Letter of Appreciation from Kemishi Nkgoeng (INISA Stiepndiat 2021)
I am honoured to be selected for the 2021 INISA Student Grant and I would like to express my gratitude for your continued support to students who need it most. This is going to have a massive impact on my family's life. I have prepared a letter explaining my academic experience during 2021 and how I have been handling everything since the beginning of the year.
I am a Quantitative Risk Management student studying at the North-West University Vaal Triangle campus. My academics have been largely affected by Covid and the effects it had on the economy. We transitioned over to online learning which was a new experience for everyone, from depending on the video and consulting with lectures over emails or Zoom calls was a new experience that posed some new problems I never thought I would ever face.
Depending heavily on an online platform for means to access your education in a country where electricity is not always reliable is a huge problem. I have had the power go out while in a class or during an online test. The several levels of lockdowns imposed by the government also lead to our academic calendar being delayed which meant everything was moving at a fast pace when we opened again. Furthermore, I use an unreliable phone which has a battery life of 5 minutes, this made things extremely difficult when wanting to speak to classmates or lectures.
I have been working from home the whole year as I had no funds to pay for accommodation near my university, this means that I have to travel should there be a class or a test I have to write on campus. The economic ramifications that covid caused meant that we dealt with a fluctuating fuel price, so what was sufficient to get me to campus in February fell short in July.
I am the second born of a family of five so asking for money is a huge problem because the little that is available is used for other necessities. For the first half of the year, I had no money at all. I tried being proactive and looking for a job that I could perhaps work part-time, but I saw myself fall into the shocking statistics that were spread all over the media. "57% Unemployment for youth between the ages of 15 and 34 years", I would spend hours on several different sites looking for any job that can help me pay for my transport or fees, but I had no luck the whole year.
The first semester came to a very horrific end as I contracted Covid 19 towards the time of examination. I skipped the first opportunity hoping that I would feel better during the second opportunity but I had no such luck, I ended up studying and writing feeling horrible and extremely sick. 2021 has been the worst year for me when it comes to my mental health, I have been in a deep depression from February until September. I had days where I would go to sleep and hope that I do not wake up. I felt hopeless, lost and struggled with anxiety throughout the year. Luckily I had friends who were there for me the whole time telling me that I will get through the rough patch that I am experiencing, and I always said it feels longer than just a patch.
The year was not all horrible though I was selected by my lecture to be a tutor for a module I passed last year, I didn't believe that I had the honour of growing an idea in someone's mind. I did this throughout the year and tried to maintain a clean record by always preparing, being friendly and funny (or at least I thought I was funny) towards the students I was working with, I knew that the money that came from this would be used for fuel when travelling to campus. Unfortunately, they pay after a semester so it was still a struggle in the first semester.
I am running a logistics hustle with my older brother where we help people move their belongings from points A to B, it is a difficult job and customers are few, but this was my last straw as I am unable to get any kind of job on the market, I hope this keeps growing and I can use the money to help out at home. Once again thank you for all that you have done for my family and me, no words in my vocabulary can fully paint the picture of how much of a difference this is making in my life. Thank you to all the donators to the fund and the whole board for setting up opportunities like these, they go a long way. May God bless you and your families, may his favour be upon you and beside you all around you.
Sincerely, Kemishi Nkgoeng