By Sihle Jack
You would think that picking out what your worst educational experience is, is an easy thing to do. I actually struggled with this, mainly because I’ve loved my experience at Rhodes thus far. However, if I really had to pick one, it would have to be writing an exam I knew very little about. This has never been a thing (me knowing close to nothing that is), until last semester where I had to write a media law exam without being well-prepared.
Despite the fact that there were some other personal problems on the side like the death of a dear friend two days before my exam, I still feel that I wouldn’t have done as well as I would have liked to because I was on high panic mode – something I’ve never experienced before, until I got to the venue.
What threw me off to begin with was that I was doing law. Something I’ve never signed up for and something I never thought I would do in my life. I was now going through cases and remembering sections of certain Acts. That for me was just tedious. I hadn’t signed up for it! Being in those lectures, I felt like slitting my wrists. Now, that might sound a bit extreme, but how do people seriously enjoy five years of law when I could not even appreciate the little that I had to do?
Unlike doing a whole course on revolutions in politics, I couldn’t even watch crash courses and dummy courses on YouTube because they don’t make that type of thing for law. I don’t want to say that the course was a waste of my time, because it wasn’t. I learnt a whole lot from it but on the day that results were released, I hated it! I didn’t want to hear the words Media Law ever again. And the sad thing was that during the exam, I felt like I had things under control when all the while I was fooling myself. Walking out of that exam venue I felt like Muhammed Ali, especially when a group of friends and I were comparing what answers we gave in the paper. That was obviously a great feeling until around July 1st when I knew it was late for me.
Now onto the brighter side of life, my best educational experience at Rhodes University. Again, this was a hard one to decide because I have so many. Flourishing academically with my friends over the past two years has been one of my highlights. I just think that it feels great when all of you work hard and it shows. Success in numbers – I mean, who likes to ‘make it’ alone? Being at university isn’t a competition. Literally, I don’t know the number of times I’ve had to help others and not feel like they were trying to take my shine. Being in university has allowed me to share my knowledge. This isn’t Grade 1 where when you were writing a spelling test you had to separate you and your partner with a ring binder. In university, you help each other because where’s the fun going to be when you walk across that stage at graduation alone? But besides the Ubuntu aspect of my best educational experience at Rhodes, I’ve had a couple more. What I’m about to say now is a bit unorthodox to the average student, but going to tutorials hasn’t been all that bad. If anything, I would rather the system was changed and we had tutorials and no lectures. I’m the type who gets bored in lectures, but in tutorials, there’s no chance to because you have to be on your toes. The tutors are spontaneous, they ask you questions and engage with you. They actually care a little. Also, I learn more in tutorials than I think I’ve ever learnt in a class with 100 plus people, a boring lecturer and slides.