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14 October 2020 | Story Thulaganyo Molebalwa | Photo Supplied
Thulaganyo Molebalwa recently graduated and is looking forward to entering the workforce and learning from the best in the different industries.

My name is Thulaganyo Molebalwa. I recently graduated with my bachelor’s degree in Governance and Political Transformation from the University of the Free State (UFS), and I am currently job hunting. I am looking forward to entering the workspace and developing as an individual while learning from the best in the different industries that I will hopefully become exposed to. 

When I reflect on my varsity career, I cannot help but remember the beginning of the second semester of 2018. I thought that I had one more semester left at the UFS, but then later found out that I still had a full academic year ahead of me in 2019. Learning this news nearly broke me; I was told that I still had a few outstanding modules to complete, and that I did not have enough credits to graduate. 

This was the beginning of a downward slope that left me in a very dark place in my life. At the time, it felt like everything was working against me, and it didn’t help that all my peers were graduating and progressing while I felt stuck. I developed a very negative mindset and slept a lot in an attempt to cope with my stress; I avoided people/public spaces because I just wanted to be alone. 

I started confiding in my family and friends about how I felt, and how everything had taken a heavy toll on my mental health and well-being. 

Look, it was not easy, but having someone to talk to has made a big difference and helped me get back to my normal daily routine, doing things I enjoyed. I even started a YouTube channel.

As students, we are often faced with different challenges. The university environment can become quite stressful for most people, because we are forced into vulnerability through our academics, methods of studying, and our social lives. 

I think it is important to prioritise your mental health at university by using resources such as the UFS Department of Student Counselling and Development to learn and be more aware of issues around mental health. I believe this would help a lot of students to realise that they are not alone and that there is help available.

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