So… Heritage Day is to celebrate your culture and the culture of those around you. You, however, have a different culture… the Student Culture.

It’s represented by books and calculators, study schedules and calendars mark down the days, hours, until D-Day, and there are probably summaries and notes on your wall to remind you of the stuff you keep forgetting (which is sometimes EVERYTHING)

You have your own language (complaining about volume and complexity of your work; debating the difference between Tests of Control and Substantive procedures, or the Tax Base of a liability), let’s face it, most of your family don’t get it, and although they know that the words coming out of your mouth are English, it still doesn’t make any sense.

The student culture has it’s own music too. Not the ‘Eye of the Tiger’ that most people might think! Music to a students’ ears are phrases that ease the soul and comfort the mind… Words like… “The exam will consist of the following…” and “Here are simple summaries of that nasty, difficult topic” and “These are past papers with questions that keep coming up”… THESE are music to any students ears!

It also has it’s own food. Caffeine in various forms (Never has the caffeine and stimulant component of green tea, coffee, Coca Cola, energy drinks and BioPlus been debated and researched with such fervour!). Tips on legal drug use abound. These pills help you focus, these ones help you stay awake, these ones calm down the terror of failing, and these one help you go to sleep when all you can think about is how little you got done that day (although I find that reading an Auditing textbook has much the same effect for most students!) Food is anything you can prepare and eat quickly between classes or study breaks. If it can be eaten while studying, that’s even better. Healthy options are discarded closer to the exams in favour of comfort foods and those that can be eaten with one hand while the other hand is scribbling madly on the page.

The social structure of the culture is both inclusive and demanding. Students will happily welcome other students facing the same challenges, but will probably ex-communicate a fellow student who seems to grasp Hedging and Financial Instruments easily, (Mainly out of sheer frustration and envy!). The community is encouraging and happy to share experiences and challenges faced and overcome in hopes that other students will benefit.

Outside of the students themselves… there is no life. The culture allows for very little else. Once you pick this culture, it slowly eats away all the others. Remember those braai’s you used to stand around? The soccer matches you watched with friends? The times you met up for drinks spontaneously after work? Their birthdays, weddings, other celebrations you used to attend? Wave them goodbye…

Your Student Culture is challenging, it’s tough, and it requires a lot of sacrifice. Will it be worth it? Yes. What if you fail, or don’t make it? Will it have been a waste? Only you will be able to decide that. Learning, whether with a certificate of completion or not, it always valuable.

You may have to sacrifice your long weekend this weekend in favour of studying… but don’t you worry… you won’t be sorry in the long run! You’re not alone. You have tons of supporters backing you, and even though your family might not get it… we all do! We’ll be eachothers’ cheerleaders and comfort ourselves in the knowledge that one day, this studying will pay off and make us so rich we’ll forget the tough times!!


If you can relate, or have a query...


  1. What a good read. A lot of sacrifices to make… But I am proud to be able to study, there is a lot of youngsters out there who cant. But I spent my day in class (MAC2601) with one of my favourite Lecturers. I do not regret one moment.

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Yvonne Starkey CA(SA)

Yvonne Starkey CA(SA)

I coach accounting students who are struggling with their study habits and mindset, and want their studies to be as effective as they used to be. See more on my about page

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