Monday, January 12, 2009

campo, through my eyes


before i start i'd like to say that first and foremost, i have nothing but love for all the guys i went to campo with, for 4 years they were my family, we had the best of times and the worst of times, and we all emerged stronger. before i move into the good times i had which i'll write at a later date, (which far outweigh the bad), i have to go through some of the bad...the beginning was just hard for me, just the whole new experience and being female in a male-dominated class and being a para, anyway, here it is.

chapter 1

day 1: my official day 1 in campo was basically the friday before the official start of classes (the last day of orientation week, we'd been asked to come in to be shown around the building that would be our alma mater for the next 4 years, ie to be shown classes, comp labs, and given a short intro). i remember waking up that morning with mixed feelings, knowing that this would be where i'd spend the next four years getting the final 4 years of my 8-4-4 education. i was excited at the prospect of moving away from home and being independent, but scared of what the future had in store for me, the unknown.

so that first day, 11 of us turned up, myself (the only female), and 10 heart sunk, i was in shock, culture-shock would be the more appropriate term, i'd just spent a very sheltered 4 years in an all girls high school that had unrealistic ideals about the outside world, the unrealistic part being that they acted like the real world didn't exist, and hence never prepared us for it. a fish out of water is what i was, and definitely not liking it. so, when i saw the 11 of us gathered there, i thought if this is it, i'm doomed. needless to say, i was not looking forward to going back on monday which was going to be the official start of classes. that whole week more students started to treacle into class, and by the end of the second week or so we were more or less a full class of about 36 (later on a few dropped off along the way, but 36 is what we originally started at), 6 girls and 30 guys, sigh.

chapter 2

the first few weeks were not easy, the 6 of us girls (who were clearly living in a mans world) were more or less to be seen but not heard. we had a comp lab which had about 20 comps to begin with (i think it was about that number initially before they started breaking down one by one) and with 36 of us everytime we had a break from class we'd all have to rush to grab a pc to yourself to be able to check mail and surf the net. there used to be a poem when we were kids, it went something like, 'girls are made of sugar and spice and all things nice, and boys are made of frogs, and snails and puppy dogs tails'. so basically, when any one of us girls (or should i use women? no that would make me sound too old, hmmm, i'll stick to the word girls), as i was saying, when any one of us girls would be lucky enough to find our own pc, we'd check email from loved ones and thereafter continue on to open all forwards which had nice poems and cards and pretty pictures of cute cuddly animals, flowers, nature etc, you catch my drift, nice easy breasy beautiful things. but nooo, this was not the case with the guys.

now those first weeks, or should i say first few days, the guys quickly discovered the world of easy access porn at the click of a mouse...and as much as i can understand that alot of guys had never had exclusive free access to it, i have to say from the girls perspective it was a torturous experience. For us girls, who simply wanted to check our email, it would be an agonizing and down right humiliating experience. There you were, innocently reading your email, and to your left, there would be 3 guys drooling at a computer screen watching those free 5 second porn video clips (thank goodness they didn't have full access to the movies as credit card details were required, so they had to make do with short clips and pictures), anyway, as i was saying, that's the pc on your left, and the one to the right, there'd be another one or two guys giggling at some twisted sh*t like some girl getting nailed by a horse or something just as bizarre...oh the torment of it all....and afterwards there was an attitude change from a few guys in the class, their jokes became more sexist, bolder, ruder and down right disrespectful, whether we were in earshot or wasn't easy. i can understand for alot of guys it was the first time they had access but surely they could have found some pc's in a ka-corner, and told the rest of us those corner pc's are off limits except for those who dare...but to have all comps with it on was just too much. all of a sudden the need to check my mail or surf the net wasn't that urgent anymore i made do without...untill much later when things in that dept seemed to have simmered down and we all had to get down to surfing class related material for assingments and stuff.

chapter 3

now, as if being female wasn't tough enough...on top of everything, i happened to be a para student...and let me just add first of all that being a para student wasn't even my choice, it was my folks's choice for two reasons, the first being that i was going to join only a couple of months after high school as opposed to the usual wait of more than a year (ie they didn't want me sitting on my a$$ doing nothing at home), and the second reason being they wanted me to choose a so called 'professional' course from a handful of options available at the time that was more or less limited to, doctor, lawyer, engineer, or comp sci, so i ended up choosing the course which i hated least out of all the options.

