What doesn’t kill you, prepares you for tomorrow.

“It is said that if we were to help the butterfly remove itself from the cocoon, the butterfly would not be strong enough to survive. It is the struggle that prepares the butterfly to become strong enough to fly. Without the struggle in the cocoon, it could not survive as a butterfly.” Michael Jouseff.

As a student I have learnt that no lecture or tutor is there to teach you anything, rather they are there to tell you what to learn. Just like the butterfly knows that it is in a cocoon and the goal is to get out, I as a student know that I am in university and the goal is to graduate.

Can you imagine how many more graduates there would be if lecturers actually taught students? But can you also imagine how many clueless workers there would be? Who would actually become dependent on supervision?

See as a Social Work student, one is indirectly taught to manage one’s time and to write multiple reports within limited time through one’s university work load. I will admit that when I am drowning in work and I feel like I will barely make it alive, it seems like more of a struggle than a lesson to me, just as I imagine the butterfly trying to break out of the cocoon would feel.

But even when it feels like a struggle, when I can barely breath from underneath my sea-like workload, the goal keeps me going. Because just like the butterfly, I don’t want to be stuck in one developmental phase, but I want to break out and spread my wings to fly above all those people that ever thought I wouldn’t make it. But even more than that, I endure the struggle because I know that it is a lesson that will make me never to abuse my freedom, a lesson that I will forever remember and thus appreciate my freedom more and do nothing to jeopardize it.

And similarly to the butterfly, if anyone helps me by making the struggle a bit more bearable. If someone took away the sweat and tears involved in the struggle, I will most probably be super grateful to them now, but eventually my strength will fail because my training will have been inadequate for the practical application. Just like the butterfly I will fly but will soon die out as I will have left the womb of trial prematurely and can thus never be able to give mature input anywhere that I go, as I will always think and contribute that which I learned during the trial period. And the pressure of the real world will always prove to be too much and it might never be possible to be re-incubated for further development.

So, although it seems to you that this struggle may kill me, don’t worry I will most probably make it out alive and the struggle will have equipped me with all the survival skills I’ll need to live out my creative-purpose. But if you think you are doing me a favour by relieving me of the struggle, then you kill me yourself as I can never stand a chance of survival without the skills which can only be acquired through the struggle.

To all students: use every opportunity to learn what no one will ever be able to teach you and always remember that what doesn’t kill you rather empowers you with the strength you need to face tomorrow.


Kay-Dee Mashile



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