My Graduation 👩🏻‍🎓

Greetings and salutations to one and all ♥️

I’m baaaaack from my sabbatical. I needed to tend to a few things and to be really honest, these past few months have been SO busy that it was hard to find time to blog.

The dust has settled. I’m in a good routine. And I think now is a good time to catch you up on the happenings of my life.

The purpose of this blog post, for me, is to have a soft copy, a digital memory of my graduation day. This was undoubtedly one of thee most special days in my life.

For those of you who know me personally, you know that I’ve jumped from studying 3 different degrees. I tried studying at different universities and just never found my calling. Not until Embury. Embury changed my life. And finally, after years of being lost and confused, I found my calling, my purpose and my passion. So this degree is really special to me. Of course the studying will not stop here.

So I graduated cum laude. This means I achieved a 75% Aggregate (A Aggregate) every year for my four years of study.

This was no easy task. My social life was basically dead for those years, lol who am I kidding, it’s still dead now 😂. But I mean a lot of energy and focus was put into my studies and I worked towards the cum laude pass from day 1. I got what I wanted hey. Through hard work and Gods grace, I achieved my goal.

Because I was president of the SRC at college, it was my task to say a speech on behalf of the students. This was such an honor and a privilege. Who, can ever say that they had the privilege of saying a speech at their graduation, which they were graduating cum laude from?

This is something that only happens when all the stars and planets align to make your dreams come true. It was that extra opportunity to make my parents proud, and boy were they beaming!!!

I had tears in my eyes the whole time. From the moment I got my little slip which said cum laude, to when I was called on stage and had to kneel before the CEO of Embury (a human that I look up to and revere), and even when I addressed the congregation. It was such an emotional day for me.

I will share my speech with you below. But more importantly, I will share pictures with you. Pictures of my big day.

When I think about my life and my goals, I don’t ever think of me being a bride wearing a white gown, that thought has never crossed my mind. I’m more interested now, in studying and wearing that red PHD gown.

So below you will find my speech and pictures of my special day.

 

It is my belief that educating young minds is the solution to foster mature, forward-thinking leaders to help bring the stability and growth the world really needs.   With that said……….My ideal is that every person should have access to education because I believe, that education is the key to truly liberate the world.

I believe that each and everyone one of us sitting here today share this sentiment, and with this common goal, we have reached this momentous occasion.

 

Good day to the Chief Executive Officer of Embury Institute for Higher Education, Mr Human, the Chief Operating Officer, Professor Bean, the Executive Committee, the Dean of the Faculty of Education, Dr Thatcher, the academic staff and lecturers of Embury, parents and most of all, the graduates of 2017.

It is indeed a pivotal & momentous occasion. I am honoured and humbled to be standing here in front of all of you today.

My journey at Embury, has been a magnificent one. I have had the privilege of serving on the SRC for four years, two of which I have served as president of the SRC.

During my time at Embury, I have been exposed to the Embury values. Integrity. Dedication and compassion. I have adopted these values into my own personal life and go forth on every journey with integrity, dedication and compassion. With that, I have managed to persevere to new heights personally and academically and I can say with much pride that These values have been inculcated into my very being.

I have had first-hand experience in witnessing the Embury lecturing staff, carry themselves with these same values.

They gave us students, every tool possible to  aid and assist us into becoming the best teachers we could be.

 For that, I will be forever grateful.

 

During our time at Embury, my fellow graduates and I have had to wear many caps. In first year, we were psychologists. In second year, we were inclusive education specialists. In our third year, we were experts at organizing our very own fun day for under privileged schools in the Durban area. And in our final year, we were lawyers and curriculum developers. And now you sit before me, with yet another cap. Your graduation cap.

 

Our journey has not been easy. It’s been long, demanding, challenging and at times difficult but we progressed forth with dedication, determination and strong will, giving it our all with the hopes that one day, we too, would go out into the world and educate our future.

My fellow graduates, a few words of wisdom.

