Life Update – Where have I been?


Hello reader…

I know it’s been forever and a day since I updated my blog, wrote and new post or even made a peep but a lot has happened since I was last here. I am alive. And if that is enough for you, you can go now, but if you are remotely interested in why I took a long extended absence from my space on the internet read on.

 

 

The last time I left off, I was gearing up for the second semester of my second year of study. Exciting times indeed but in my personal life, I was facing the closest I have ever been to hell. My world was rocked after le boyfriend lost his job. We were faced with very adult decisions to make about our immediate life, where we were going to go and what was going to happen. There were days where all we did was sit on the couch and literally cry while we picked up the pieces of our life. And of course, when it rains it most certainly pours and everything that could go wrong went wrong. FUN.

I cannot condense in words how utterly difficult that time was but trust me I would not have got through it all without the support from my friends and family. Thank you to everyone. We are, however, still trying to get back on some kind of track and it will take some time to regroup before we feel normal again. But in some crazy way we are in a better space than we were before and my last few months have been amazing.

 

This is what I have been up to lately :

 

We bought our first couch:

Not something I was going to mention but I believe it is very important to make note of the milestones in one’s life even if it may not be as important to the next person. After 4 years of living together and not making any sort of improvement to our general living space we bought a couch. It may not be the most expensive and some might say they’ve sat on more luxurious pieces of furniture but you know what, it’s my couch and I am proud of our achievement.

 

My best friends came to visit me for the first time in Jozi:

I have been friends with Raafeeqa since we met at age 15, that’s 12 years of friendship. We still maintain a strong bond after so many years and even after I moved to Joburg we are still consistent in our friendship. Nazz, her sister, who I also absolutely adore is the little sister I never had. In August they both made a trip just to see me and we had an amazing week together. Lots of shopping, cooking together and most importantly our great convos.

 

 

I went to Comic Con Africa:

I can officially say I was one of the people to attend the first Comic-Con Africa hosted in Johannesburg. It was mind-blowing there was so much to see and it was fantastic. I also DIY’ed my mermaid attire including a magnificent trident. Le Boyfriend went as the 11th Doctor and screaming girls asked for his picture even though all he did was buy a fez and went in his work clothes! I met a lot of friends I met online and even after CCA we still keep in touch.

 

 

I surprised my mother for her 60th Birthday:

With all the drama that has been going on in my life, I was really happy I could pull this one out of the hat, okay really all praise should go to the man that made it happen but come on I did all the planning. So my mother turned 60. Wow. And I had to be there. I took a 10-day break from reality to visit my mum for her big day and see everyone that I could back home. I spent well deserved time with my loved ones and with my closest friends, reunited with family and truly hit a reset before exam season starts.

 

What’s next?

I am currently preparing for exams. One last stretch before I can breathe. I have 4 exams and 1 portfolio to complete by the end of November. Studying is going slow but I am sure it’ll pick up very shortly.

Other than that I have started the Inktober challenge which is keeping me creative. In a nutshell, I have to follow daily prompts for the month of October and interpret these into daily drawings.

Something that is keeping the procrastination alive, is, unfortunately, my upcoming Birthday smack bang in the middle of exams! Well at least I am not writing any exams on my Birthday this year, last year I wrote 2. I’ve been getting sucked into what I want to do for my day and how I spend it. It is something to look forward to and I am excited!

I would also try to blog more. Le boyfriend gave me a little notebook to write down my ideas and goals and I am hoping to use this to help me be a bit more consistent in my writing and creative space.  Well, that is all from me for now, hopefully, I will be back sooner than last time.

Thanks for reading. xx

 

UNISA: How to get ahead of the game

 

 

I have been studying at Unisa for the past year and a half and although I got off to a rocky start I quickly managed to find my feet with distance learning. As you may or may not know at Unisa you need a high level of self-discipline in order to keep up with the rollercoaster ride each new semester brings.  This means you are accountable to yourself for a number of things, making sure you dedicate enough study time each week, scheduling work between different modules and making sure you meet deadlines before hell month begins in other words, exams!  I have picked a few tips to get ahead of the game and help me manage my studies more efficiently which I am going to share with you:

RELATED POST: How I became a student. Again.

