My Honours journey started with a tweet by my third year lecturer DR Corne Davis who literally tweeted, “I’m looking for Allan Hill Urgently. Can you please respond if you are around?” I obviously responded and found out that the University needed some information from me, a few days later I was informed that I had indeed been accepted to study my BA Honours in Strategic Communication. I won’t lie I was ecstatic when I found out as were my family and then the nerves kicked in as I had no idea of what to expect. When I applied for Honours I really wasn’t expecting to get in, I decided to apply and try my luck and somehow it paid off, for which I am very thankful!
Honours for me started right after the summer holiday, I came back from my holiday in St Lucia and kicked off Honours “on-boarding” the very next day. I remember it as if it were yesterday and in other ways it feels like such a long time ago. I knew very few people in the Honours class so the first few days or weeks were a bit awkward as myself and everybody else tried to find their little niches and clicks and slowly started settling in. I found my true friends in the Honours class a bit later on as I generally take forever to let people in or really show an interest in people but I definitely made some really good friends this year.
The first major part of my Honours journey happened right at the beginning of the year when we had to be put into groups in order to work as “miniature agencies” in order to do jobs for clients. The groups were selected by the lecturers and I was put into a group where I did not know anyone and I think in the beginning we all hated this idea, I know I did, but as the year went on and we got to know one another we seemed to get on really well and we worked well as a group, obviously there were the odd hiccups along the way but I think that is par for the course with group work, its just how you as a group deal with those hiccups and learn from them.
I personally found Honours to be an extremely challenging adventure, it is a vastly different experience when one compares it to a normal undergrad degree. I don’t think anything really prepares you for Honours even if you speak to someone who has gone through Honours themselves because everybody’s journey is so very different and unique. I found that Honours really tested me as a person on so many different levels; personally it tested me on an emotional level, mental level and a physical level. There were times when Honours was “RELATIVELY” chilled and there is a lot of emphasis on the word “relatively” and then there were times, which literally broke you as a person, or at least it felt that way.
I would not necessarily say that Honours changed me as a person as when I began this journey I was not really looking to ne changed. I am a person who is extremely comfortable with myself and am very happy with the person I am and what I have personally achieve as a person. However, even if one is not ultimately seeking change, change always seems to find one as we are constantly changing as a species and in order to survive we as a species have to change and adapt. Honours certainly tested my ability or lack thereof to manage time, this is an area which I still need to focus on a great deal but Honours certainly taught me how to manage my time and use the time that is given to the optimal level. I also found that I matured immensely during the Honours programme, I believe that I particularly matured on both a mental and emotional level. Mentally I improved my ability to understand the research process and how to go about researching a variety of topics at the same time, I also learned how to synthesis large amounts of work into relatively bite sized chunks. Most importantly on a mental level Honours taught me how to think smarter and not necessarily harder. On an emotional level Honours taught me to keep my emotions in check and always remember that as much stress you find yourself in there is always somebody who is more stressed than you. I also found that Honours taught me to deal with stress and how to manage myself under sometimes-extreme amounts of pressure and stress. Honours changed me as a person in the manner in which I interact with people, I found that in undergrad if you were “white” you sat with the “white” people and if you were “black” you sat with “black” people however I did not find this to be the case in Honours I found myself interacting with a variety of different people and engaging them and getting to know them not just as class mates but as people. This is something that I really enjoyed and I have realized that if you treat others with the respect that they deserve, you will ultimately be treated in the same manner. My biggest change in Honours about myself is that I as a person have matured, I have grown into a young guy that respects his peers, that respects those with authority and respects the environment in which I find myself in-I have matured.