  • You don’t have to be great to start but you have to start in order to be great. You have started, and you are great. Keep moving in this direction.
  • Do what you can with what you have, where ever you are.
  • Champions are not champions because they do extraordinary things, they are champions because they do ordinary things in a great way.
  • If you have it in your mind you will hold it in your hands, and if you think about what you want in life and make that your dominant thought you bring it into existence. Thoughts become things.
  • Take care of your mind and your mind will take care of you.
  • Love is the highest frequency you can emit, the greater the love you feel and emit the greater the power you are harnessing.
  • Get up, dress up, show up and never give up.
  • Use your wings to fly and if you cannot fly, run and if you cannot run, walk and if you cannot walk, crawl and if you cannot crawl, roll. It does not matter how you move what matters is to keep on moving forward.
  • Coming together is the beginning, keeping together is progress and working together is success.

We’ve proved, that we definitely deserve to be sitting here today. We’ve overcome many obstacles and hardships to arrive here and I have no doubt in my mind, that each and every single one of you will be the change we wish to see in the world.

Our dear lecturers, without your knowledge, without your time, without your guidance, we would not be sitting here today as victors. Please accept our most heartfelt thanks and gratitude. You believed in us, even when we sometimes, did not believe in ourselves, and with your encouragement and support, we achieved our goals.

Studying at Embury, has been a metamorphic experience for most of us sitting here. We found things in ourselves that we did not even know existed. We found courage, we found perseverance, we found resilience, we found hope but most of all……We found passion.

I know for certain, that we are now well equipped and well on our way to begin the journey of shaping young minds and educating the future of this world.

 

Some of my fellow colleagues have already acquired jobs. Some here, and some overseas. They have already begun their path in becoming  “a positive change agent”. For those colleagues who have not yet found jobs, do not despair, do not lose hope. You are needed in this world and you will find something soon enough.

Today I stand before champions.

In front of me today I see victors.                                                                                                                                             In front of me today I see winners.                                                                                                                               In front of me today I see conquerers.

You are the soldiers that sacrificed a lot.                                                                                                                           You are gladiators that endured to the end.                                                                                                                                  You are fighters that persisted, and today you stand here victorious.

What moulds and unfolds a champion?                                                                                                                                                     A Champion is developed through trials and tribulation.                                                                                     A Champion is transformed through suffering.                                                                                                                 A Champion can only be a champion after it has won a difficult battle.

After all  the ingredients of a champion are sweat, blood and tears.                                                                                                                                                         My DEAR FELLOW students, in your studies you have sweated, you have bled, you have shed tears and today you stand in front of us as champions.

1 leg of this remarkable journey is now complete. As a champion, as a graduate, as a teacher, it is now our responsibility to pass everything we learned to the future students of our country. The knowledge we gained thus far will only be useful if we use it to prepare the next generation, academically.

Remember “it is not about reaching your goals that matters but what you become in the process of reaching your goals”.

Congratulations on your success, but your journey does not end here, so go out and do all the good you can, by all the means you can, to all the people you can, at all the places you can, in all the times you can, for as long as you ever can.  Do what you can, with what you have, where ever you are. Champions are not champions because they do extraordinary things, they are champions because they do ordinary things in a great way.

Thank you.

 

 

 

  • May I ask all the graduates to please stand. May I remind you to put on your hats (if you have not done so already) and ensure that, in keeping with tradition, you move your tussle from the RIGHT to the LEFT to show that you have indeed graduated!!

 

  • Let us wear our gowns and hoods and show our certificates with pride as signs of your achievement.

 

 

  • And now as a gesture of our appreciation. I ask all graduates to turn around and face the audience and wave your certificates to your special guests, family and friends.  And turn to the lecturers and do the same.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stay tuned for more, I have a few ideas of posts I’d like to do in the next few months. Look forward to sharing my thoughts and experiences with you all.

As always, thanks for the support and love.

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Practicing Self Care

Self care is so important. It is absolutely vital to take care of your mind and body, in this day and age, where there are so many demands placed on an individual.

