LIVING IN CELESTE
by Brittany Yelverton
Living in Celeste Residence has been a wonderful experience. As a postgraduate student, living on campus has helped me feel connected to the university and has afforded me the opportunity to share a home with a fun, eclectic and wonderful group of people. Because our residence is so small, everyone knows one another, which creates a community of friendship and support. The common areas provide a space for people to relax, watch TV, or simply talk, and the rooms are spacious and welcoming. However, what I will remember most fondly about Celeste is the exuberant, outgoing, and friendly faces that occupied the residence. Oh, and all of the birthday cake. I am a big fan of our constant birthday celebrations. :)
I am a local boy; born and bred in Grahamstown and studying towards a BComm (Accounting) degree, at third year level. I am known for being in a rush almost everywhere I go, all-day and everyday. Friends and close relatives say it’s my own form of daily power walking. And I am quite sure that this founded my interest in road running some 9 months ago (yes only 9 months ago!). I found out that it was a very free and yet quite competitive sport. I fast grew fond of running with others - and of course competing against each other. But only at short distances. At that time a distance of 10km seemed almost incomprehensible and surely out of the reach of mere mortals. It is safe to say that much has changed since then.
I never knew that running was so much fun until I tried running my first long distance race (a full marathon of 42.2km) in February this year. My training for this marathon consisted of short morning jogs of up to 10km’s. When a good mate suggested I should try running a marathon, I was not really up for the challenge, in fact disorientated by the idea of running such long distances. With much persuasion I agreed and signed up with the Rhodes Athletics Club. The marathon was an exhilarating experience until I hit the 30km mark. All I could think was: “why on earth am I doing this to myself”. My muscles started contracting and leg cramps attacked me for the rest of the race, but kept going for the sake of it. I completed the race well in time, yelling to myself: “Thank God…. But never again!”.
Just when I thought running marathons were out of my system, I somehow got the shakes… “The need to do just one more marathon please...” Before I knew it, I was running in the Two Oceans Ultra Marathon (56km). This was an overwhelming race however, excruciatingly painful, especially the last few kilometres up Constantia Nek (the steepest hill I have ever climbed before). But with the help of Cape Town’s awesome residents who cheered me to the end of the race, I completed my first ultra marathon. Yay! Training for and running the Two Oceans Ultra Marathon was truly a life-changing experience, and made me realize that nothing good in life comes easily. Two Oceans allowed me to discover who I am, and what I am capable of, which I think is immensely important.
I have also done plenty of smaller races around the Eastern Cape for the Rhodes Athletics Club, clocking my personal best times for distances as follows:
Through this interest, I have learned the art of time management, dedication, perseverance, and consistency. To summarize this experience with one of my favourite quotes: “The important thing is not how you start a race, but how you finish it”.
Well, that was all runners talk. Believe it or not, I try to have a life besides the running - although running does hold a big place in my heart.
Above and beyond running, I am quite involved in social and cultural upliftment in my residence. I participate in as many events as I can, because through the frustration of studies, comes friendships and fun. Lol! I am also the Secretary/Treasurer for Celeste House.
My basic responsibilities are that I take care of minutes from House Committee meetings and distribute them to all members of the house. I am also responsible for reconciling the house net income with our gross habits. Lol! On a serious note, I review funds at every House Committee Meeting, advising to committee of income and possible budget shortfalls. I also liaise with the Entertainment and Sports Rep and collect all receipts from them within one week of the event. Lastly, I am required to draw up quarterly financial records of house income and expenditures and submit it to the Hall for external auditors to review at year-end.
If we wish to know aright the life of any community of peoples, it is not enough that we should learn the origin that pictures their background. We need to be able to picture them ourselves as they go about in their daily life. Above all, we have to do our best to enter their ways of thinking about their lives and the proper ways of spending them, about their duties to their neighbors. During the course of the year 2009, Celeste house offered a rich community of peoples coming from various back ground and endowed with tremendous potentials. Being a member of the Celeste house in 2009, I have got to learn a lot not only from people’s strength but also from their weaknesses. What we have to offer to such a community would certainly be our ability to sustain hope for a better future
Non scholae, sed vitae discimus.
Raphaël M. Tshimanga