STUDENTS DEAL WITH A MYRIAD OF EMOTIONS DURING GRADUATION SEASON
By: Talent Buthelezi
It’s graduation season again and the pressure is at its peak.
Getting ready for the big day, choosing the correct outfit, preparing speeches and the anticipation of the graduation ceremony are some of the things that successful candidates are stressing about. However, while soon-to-be graduates await a positive future, many are devastated as they have not met the necessary requirements to graduate.
Tinashe Watungwa, a journalism graduate expecting to receive a Cum Laude commendation, said, “It is a wonderful feeling. Your hard work, determination and courage being rewarded is a lovely feeling. I’m happy and excited.”
However, as Watungwa rejoices, Simtholile Ndlovu, who studies Electrical Engineering, did not qualify to graduate in April, and will only do so in September.
Ndlovu said, “I had setbacks and my studies were interrupted. I am now scheduled to graduate in September provided I do the assignments I’m expected to do. It sucks because I cannot cherish my graduation with people I started off with in first year.”
According to an article published by IOL only 15% of South Africa’s university students graduate. This astonishing statistic has been received with an assortment of reactions by students as they have differing opinions as to what the reasons for this might be.
Nonkululeko Nyathikazi, a final year Tourism Management student, said, “Most learners are relaxed during their final year. Time during final year is compressed and the work load is hefty. This is a difficult period for most of us and it is a period in which you either sink or swim and sadly many do not make it because they lack discipline.”
Another student, Pearl Ncishane, who’s currently doing her final year in Food Technology, said, “The problem is not the students but rather the structure under which universities operate. I think that final year students should be given the same attention as first year students. Unfortunately this does not happen as we are given additional responsibilities and are expected to cope which is hard to deal with.”
According to University World News, “South Africa’s government plans to raise university enrolment from a current 900 000 to 1.5 million by 2030”.
Londiwe Duma, a Radiography student, said, “The government does not realise that enrolling in university does not necessarily mean that student will stay in school until they are able to graduate. The state should come up with another method to convince pupils to stay in school until they graduate. Flooding universities with students is not one of them.”
Most research indicates that the majority of varsity drop-outs occur during second and third year.
Mbalenhle Dlamini, a third year student currently studying Interior Design, said, “I believe that students who jump from one course to another is a key reason for the low graduation rate as these students start a new course without completing the one they had initially started with.”
According to an article published on Seattlepi, “a major reason for the high dropout rate in college is financial constraints. Students who leave college report stress over current and future financial trouble. This results in pressure to start working full-time for short-term financial gain rather than finishing the degree for long-term benefits”.
The international study prepared by the site also stated that other reasons for high dropout rates include academic problems, apathy or too much partying and socializing.
While education is the imperative for students, not being able to graduate is obviously an enormous stumbling block to one’s future prospects.. In many cases, students have no one to blame but themselves. While others try to find the missing puzzle piece some simply give up on their education.