Study Material

As a Unisa student you soon get to know that your study material may not always make it to you on time, this my friend is no excuse. You can get cracking as soon as you hit ‘Request’ on your application.  The moment you register any modules (even if you are temporarily registered) you have access to study material.

I had no idea this facility existed but once I found it, it changed my life forever. No longer will you find me hopping around group chats begging for a tutorial letter because there is a Download Study Material Tool available. All you have to do is fill in your personal details and the tool will generate all the study material for the modules you are registered for. As simple as that, want to try it out for yourself click this link Download Study Material Tool 

Books

I don’t know about you but I like saving a penny wherever I can and purchasing second-hand books can save you a ton of money. After you have downloaded the tutorials go through each one and make a list of the prescribed textbooks you will need for the semester.

Once you have that down, have a look at reputable booksellers such as loot.co.za to find out what the retail selling price is of each book. This helps you gauge how much you will be spending on textbooks but it also helps you avoid being ripped off if you are purchasing second-hand.  I once had someone try to sell me used textbooks for way above the RSP. If I had not known what they were selling at new, I might have thought it was a pretty good deal. Second-hand bookstores are really good to find a bargain but the easiest way I have found the books I need are through Facebook, Whatsapp, and Telegram groups. I usually post my book list in the group and ask if anyone is selling what I am looking for or I search keywords to find sellers.

Groups

Studying through Unisa can feel kind of lonely. Unlike a physical university, there are no classes (in my experience) so you miss the interaction with peers. Groups bridges this divide by bringing people together to discuss the work and make it easier to cope with Uni life. You can ask the questions about things you are not sure of or access study material. I have also met some of the most amazing people in these groups and made lifelong friendships in my study buddies. The first type of groups I would like to point out is Facebook groups. One, in particular, is the Unisa Students group which is for all students but there are specific groups dedicated to a course like the BA Communications group and even groups for single modules like ENG1501. All you need to do is search keywords such as your course name or a module and filter it out to find any available groups.

When I started at Unisa Whatsapp groups were the standard but currently, Whatsapp is being phased out in favor of Telegram. Telegram is similar to WhatsApp but new members can access any documents and messages that have been sent before a user has entered a group. This means 1 document can be sent instead of it having to be resent over and over. You can find Telegram groups by going to this link Unisa Groups, search your module and join.

Assignments

Read through the assignments for the semester as soon as you get your tutorials. This trick allows me to have a general idea of how much time each one needs. If it’s a multiple-choice question assignment – I know it will take a lot less time to complete than a written assignment. I also jot down the due dates on my calendar so I know when each one is due and I can plan accordingly. I generally do the easier assignments first so that it is out of the way and then I move on to the tougher ones.

If you have the time, reading any novels, textbooks and study guides ahead of time will help you in the long run. If you acquire your study material and books early put in the work as soon as possible even if you commit to reading just a chapter a day during the holiday. I have started reading one of my prescribed books already even though the semester ‘technically’ starts in August I have taken time out of each day to do a little bit before the madness begins.

 

Thanks for reading

XX Cass

Do you have any tips or questions about studying through correspondence University like UNISA? Let me know in the comment section below and best of luck for the next semester!

One last thing before I go… Please like my Facebook Page  Cassricorn Blog to keep up with my posts. I will be posting more on my studies and sharing other fun posts soon.

5 Lessons from The Mother of Chinchillas

A little while back, I had an illustration done of my little family by the amazing artist Christine Bernard. I had stalked her page and loved how her drawings expressed the essence of the people in them and was ecstatic to have her draw us. It was slap bang in the middle of exams and I had trouble keeping up with our correspondence but like I said Christine is amazing and she whipped my illustration up in a matter of hours! If you want to check her out – and you should, you can find her on Instagram here christinebernardauthor.

With that, I thought I would take the opportunity to tell you more about my family and what I have learnt being The Mother of Chinchillas.

 

Can somebody get me one of these?