Think about it, an average person has work stress, financial stress, family life to deal with, theres just so much going on and it is all an elaborate balancing act.

In between all of the madness and the rat-race, I think it is imperative that you take care of yourself. This will help you perform at your optimum and peak. This will help you feel less stressed and overwhelmed. This will help keep you sane and healthy.

Taking a walk in nature, dipping your feet in the ocean or just hugging someone you love can instantly lift your mood and make you feel good. All of these little actions are part of the self-care process.

Self-care means different things to different people. There are plenty ways to invest in self-care and look after yourself. The activities I am going to list below will not cost you any money, but they will make you feel lighter and refreshed.

1. Rest, Rest, Rest. 

I  know we all have busy schedules and theres nothing wrong with that, but its great to let your body rest and recharge every now and then. If you don’t have the time to take a nap (which many of us don’t) then aim to be in bed atleast 30-60 minutes earlier than normal, to allow your body to rest. I have read previously , in many articles, that scientist find sleeping for 8 hours or more a night will lower your risk of developing health issues that may actually be quite costly to treat. Getting your sleep will also help you make smarter decisions, especially when it comes to your finances.

2. Healthy Eating.

Stocking up on healthy ingredients such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, great sources of protein and good fatty acids will keep your system up and running. It will ALSO save you cash in the long run, as frequently eating out can become quite expensive. for many, the act of cooking is a way to relax and unwind. Healthy recipes are easily accessible through a quick google search, and you can become quite the healthy master chef. Try Pinterest for recipes too.

3. Exercise. 

Exercise is one of the best ways to practice self-care AND you don’t need a gym membership to keep your heart rate up. Clear your head while raising your endorphin levels by going for a run, practicing some yoga, or completing a home workout. There are plenty free workout plans available, so find something you like and take an hour or so to strengthen your mind and body.

4. Organise your space. 

A little organising does the soul good. Sometimes a busy schedule can make home upkeep less of a priority. One inexpensive way to invest in your self-care is to declutter. Cleaning out your space can re energise you and lift your mood. Feng shui your room or organize your stuff to literally and figuratively clear away the clutter.

5. Set Goals.

Setting goals can increase your motivation and drive. The practice can also help you keep perspective and plan ahead. If your aim is to save money, write down your goal and a few ways you will achieve this feat. And as a bonus, your determination and focus could seep into other aspects of your life as well, including taking care of yourself physically and mentally.

Keep track of your mental and physical health. 2018 has only just begun, and if you take small steps to assure your self-care, you won’t struggle from burnout half way through the year.

By putting simple measures into place, you can actually work better, harder and achieve all your goals.

This is your year to be great. This is your year to achieve all you have set your mind to. Be strong and be smart.

Thank you for reading! I hope this post can help you take care of yourself a little bit better.

Wishing you peace ✌🏼, love ❤️ and light 💡 .

Greetings for 2018

Hello my dear followers

A very Happy New Year to you!

I know it’s been a long time since I’ve posted on here, but life just got too busy and I just had no time.

I truly hope that you all have had a wonderful rest at the end of 2017 and spent good quality family time with your loved ones. And I hope you are refreshed, revitalized and re-energized for this new year and all the great new things to come.

I’m here to update you on the happenings since my last post.

  • Since my last post, I have completed my final exams and gained my Bachelors degree in Foundation Phase Education. To top the year off nicely, I qualified with 8 out of 10 distinctions 😱. If you want to know how I did it. It’s quite simple. The recipe for my success was formed out of three basic components. 1) Prayer and belief in God. 2) Hard-work and dedication. 3) Having a solid support structure.
  • I got a job! Before even writing my final exams, I received the good news, that the job I applied for, the job I’ve wanted for the past four years, the job I dreamed of having… was finally mine. I’m truly blessed in this regard. I put my mind and soul into working towards this goal of mine. This is the job I knew I wanted , ever since my very first day of college. And to be able to say that I’ve reached my goal and attained the job of my dreams. Wow. It’s a powerful feeling. I am now a Lecturer for a private higher institute for education. 😍Dreams do come true!
  • I relocated. For those of you who personally know me, you would know that I have lived my whole life in the laid-back, chilled city of Durban, South Africa. I relocated to Johannesburg which is part of the Gauteng Province, South Africa. Johannesburg is lively, fast-paced and ever moving. My job is in Jhb so it was only obvious that I made the move up. I still miss my Durban, every single day, and all the people that made Durban great.

