary and I got a hell of a run around for about two weeks. Grad season came through and the preparation was super expensive. I didn’t expect it to be that expensive but it was.

Overcoming: Look for part time jobs on campus and outside of campus. Tutoring and Customer service were saviors. I learnt how to do nails and offered nail services, this hustle financed me throughout my final year.

Word Of Advice: First of all choose a degree that highlights your strengths. Learn to take care of your mental health. Mind your own business and focus on making the best possible well-rounded version of yourself.

No doubt that uni is an exciting time of our lives but also a tie where we sometimes learn lessons the hard way, are figuring ourselves, who we are out and  a time where many of us first encounter depression/anxiety. Hopefully these three young inspirational women have inspired you to persevere in getting your degree and to have realistic expectations of uni - for those that are in high school. 

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