 

1. Patience
Something le boyfriend will tell you I don’t have. I need instant gratification and I need it yesterday! But when the Chinchillas came along with their little pitter pattering feet I had no choice but to learn patience. As cute and cuddly as they may look, they are not cute and cuddly at all. Maybe ‘at all’ is a little bit of a stretch but to be honest they were a stark adjustment to dogs who will love and give you attention no matter what.

Chins, depending on what age you get them and their individual personalities show little affection and don’t really like being picked up and smothered in love. Our relationship is 80/20 with them showing affection very rarely. I had to learn a lot of patience with them and understand that the few fleeting moments they do show love are exceptionally special. Like the time I put Socrates on the plane to take him with me to Port Elizabeth because I was attending a wedding. I have no clue what transpired between the PE airport to OR Tambo but when I collected him at the BidAir Pet Lounge and took him out of his carrier he gave me the longest cuddle ever even if it did last all of 5 minutes!

 

 

 

2. Selflessness
I am not a human mom yet and I do not think I will be for a very long time but what my furbabies have taught me is to be selfless. I put them first at every point in my life. The Chinchillas each have their own cages which they spend most of the day in but need to come out regularly to play, dust bath and get some exercise. We usually do this at night as they are nocturnal animals and snooze during the day but some nights I could just not be bothered and would much rather sit on the couch and be a potato. But I signed up for this job and play time needs to be done so I make the effort even if I do not feel like it and put them first. Our road trip from hell which I might go into detail about in the future taught me this as well.

We were travelling from JHB to PE for Christmas a few years ago when we had the worst case of a series of unfortunate events and was stuck in a problematic car in the middle of the South African summer with 3 animals that could quite possibly die of heatstroke. It was one of the most stressful times in my life as we had to make it to our destination with a broken car, while le boyfriend did everything he could to get us on the road again I shifted into mother mode and made sure my boys were okay. I recall buying around 10 bags of ice from a garage in Middleburg, smashing them on the side of the road like a crazy person and separating bits of ice into smaller plastic bags and putting one into each Chins cage so they would not overheat.

 

3. Awareness
We got our Chins at a local pet shop. I had been looking for an animal to keep me company and was going to get a hamster but a week before we brought Socs home an aunt mentioned I should get a Chinchilla. At the time I knew very little about Chins and had never even seen one IRL. So when we walked into the pet shop a week later and we saw Chinchillas we knew this had to be fate. Around 9 months later we got Thor and Loki and that is how our family became complete. What I didn’t know was that pet shops are not the greatest place to get animals, all you need is the cash and they will hand over an animal just like that. As a kid, the best place to be at the mall was the pet shop I always loved animals but having Chinchillas opened my eyes to the truth about the pet trade.

I have read a lot of articles about the hash conditions animals face when they are put into breeding in order to keep up the demand for potential buyers at the pet shop and even though I got my boys at a pet shop I wouldn’t encourage the purchasing of animals from a store. I wish I knew then, what I know now, and even though my pet shop seemed legit I can’t imagine what horrors may be going on behind the scenes.

Now a big believer in adoption and if you want any kind of pet, this would be the best way to go. You not only give an animal a loving home but you can usually trust they have come from better conditions and rescue centres always do home checks! Another thing I didn’t like about the pet shop was the misinformation about animals. I was advised by worker at the pet shop, I could put a harness on Socs and take him out for walks, this was inaccurate and could have potentially ended badly because Chins mostly have cartilage and if I had put him on a harness and he started running (which he would have) he could have been badly hurt!

 

4. Teamwork
Our lives are a bit all over the place. With my studies and Gs work we don’t really have a set schedule. But the boys have taught us to be a bit more grounded. We take them out to play at least every second day and clean their cage together weekly. It is a team effort to look after our boys and we seem to be doing well. G feeds them each morning and night (he is brilliant) and I make sure they don’t get too many treats.

The Chins care ranges from medium to hard and we always have to be aware of health scares with them. We once purchased a different type of food for the boys when we couldn’t find our regular Chinchilla mix, Socs ate a little bit too much and I ended up having to rush him to the vet – if a Chinchilla gets bloated it can be fatal! I got hold of G and he rushed home from work and we took him to the vet. He ended up being okay and it was just a little tummyache from eating too much. He gave us a scare but the two of us worked together in order to keep him safe.