now, in campo at that time, being a parallel programme (para) student was not easy, it felt like it was some punishment i was being made to go through for some crime i may have committed in a previous life. the year i started my course was the second year the para programme had been running at campo, there had been lots of fights about it, lots of resistance from the regular students (regs), but the admin wasn't budging and said they would start offering even more courses to paras. so it just so happens that for the particular course i was studying, i was in the first official group of para's...if i remember correct there were 5 of us in total out of the entire 36. initially i guess it wasn't really known who was para and who wasn't, and we all tried staying 'in the closet' for as long as we could, but it started becoming more apparent by little things such as our registration numbers being different from the rest, etc

this is how things would more or less go on a daily basis from day one, your sitting in class and talk would just begin about how daft paras were and how we were bringing the quality of education in campo down and how just because we 'apparently' had money the uni would rather it's standards be lowered just to get more money etc etc... now this conversation would be had on a daily basis in class, outside class, even riots broke out enough times over it. initially when classmates would talk about it, i don't think they even knew there were any in our class, but once they found out made a point of trying to be sensitive about the matter, but outside the class walls, those who weren't classmates hated paras and weren't afraid to show it. change is never easy, and to some extent i definitely could understand where the regs were coming from with the argument that they'd gotten top grades, they were the creme de la creme (and i give them my utmost respect for this), but i just couldn't understand the resistance because the uni also needed a new source of funds, which they could now get and be able to rejuvenate its facilities. nevertheless, whenever that line of talk would begin i'd find an excuse to make a quick exit, as listening to talk about me and my ilk being referred to as stupid on a daily basis was not my cup of tea. those first weeks it got so bad i remember thinking i should just wait it out and end up doing bsc gen as a reg which is what i was called for, that way i wouldn't have to take all that crap. i don't know if the regs ever knew this or not, but all of us paras had problems paying fees, we'd all be constantly called to the office on late payments, and we'd all be constantly given enough letters telling and threatening us about how we'd be disenrolled and not allowed to attend classes or sit in on exams if payments were late, basically being made to live in fear that we could be kicked out any minute, what misery. all i wanted was an education, which apparently was too much to ask for.

chapter 4

as if not ostracized enough, to add insult to injury 'paras' could not get uni accommodation. of course they never told us this at time of application, but first, they didn't have the capacity, and second, they'd tried converting a certain hall to accommodate us but the usual riots ensued and it never happened. so paras had no uni accommodation and had to operate from home. i longed to be able to say i stayed in box, or hall xyz, or whatever to be able to identify, but this never came to pass. only in my second year when things in class got really tough, and i needed to join in on study groups did i move into the Y which was the closest option available. i finally got to blend in and not feel as much of an outsider, and things started looking up as i joined a reliable study group and more importantly could finally get a taste of campo night life (stories for another day).


this was more or less the rough start i had, but next time will write about the many fond happier memories i had, just thought i needed to get this off my chest first. and as i said earlier, i have nothing but love for everyone who was in my class...and for the record, i wouldn't trade in my campo experience for anything.

el fin


Blogger Samborera said...

Who knew.

Monday, January 12, 2009 5:09:00 PM  
Blogger googler said...

didn't think anyone would actually get to the end of the post, i really do need to polish up my writing skills and summarise instead of going on and on.

i guess for me at the time, being in a new environment had my own battles to fight (didn't eveyone?),...guess those were just some of mine.

Monday, January 12, 2009 7:52:00 PM  
Blogger 0.5 said...

Are you serious? That was an excellent post. Have you gone through some of the earlier Introverted stuff? There is some stuff as long as novellas. That's what I call a rant. Well preserved, like a wine. 6 years after graduation, not a pip in between. Fascinating.

Monday, January 12, 2009 8:11:00 PM  
Blogger googler said...

cheers 0.5! you definitely put a smile on my face

as for catching up on old introverted posts, i have like 3 yrs to cover!...i now find myself stealing time whenever i can to just sit and read all the backdated posts, it's all so intriguing and well written, every different post is like a work of art...the blog has all the entertainment value i need: drama, eh romance (if i can call it that...or should i say heated passion), comedy (lots of it), action, adventure,'s like i've struck gold!

all i can say is kudos to all the introverts, mad all definitely have a good thing going here which just keeps getting better with time

Monday, January 12, 2009 9:09:00 PM  
Anonymous JabaBoeku said...

Great post Googler!
and indeed I can share with many-a-memories of campus life.

Eagerly waiting for the other posts!

"The silent-wars in the tiny ICS library, book-hoarding, mad-rush to comp-labs and of course, Jurassic aka Vulture pack!"


Wednesday, January 14, 2009 11:49:00 PM  
Blogger googler said...

thanks jababoeku...

wow, i totally forgot that the tiny library ever exsisted! it was quite the joke, all the in-demand books would be borrowed at the beginning of sem and returned at the end of sem feeling nothing! and you'd be at the mercy of the borrower hoping at some point they'd take pity on you and let you have a quick peek at the book before examtime.

or if luck shown upon you, you'd be searching for a book in one section and find someone has slyly hidden a highly sought out book somewhere in the corner, then you'd be the one with the upper hand...oh the memories

Thursday, January 15, 2009 1:01:00 AM  
Blogger matejivu said...

Lab **on! huh! Looking back i totally feel you.
You had all that detail 9 years on and they called you dim? I better relook my IQ self assessment.

Saturday, January 17, 2009 7:57:00 AM  
Blogger googler said...

haha...thanks matejivu

Sunday, January 18, 2009 2:16:00 AM  

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