So as you can see, a lot of BIG life changes have been happening. Relocating is no simple matter, it is a stressful process. But in the end, I do believe that everything happens for a very specific reason. So this move for me, is part of some grand plan in the greater scheme of things. I do know for sure that I will develop and grow both professionally and personally in this new chapter of my life.

And I’m glad you guys have still stuck around to follow my journey!

Watch this space for more!

I wish you all peace ✌🏼, love ❤️ and light 💡.

Thank you for reading.

I will leave you with a few pictures of my life from the last few months.

This picture was taken on my first day of work.

This is my sonny boy. My golden love. My Midas 🐶♥️

I met this gorgeous husky on my trip up to my new home in Johannesburg. We stopped for tea and scones at this quaint church. Archer the husky was just chilling with his owner and I just could not resist. I needed a selfie of him!

But first. Lemme take a shelfie.

This is my wonderful bookshelf in Durban. I was so heartsore having to part with this.

I found Minerva McGonagal outside my new home. (This is a Harry Potter joke for those who didn’t quite catch on).

I went for a cruise on the Vaal dam.

I attended a wedding.

My interview look!

We went for a family team building exercise! It was really fun ❤️

And that’s it folks.

Thank you for being here, with me.

Turning Tables

Hi Guys! 

It’s been a while since my last post. I’ve been spending my time being dedicated to college and these last 6 months before I graduate. 

I’ve also been thinking a lot. About life and the various experiences that shape us. Sometimes it takes a really shitty experience to help us grow and mature in leaps and bounds. 

Sometimes it takes things falling apart for better things to fall into place. 

Sometimes it takes the most uncomfortable path to lead your life to the most beautiful place. 

You will never see the purpose of the storm until you see the growth it produced.

You will never see the purpose of someone leaving until you see what’s best for your life. 

You will never understand why you went through what you went through until you see the strength, the power and the resilience that it built inside of you. 

I just wanna tell you, your current situation is not your final destination. Just because something is over, doesn’t mean your life is over. The pain that you are going through will soon turn into the pain that you conquered through. 

The fear you are experiencing will soon turn into the fear that you overcame. 

This chapter is not your story. This moment is not your identity. 

This pain is not your life. 

You gotta believe that the tables in your life will turn. 

The pain will become power. The weakness will become strength. And the confusion will become peace. 

Better things are coming for your life.

Everyday is a new beginning. 

It’s time for you to start treating it that way. 

And with those thoughts, I leave you. 

I wish you love, light and happiness.

Until next time. Peace ✌🏼

Mental Health over everything.

I thought twice about writing on this topic. It’s controversial in that, so many people have so many opinions and not all of them are positive. Actually, most opinions are negative.  Mental health is the sort of topic that’s not so widely discussed. I guess it is getting more notoriety than before but people who suffer from mental illnesses still feel ashamed to talk about it for fear of being stigmatized. I am vocal on this topic because I feel people need to know that they are not alone. There’s something comforting in feeling like you have support or that you are not completely misunderstood, that out there, somewhere – someone is feeling what you are feeling and you are not alone.

People who suffer from mental illness can still live a normal life. They can still achieve success and they can still do everything that a person who does not suffer from a mental illness can do. See, mental illness doesn’t render you incompetent. It may impede your progress in other aspects of your life, but it certainly doesn’t make you “less than” your counterpart who does not suffer from mental illness. It’s something that happens in the brain. It may be genetic, or it may be triggered by some sort of trauma or it may just occur because you are receptive to the affliction.

