As a 21-year-old simple, Muslim female, second year Bachelor of science Radiography student and wonderer, I hope that what I have to say is relatable or serves as some sort of inspiration or motivation. How did I get to where I am – where am I? Well, if you really want to know, let’s start from the beginning:
Matric: what an interesting and confusing time for me and, I am fairly sure, the rest of the world. I never understood why, at the mere age of 17 or 18, we had to decide what to do for the rest of your lives. There was not a direct path, or a dream, that I was trying to make a reality, but I had an idea. From as early as primary school days, I wanted to work with people: specifically a hospital setting came to mind.
I decided to apply for Medicine, but here’s the untold and honest truth: I didn’t get in. I then applied for dentistry, pharmacy and other fields that I honestly cannot remember at this point. I finally got accepted into CPUT for chemical engineering and attended school there for about a week – until UWC accepted me.
This led to two years of my life in the world of BSc in Chemical Science, a field I did not imagine myself to be in, and it came with its own difficulties and hardships. I still had this vision of moving over into another field as I had no idea what I was to do with the degree, and I had no motivation to complete it either.
What I wish I knew then, is that it was a path set for me to learn and grasp university life and engage with people and opportunities. It was not a waste, nor a part of my life that I see with regret. With that being said, by the middle of my second year at UWC I decided to apply for Radiography at CPUT. I wanted a degree or course where I would feel proud of myself, and that I would have pride in.
There were comments and questions like, “wow, two years wasted’’, “I have never heard of Radiography”, “why?” and “we hope you like this next field so that there is not another change”. But the overwhelming support of my parents, family and friends helped me ignore those reactions, because no time is ever wasted and it is never too late to become a better version of yourself.
What is Radiography and why was I so captivated by it?
Radiography is the field focused on x-rays: we are the ones that ask you to say “cheese”, and take images of your bones and more. There are various fields in radiography: ultrasound, nuclear medicine, radiotherapy and diagnostic radiography.
I chose diagnostic radiography: taking x-rays of bones, CT scans, MRI and images of x-ray fluid in the body (fluoroscopy) amongst other things. What really captivated me was the interaction with people and the ability to assist someone in need. Radiographers don’t necessarily complete treatments, but we aid the doctor in diagnosing and treating patients.
I then started my second try at my first year of University – the decision to move over was scary. Leaving two years of my life, friendships, study groups, and other experiences, I had to start from the beginning – with nothing. What I didn’t realize was that my past experiences made me more equipped for my next university life and I adjusted quite easily.
Stay tuned for more about Aalia‘s experiences as a student, working in the hospital, and life during quarantine to be continued in the next post “part 2”.