MARKO SVICEVIC UP’s Department of Facilities Management, in collaboration with UP’s Department of Residence Affairs and Accommoda...Read more
With the end of the Easter break comes a return to work, but also marks the start of graduation season. Over the next four weeks, UP will confer thousands of degrees and certificates upon thousand of people, and this is nothing but a reason to celebrate.
Some wonderful statistics about this graduation season have been doing the rounds on Facebook over the last week. Apart from the numbers of degrees being awarded, UP has also reached the 250 000 alumni mark. I think this speaks a lot for the type of institution we have the privilege to attend.
I had the honour of attending graduation this past week, along with several of our current and ex-staff members. It was so exciting to see so many people I knew complete something that they had worked so hard and long for. It was also inspiring to see people pursue academic learning past an undergraduate degree and invest research into relevant and important areas, such as African literature, South African sport, local culture and social constructs, and nation building.
Despite the fact that you may not have finished or may be finishing and moving on to the working world soon, the great thing is that learning never ceases. Formal academic learning at an institution is not the only means of education. Life lessons are taught through the things we do, the places we go to, and the people we meet, and it’s exciting to think that you’re always on a journey of self-improvement. I think this is worth as much celebration as graduation.
The most glorious part of this past week has to have been the rain that poured for more than a whole day. While we might never have been ready or happy about the flash floods or second shower on the way to class, it’s no secret that the country desperately needs rain. This rapid change in weather is unexpected but ultimately welcome.
Rapid change is not only manifesting in our weather but also in our social and political climates. However, 8 March, International Women’s Day, highlighted for me that gender equality is a place where rapid change is frustratingly absent. While there have been inroads made into equal gender representation in many areas, I just can’t understand how in 2016 such inequality still exists. Independent published some statistics that indicate the level of inequality women still face, even now.
This week’s edition has happened so quickly, it’s hard to register that it’s been happening at all. This is just another situation that has become the norm at the publication.
Gone are the days where we had to scrounge for news or could take our time writing it up. While I long for a break, it’s great to have news booming currently, so much so that we decided to include most of it in last week’s edition (which means we are now a bit limited this week as everything has already been published or is being worked on for our 14 March edition).
Much in the same way that our publication is a constant whirl of panicked activity, many students are also feeling this way, having fallen behind with academics because of disruptions and uncertainty. This week has been somewhat normal, but can we say that normality is back?
The last two weeks have been frustrating ones for many students, and for a number of reasons. Some are frustrated by lingering systematic oppression. Some are frustrated over missed classes. Some are frustrated by the unpredictable nature of each day. At Perdeby, it’s been frustrating trying to compile content for readers without access to an office and equipment. This sense of frustration has permeated social media. But in among this justified frustration, gremlins have reared their ugly heads in the form of ignorance, racism and hate speech flooding Facebook and Twitter feeds. We’re not alone in this experience. Just over a week ago, well-respected British actor and personality Stephen Fry closed his Twitter account. The metaphor he used to explain his reason was blunt, but honest: “Too many people have peed in the pool.”
True to the beginning of any academic year, campus is filled with over-enthusiastic first-years and seniors motivated by last year’s poor marks. This makes for heavy volumes of pedestrians. While I’m glad everyone is far more eager than me, walking and driving on campus has become an issue due to the amount of foot traffic. Out of kindness, I have compiled a guide for first-years (and seniors whose memories have been dulled by two months of holiday) on how to walk effectively on campus and help make me a little less grumpy.
Tip one: don’t act surprised when you see a car on the ring road. This is a road for cars after all and you, a pedestrian, are the foreign object in an otherwise smooth flow of motor vehicles. There are paths for a reason. Make use of them instead or watch GTA become a reality.