I’d like to elaborate on Bipolar Disorder.

Bipolar disorder is characterized by dramatic shifts in mood, energy, and activity levels that affect a person’s ability to carry out day-to-day tasks. These shifts in mood and energy levels are more severe than the normal ups and downs that are experienced by everyone else.

People suffering from bipolar may experience a range of feelings to different degrees. These affect different areas of a person’s life.

People may experience the following:

Mood: Mood swings, sadness, elevated mood, anger, anxiety, apathy, apprehension, euphoria, general discontent, guilt, hopelessness, loss of interest or pleasure in activities.

Behavioral: Irritability, disorganized behavior, aggression, agitation, crying, hyperactivity, impulsivity, restlessness or self-harm.

Cognitive: Unwanted thoughts, delusion, lack of concentration, racing thoughts or slowness in activity.

Psychological: Depression, manic episode, agitated depression or paranoia.

Sleep: Difficulty falling asleep or excess sleepiness.

Weight: Weight gain or weight loss.

Also common: Risky behavior, false belief of superiority, fatigue, or rapid and frenzied speaking.

Treatment can help but the condition can’t be cured. It is chronic and can last for years or be lifelong.

Treatment often involves a combination of medication and psychotherapy.

Therapies consist of support groups, cognitive behavioral therapy, and psychotherapy.

Medications may include anticonvulsants, antipsychotics, and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.

Supportive care refers to hospitalization.

And specialists consist of psychiatrists and clinical psychologists.

This affliction renders one fragile and feeling everything in extremes. Feelings are exaggerated and cannot be escaped. There are many things you can do to keep episodes at bay, but for the most part, no amount of treatment or medication or enlightenment can help when experiencing an episode. The sufferer may know that what they are feeling is because of the illness however, even though they can understand that, they cannot help what they are feeling.

I’ve heard some people saying “Just think positive thoughts”, I think if it were that easy, then nobody would be diagnosed with Bipolar. A bipolar person cannot help the way they feel, even if they may know better.

Also, Bipolar disorder does not mean having a split personality. It does mean having extremes in moods. People with bipolar more often than not, also have problems managing anger and unpleasant emotions. They have a tendency to view people and situations as either “all good” or “all bad”. They present feelings of emptiness. The mood swings involving anger or depression are usually in response to stressful events or relationships.  People with bipolar may also have poor self-image. There are often feelings or tendencies leaning towards self-harm.

Trust me when I say this: If it were so easy to just snap out of it, I’m pretty sure sufferers would “snap out of it”. I highly doubt any normal, sane person would feel this if they had the option of feeling anything other.

Recognizing triggers and keeping risky behaviour at bay is a good way of ensuring you don’t have an episode. Having a sense of purpose and believing in a higher power helps too. BUT…even with all of this, you can still have low moments.

Mental health is so important. It is important to keep yourself healthy and take the time out to tend to your personal needs.

“It took a long time to realize that you can do everything right and still end up unhappy. You can say all the right things, do exactly as your told, follow in the footsteps of all the people who swore by their success and their strategy surrounding it, and you can still end up displaced – because you didn’t ever choose to listen to yourself. The best thing I ever did for myself was simply listen to what I actually wanted. I drowned out the guidelines, the advice, and the ‘shoulds’. And I messed up. I made mistakes I’ll never forget. I hurt people I loved, and I got hurt.

See, self-discovery isn’t this comfortable, miraculous thing. It can get ugly, it can get confusing. Its gritty, it’s hard. It’s difficult to confront yourself sometimes, it’s difficult to be the person who does things differently, who doesn’t settle.

But it’s the greatest gift you will ever give yourself. It will push you towards figuring out what your own personal version of happiness looks like; and when you grow on your own terms, when you figure out what actually matters to you, and when you carve out your own path, you live on your own terms. You love on your own terms. You become the person you have always wanted to be, rather than the person you were always told to be and that is beautiful. Because when it comes down to it- life is about making yourself proud on your own terms. It’s about finding a happiness that works for you.” 

