Friday, September 26, 2008

To my younger self

Dear excited one,

This is the beginning of a new life experience. I often think about how proud you were, as a little girl of 8, to be introduced as “daddy’s little girl”. A part of you will always be that little girl. Now, you’re looking at 20 and you’re far from home so it’s time you became someone else. Welcome to university Refilwe.

Here, you must develop new habits. Wake up in the morning and get to lectures on time. You have an unforgettable face and so other students are watching and it’s those very students who could employ you one day. Think about this when you’re about to walk in 15 minutes late, while Nicky Cockcroft lectures on “Reading for academic purposes”.

To your laziness, remember that there is a man out there earning more money than he needs and once you’ve failed your courses, he’ll deposit a large sum into your account and you’ll never have to study again. I would also like to remind you of something in you that will never change: that quiet determination to succeed and slowly take over the world. Studying is a slow process. Once you’ve mastered this you’ll be well on your way to achieving your aspirations.

That doubt you often have about yourself and your abilities is something I’d like you to lay down. Substitute it with a passion for your studies and an unshakable self assurance that will be the fortitude with which you face tough times. Don’t forget that others are trying as much as you to build new identities for themselves. Have fun with other first year students and make this an experience you can laugh about, as well as celebrate, on that day when you all graduate.

Yours with applause,
Fee M.

My letter to me..

My dear fellow,

I write this to you in the hope of setting right the few misperceptions that you so fondly entertain. We all indulge in idealistic fancies from time to time. Therefore I will not put on a tone of superiority but will rather assume the position and perspective of a loving brother, for we are after all identical.

You look forward to a new town. A place that reeks of free-hearted spirits and an abundance of social experiences that call and beckon around every corner. The smell of independence lures your attention from every angle and the notion of doing your own thing pleases you. The sunset tells you of all that was and the moon tells you of all that could have been. You gaze upon the mountain top with a look of meek longing in your eyes yet you never break camp and start the hike.

Varsity is all that you want it to be and much more. The boundaries are there but are easily crossed. If you’re looking for a good trip you need to make but a phone-call. If you’re looking for individual creativity you need only to draw from an abundance of sources that outwardly prickle your inner potential. The material is here and the tools are easily acquired. You will not look far for stimulation and perspective, or for the sweet twists of a reckless fling with a salty yet adequate broad.

Whatever the taste and however deep the desire, satisfaction is but an arm-stretch away. All you have to do is reach out and take it. Break camp and start marching son. The doors are all open but you need to get off your lazy ass and have enough initiative to explore that which will serve only to enrich your inner perspectives. Embrace the opportunities, explore the beauties and indulge in the pleasures. Release everything save your wisdom and initiative. You are young but once.

Your own

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Letter to my youger self

Dearest Laura,

I am writing to you out of concern, a friendly warning that life will move on and your metabolism will slow down unless you take action to avoid the infection that is first year spread. University life is nothing like school in terms of diet. Remember the days when you could eat anything you wanted without a worry in mind or a change in weight, well unfortunately at Rhodes the temptations are greater and the food portions are greasier so some self control is needed when it comes to maintaining your weight. The fact that Grahamstown is a ‘dinky’ town, with numerous restaurants and take out food stores all within a hundred meter radius of each other, makes this self control slightly more difficult, if not border-line impossible.

Therefore I am only thinking of you and your happiness when I say that regular exercise should and must become apart of your daily routine, think of it as a compulsory lecture. You may be thinking that the transition into university life will be easy and effort-less but trust me when I say it is nothing short of a turmoil of emotions and confusion, and in many cases people turn to the comfort of food for support where previously you would find comfort in the words and proximity of your family and friends. Don’t be fooled by the notion of three meals a day, first year spread is a sneaky and vicious creature lurking in every corner spreading its curse and claiming everyone as its victims. Another factor that proves to be quite deceiving are the residence mirrors, they tend to paint a misleading picture of your physical appearance, eliminating any feelings of guilt after you’ve just devoured your second helping of food. Try avoiding the lies told by the mirrors and the attack of the monster by exercising regularly and keeping fit.

You’re Friend,
Laura Matthews