View this post on Instagram

My little Loki. The cutest ever. 💕

A post shared by Cassarica (@cassricorn) on

 

5. Happiness
The Chins may not be the type of pets I wanted in the affection department but they are definitely the ones I needed. They have taught me so much and I don’t believe that this is all for nothing there must be a greater purpose in life that the Chins are preparing me for or maybe this is all I will ever be, Mother of Chins and I do think that will be enough for me. My boys have filled my heart with happiness and made my house a home. They are cute, mischievous and also quite intelligent and they are the centre of my home.

 

 

Thanks for reading

XX Cass

Hi everyone, I hope you enjoyed this post about the Chinchillas. If you have any more questions or would like me to do more posts about my escapades with them let me know in the comments below. Do you have any pets, what have you learnt from them?

I think I need another illustration depicting me as the Mother of Chins any artists out there think that they can help me out?

How I became a student. Again.

 

Studying for THL Exam

At 27 it is kind of weird to be a student, especially when one of your closest friends that you met through studying just turned 21. I have always been studious and way back when, when I was in high-school I had dreams of becoming a lawyer (clearly this dream has not come true.) I got into University and as my friends say, I knew everything but forgot it all, the minute I wrote a test. My brain is the most outstanding organ. It works 24 hours a day, 365 days a year from the day I was born… until I have to take a test or remember a name at a party – in one ear and out the other usually. I quit after 6 months. Family life, stress, anxiety and possibly depression as well the thought of wasting my parent’s money all lead me to dropping out.

 

Me, My 21 year old friend Cake (on her birthday) & Tazz a new friend through UNISA

 

 

The years in between my studying is a blur of life pushing me in all sorts of directions with weird bosses and experiences that I might share later on but for now, I am going just stick to my journey with studying. In 2011 just under 2 years after my first rodeo with University, I went back, with a bursary to back me up.  I thought I had made it but it was one of the toughest years I have ever had. The bursary fell through, I was only notified at the end of the year. Literally 9 months after it became obsolete. I was devastated and this is where I gave up and for the next 5 years I lived in a fog of depression. I had convinced myself that my desire to study and get a degree was not something that was going happen for me, I was getting too old and unfortunately, not everyone’s dreams come true and I was one of those unlucky ones.

It was in 2016 when the idea resurfaced. I was living in Johannesburg with my boyfriend while my best friend back in Port Elizabeth was talking about studying through Unisa. She wanted to pursue a career and the best way for her to do that was to get credentials but she also started planting the seed with me. I was, at the time, doing nothing really substantial with my life. I had not worked in two years because of the decision we made about my eye disease. I have Keratoconus and when we moved to JHB we decided that I would not go out to work. We found the best doctors and surgeons to diagnose and treat my incurable disease. I went for an operation, got fitted with hard contacts lens and truly saw for the very first time (before everything was a blur.) And it was around about the time where I needed to get back on track.

As the seed that my friend planted grew I started entertaining the idea. I still thought I was too old to study and fulfil a dream at this stage in my life and what about the cost? I had a lot of doubt about going back to studying but the desire outweighed the doubt and I looked into this crazy notion even more. I had the talk with G (le boyfriend) and asked what he thought, he thought it was a brilliant idea and was all for it and without skipping a beat offered to pay for the whole thing. I also spoke to friends and family and made sure that this was the right thing for me. Before I filled out the application we came to the decision (so many decisions) that this would benefit us in the long run, I’d be working towards a career I wanted to be in and when the time came the possibility of getting a better salary with a degree in my pocket sounded logical. So, I filled it out, sent it in and 5 months later I was a first-year Communication Science student.