– Bianca Sparacino

You see, whilst bipolar sufferers may be plagued with the illness, they are also actively trying to find their happiness and own it. It’s a long and daunting process and there are a lot of bumps along the road, but there is also room for a lot of learning and self-discovery along the way.

So, if you have someone in your life, suffering from any type of mental health issue – be supportive and show some love and care, it might be the only love that person feels that day.

If this post helps you understand the illness a little more or brings awareness to this topic, then I’ve done my job.

As always, I wish you peace, love, and infinite happiness.

 

The aftermath

Hey guys!

I know it’s been a while since I updated my blog. So much has been going on, I barely had the time. 

So, let me give you guys a quick run down of the chain of events that happened since being back from the student exchange programme.

1) I got back home and went straight into re-tests. I had to do these because the tests were written while I was away. I felt so under pressure for these because it meant having to catch up on three months worth of missed lectures. 

It was kinda crazy to just read the textbook and write a test on content that I had no real idea about. 

Nevertheless, what I did, was soldier on and guess what? I managed to pull distinctions out the bag! 

Sometimes in the most stressful and busy times, you realize your true potential. You realize what you’re really made out of.

I mean, I was just hoping to pass given the circumstances (being away and missing lectures), but I superseded my expectations and goals. 

2) Exams were next! 

Aaaaahhh! Just as I finished writing the retests, whatdoyaknow- I was thrown into exams! Geez. No time to slack. I literally jumped out of the pot and in to the frying pan. It was so intense. The exams really took its toll on me. The expectations of these higher NQF level modules are seriously no joke! Well, I survived and lived to tell the tale. I am waiting for my results and will keep you guys updated with those.

3) I got a new car 😀

So while I was away, my little brother had an accident with my car and it was beyond repair. He’s okay though, don’t worry. In the wake of this, I got a new car and my parents made such a good choice. It’s a cute little Toyota Etios. ❤️🚗

4) I found out that my pronunciation of the words “Strength” & “Length” are correct, after years of being told I pronounce it wrong, hehe. 

I pronounce the “gth” at the end. Most people say “lenth” and “strenth”. I say “lenGTH” and “strenGTH”.  I went onto YouTube and searched for the correct academic pronunciation and I was right 🥇.

5) Assignments 🙈🙈🙈

So, literally a day after exams, I had to start working on my assignments! The stress never ends! I had missed the submission dates due to being away and the management team at college took mercy on my poor soul and allowed me the grace of handing my assignments in after exams. That really helped, but still, it was a crazy month. 

I put myself under pressure because I work best that way. I have high expectations and goals for myself during this academic year. I’m trying to attain my goals and still have a balanced life. I am a sister, a daughter, a friend, a granddaughter, a babysitter, a student, an SRC president, a human. I can only really do as much as I can without spreading myself too thin. That being said, I try my utmost best to fulfill all my roles with sincerity. 

I continue to learn about myself through times of adversity and hardships. I’ve had some great moments being back home and I’ve had some nasty experiences too. I won’t elaborate on the latter, it doesn’t deserve a shred of my energy. But the former, the great moments, they have made me grateful for being back!

Things I missed, that I now get to enjoy:

• Seeing my family ❤️

• Getting spoilt by my grandmother and getting all my favorite foods cooked for me

• Being able to walk around in “winter” with a short sleeve shirt on and NO jersey.

• Having my own wheels. Getting around whenever and wherever I want and just having that freedom and independence of having a car. I really missed this one when I was away. 

• Being able to see my Significant other 🌙🌷

• Now that I’m on holiday, I can make time to see my friends! 

• SEEING MY DOGGO! 

There’s actually quite a lot more to be grateful for but I think if I really start listing stuff, I will only probably finish this post tomorrow. I live in constant gratitude and appreciation for all that I’ve been blessed with. 

