A day in the life of an online Witsie

Semester two has just begun. Normally, when we go back to campus, it’s after a long winter break, it’s after making lots of memories with friends, maybe it’s even after a trip to the ocean, the Kruger National Park or even overseas. The point is, when we get back to campus, we’re geared up for semester two and we’re ready to give it our all. 

However, this time, it’s after a one week break, we did not get to make any memories with our friends and inter-provincial travel for leisure purposes still isn’t allowed. Much has changed. 

We really went from leaving early in the morning for campus to waking up at whatever time we want to do our lectures that were uploaded. We went from buying a coffee from Okoa to making coffee at home. We went from chilling with our friends on lawns to trying to find a convenient time for everyone to video call. We went from wearing outfits that we picked out the night before to wearing sweatpants and a hoodie or even simply, pjs. 

I miss campus. More than I ever have. A day in the life of an online Witsie isn’t ideal. It entails doing at least double the work that you would have done at campus without any of the perks that the campus life holds. The best part of campus life is your friends, it’s playing foosball between lectures at DJ du Plesis, walking to the JK for zohr (and sometimes asr), studying in the library together, leaving campus to go out to eat, playing card games on lawns, greeting about twenty people on your way to a lecture after lunch and even being in lectures together. It’s discovering new places on campus as Wits really is a world of its own. It’s stressing about tests and freezing in Flower Hall while you write Test 2. It’s even struggling to find parking (speaking of parking, @ Wits please refund us for our parking this year).

I wake up every day, make coffee and start doing my lectures. The campus groups on WhatsApp talk the whole day. I get emails about resources being uploaded every hour. I download lecture slides and video lectures and I try to make sense of it all. I do tutorials on my laptop, I never thought I’d miss going for tutorials because the thought of having to sit in a classroom with twenty other people and get taught by someone who’s just a year above us for a whole hour was enough for me to scream. A day in the life of an online Wits isn’t the greatest. But while, it isn’t the greatest, I feel thankful.

I feel thankful that I get to watch lectures and do assignments and finish the year. I feel thankful that my lecturers try and give us the same standard of education that we would have gotten face-to-face. I feel thankful that I still get to see my friends even if it’s only on a video call. I feel thankful that while this pandemic has taken away so many of the simple pleasures of my life, it has not taken away my education.

We may not have gotten the chance to make the memories that we normally would’ve made but we have made memories that most people won’t ever make in their lifetime (I mean, we’re living through a historical event). We’re going to get to tell our kids “if I stayed home for months, you can stay home for one night and spend time with your family”. It may feel like change is all around us but we must remember that change is part of life and that this too shall pass. 

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