Experience of Thandiwe Mathobela from South Africa

Thandiwe Mathobela

Nelson Mandela University, South Africa

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” _Nelson Mandela_

My name is Thandiwe Mathobela from South Africa. I’m originally from Mpumalanga in a small town called KaBokweni. I’m a student at Nelson Mandela university pursuing my Honours degree in Social work. I would like to share with you my experience regarding my coping skills during Covid-19 pandemic.

This is a very difficult period for everyone  but being resilient helped me a lot because I stayed focused and mostly on positive things, no matter what circumstances I encountered. I encountered so many challenges of network and inconveniences of the environment for academic purposes but I had to find a way to pull through, however, during all those  difficult times I told myself that I need to continue with my studies to fulfil my dreams, I always dreamt of being a social worker and if I could focus on the negatives during this difficult times I knew that I was never going to make it. I  would sleep during the day and wake up midnight to attempt to my school work because frustrating myself with the inconveniences of the environment is not an option. I would use the midnight network because not so many people are busy at night and it’s quiet for me to study or do my assignments.

I engage with my lectures for clarification of things that I don’t understand because most of the topics we are working on were neither introduced nor covered in class due to the pandemic, they are so helpful and always willing to help, they keep me going because they are so understanding and considerate. We have created a group chat as 4th year  social work students to share information with each other and it’s very helpful. I’m also part of many group chats in the university which keeps me motivated, I’m also a How2buddy for FirstYearSuccess. I always motivate them to stay strong and I sometimes engage with them individually to check if they’re still doing fine and share some coping strategies with them, given the challenges they are facing.

Working from home is not too bad because the university provided us with data, laptops and they shared some links to download books from the library  and other websites that may help us to access information and lecturers volunteered to send us study materials. During my leisure time I watch movies, take a walk and  engage with my family. Sometimes I would dedicate my time reading more about the recent updates on COVID-19 pandemic. I hope you learn something from my experience to help you  cope during this difficult time. #STAY HOME SAFE #PRACTICE SOCIAL DISTANCING  #WASH YOUR HANDS REGULARY #WEAR A MASK.