I just wanted to update you guys on the happenings so far. I’m only really getting a chance to settle in and relax, now. Because things have been hectic until now. But I will write again, and soon. 
Thanks for being part of this journey with me! 

I hope you guys are living your best life!

I’m leaving you with some pictures of my sisters graduation. It was such a proud moment for our family. 

Stronger.

Wow! I have less than 2 weeks left on what has been the greatest adventure of my life.

Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine myself succeeding at one of the toughest challenges of my life.

Norway. You have been amazing and beautiful, but you have also been tough and challenging.

When I take a step back and go through the course of events that unfolded to lead to this… It blows my mind.

I am just a girl from humble beginnings who had a goal. a vision. a target.

I sat across the table from my parents four years ago, telling them to start saving up because I want to be the exchange student and represent my college and country in my final year. They had every ounce of faith in me. They believed in me. They fueled my fire.

My parents trusted that I would work towards my dream and had my back the entire time.

I have put countless hours of hard work, sleepless nights, determination and motivation to push me ahead of the rest, to be able to achieve my goal. I don’t think I have ever wanted something so badly, in my life.

…And hard work pays off. I got what I worked hard for. I was afforded the opportunity of a lifetime.

I know that from here, there can only be bigger and better things for me to conquer in my life.

This trip to Norway has been intense. It was 3 months away from anything familiar to me, completely drenched in a new culture, new people and new expectations.

This trip has shown me my true strength, which I sometimes doubt I actually have.

It has shown my perseverance and drive. My determination and ambition. I dug deep within myself and found a fighter. I fought through the cold, the language barriers, the high expectations from college. I fought through the moments of weakness when I missed my family and loved ones, the moments of sadness when I felt low and fought through not knowing how to cook and clean, to become self-sufficient.

I think I did well! I made it to the last few days and I’m still here, still surviving. Still doing my thing.

I often put myself in pressurizing situations, and I am very hard on myself, but that’s only because I know that if I don’t push myself…I will never know how great I can truly be.

I will be returning to South Africa having acquired new skill sets, being more sure of myself and having made my parents proud.

All I’ve ever wanted was to make my parents proud. They both started off from nothing and became such amazing, accomplished people. They have given me everything and so much more. All I want is to show them, they have raised me in their image.  I’ve learnt so much from both my mom and my dad, and all that I am is a tribute to them.

It’s really quite overwhelming when you have achieved a goal that you have been chasing for 3 long years. The amount of inner strength I found in myself has been phenomenal. The journey on which I have embarked would be scary, even to an adultier adult than I am. But I looked it straight in the face and tackled it head on.

I am proud of myself. I overcome a lot of challenges, took a lot of risks. I made many friends, explored, went on adventures, acquired knowledge, submerged myself in another culture. I did all the things I wanted to do and even conquered a few things I wasn’t even expecting.

The world better start getting ready for me… Once I get my degree, I am going to be a force to be reckoned with.

What I have learnt is; to respect myself more, trust my instinct more, be more forgiving of myself and to have more confidence in my capabilities. I think I did pretty well considering the odds.

I owe myself this much. A chance. A chance to be great.

I find that I stand stronger than ever before and I am so eager to end this trip on a high note, then go back home and knock the ball out of the park with my final year of college.

I have never believed in myself more than I do right now. If you want something bad enough, you will do everything in your power to have it. I think I can look forward to more growth and stability in the years to come…but this opportunity has certainly set the pace for the rest of my life.

Thank you Mom and Dad. I love you guys so much and I hope I have made you proud. I am coming home to you a little wiser, a little stronger and a little smarter.

If you have read all the way to this point. I want to say this to you: Don’t settle for any less than you deserve. You can do anything you put your mind to. Just go for it with passion and drive. You owe yourself everything you have been dreaming off, make it happen!

I leave you with a visual representation of me as a baby to my most current picture. Its been a looooong, hard 26 year journey. But I’m all the better for it.

From here…

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…To here.

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