One of the most exciting experiences in one’s existence is campus life, not just that but being a student who stays on campus residence.
After 18 years living with families, most young people get to leave their parents’ houses for university and finally get the independence they’ve been longing to have. They decide what they want to do with their lives without anyone questioning them; they decide what to eat and choose to be friends with whoever they want to.
Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), Bellville Campus has about 13 residences most with mixed genders and a few with only one gender. It seems boring and dull during the day but come 8pm, you will see the ‘real’ campus life students live.
It gets busy, with students going to gym, some attending Student Christian Organisations (SCO’s) while others keep themselves occupied with their sports practices, watching televisions in different ‘TV rooms’ and the forward-bubbly, party animals going out for drinks and exciting nightlife.
An 18-year-old Mbali Zaphi says if it wasn’t for residence life, her self-esteem would have been lower than it used to be. “When I was in high school I couldn’t ‘fit in’ in some of those so -called popular cliques but when I got here I found people who had the same interests as me in sports tournaments, braais and bashes that we attend,” she said chuckling.
Zaphi went on to say that life on campus can be boring if you don’t get involved in social activities, meeting new people and making friends. She also stressed out that students need to loosen up a bit, experiment and just go with the flow sometimes.
Queeni Samuels, who has been a house parent in different residences on campus for the past 32 years, says working with students is a great yet challenging experience. She brags about being invited by former students to their weddings, birthdays, graduation ceremonies etc.
“Two of my students dated while they were staying here and they eventually got married and I was invited to their wedding, I can’t fully express the joy I felt when they asked me to be their speaker,” said ‘Aunt Queenie’ as they all call her, with eyes-sparkling with joy.
Samuels is currently working in a ‘females only’ residence and she says she has managed to build a good relationship with her ‘little girls’ and obviously they’re kids to her so sometimes they do fight like any mother and daughter. “We try to make residence a home away from home for students,” she concluded.