Something I never thought would happen ever again. I am now currently full-fledged, full-time student with all the problems that come with it. I hate it most days and ask myself WHY? But to be honest this is where I want to be. I love learning, I love the idea that at this end of this I will achieve something I wanted for as long as I could remember. You may be wondering how I jumped from Law to Communications? Well, law will always have my heart but I believe am a writer. I have no clue at all what I want to do with this skill but I know it would be awesome to get paid for it or at least be in some part of the Media doing something creative and Communication Science will help me get there. I still do not know what exactly it is I want to do, and people keep telling me that, that is okay because not everyone does so I am just chilling, (at the time I wrote this) in second year hoping that I figure this out by the time I graduate. And even if  I don’t what I have learnt is, it never the end of the world and you are never too old to do what you love.

Thanks for reading

XX Cass

Hi readers, have you ever thought you were too old for something like I did? Leave me a comment and let me know, also if you have any questions about studying go ahead and ask, I know a thing or two and might be able to help or satisfy a burning question you have about me.

Cassricorn What? Welcome to my blog


Sup Y’all! Hello, Hi and welcome to my blog. Well, of course, you knew it was my blog, cause the only people who are probably reading this right now are those I bombarded with a link and if I cared enough about you, you also got a “please read my blog” with an innocent angel emoji or a single enduring heart. But if you are here out of your own merit, you must be as interested as I am to see where this actually goes.

I have done this blogging thing before and man it was not what I expected. Without having to go into a long-winded backstory (haha gotcha I am)  everything I loved about blogging the first time around was slowly sucked from my fingertips little by little as I immersed myself more and more into the blogosphere. The bloggesphere where “experts”  tell you how, why and what you should blog about and you are made to feel as if you aren’t good enough if you are not making money from your blog, if you are not going on extravagant trips and if you are not getting a mountain of free stuff at your door.  Blugh! I got caught up in the idea that my worth had to be measured by others and if I wasn’t getting those likes and I wasn’t being recognised by big brands then I was nothing. I truly forgot why I started a blog and maybe I never really said it out loud, for it to be profound enough. To say the least, it was a crappy time in my life but it also came with a wealth of knowledge and so many good (and absolutely horrendous) people I met along the way.

So why did I start a blog? Simply, to write. I love writing and telling stories and talking about myself of course (who else am I going to talk about?) Sharing my experiences and maybe some advice, being around for 27 years has actually,  taught me a thing or two.  And what am I going to write about? Another thing that was shoved down my oesophagus by the bloggesphere was to narrow down my niche. But I like everything!? Seriously, I have many likes, from unicorns to cooking and gaming and relationship stuff, I can literally write about a lot of topics because I am not just one thing. I could never be. Try to put me in a box and I will burst out with a glitter sucker punch to your face but to bring myself down to earth for just a little bit, I think what I want for this blog is to be a reflection of who I am right now in this current space in time.

Finally, we have arrived at the question, who am I? I have no idea. Eeek! Well, I don’t think anyone really knows who they are. But before I pretend to be all philosophical, let me get to the point (something that I hardly get to.) I am a 27-year-old, unicorn-obsessed, girlfriend, furparent, homemaker and student. The most prominent parts of my life are my boyfriend of 7 and half years, my friends who keep multiplying (hashtagblessed right?), my not one, not two but three chinchillas who I adore and my ever stressful student life. I am currently in my second year of studying Communication Science with the hopes of getting paid for this one day, this being writing.

Getting back to the point of what I am going to be writing about, I would like to share my experiences of being a student while also being an almost housewife, a friend and a person obsessed with too many things. And I just realised, this doesn’t narrow things down very much but, hey, I can’t narrow me down, I just wouldn’t be me. But I do want to share things I deal with from real talk with stress and anxiety, dealing failure to happier things a new toy I got or how I manage to keep my hobbies going with full-time studies and the many things I’ve learnt about love.

If you are still here, well done. High five! I do not know how this journey is going to unfold however I do hope you stick around with me. I am excited to see where this goes it could flop or it could fly. Like my favourite saying goes,

“What if I fall?” Oh, but my darling, What if you fly? – by Erin Hanson

And that is what keeps me going the possibly that I could fly.

XX Cass

Hi friends and future friends, thank you for checking out my blog. What do you think, will you stick around? Let me know in the comments and tell me what makes you read your favourite blogs? What do you think blogs need to have in order for you to keep coming back?