Tag: Barbados

What I’ve learned. What I’m thankful for. What I’ve come to appreciate. First semester at university.

On August 26th, 2013, I started my university experience at University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, in Barbados. (Caribbean island) It was my first time living away from home independently. My last exam is in a few hours, soon I would have completed my first semester at university!  What a challenge it has been.
What was your university/ tertiary education experience like? Were there any significant differences or lesson that would help post first semester? Leave a comment below, let me know. 

What I’ve learned:

Twenty minutes is actually an hour here in Barbados

If you buy green bananas you cannot eat them the same night

When you buy green bananas, which you most certainly would, wrap them in newspapers so they get ripe faster.

Sunscreen helps

Umbrellas keep your face dry; not much else.

Verify all bus directions, even if a bus driver gives them to you

Living on campus is more convenient than living off campus.

Campus food will not taste like home food.

When you lend someone your pen you are not getting it back.

Charge you cell phone if you intend to use it.

My accent is not the typical accent of Trinidadians.

Don’t buy groceries for three weeks in advance

Don’t sit on the gallery at 1am with a Mac Book

Living a 40 minute walk from campus means that you have to make a 40 minute walk everyday, 80 minutes if you don’t get the campus shuttle back.

Not walking 40 minutes each way every day because you have moved on campus while maintaining you eating habits and not adding extra exercise leads to an inevitable weight gain.

Don’t rent an apartment based on pictures; go see it.

The fairer your skin the better you are treated and the higher the price of vendor’s goods rise.

If you like looking at sunsets then don’t take classes at that time; you’ll miss either the sunset or class

You will meet people that I would want to be near to for life; life doesn’t work that way and if it does you would not know until it’s happening.

You’ll meet friends from around the world if you speak to the exchange students.

It’s easy to just stick with your native people if you’re at a school away from home.

When mom says that she’ll call me later it’s comfort to her, not an action that’s going to come to pass.

If you break the rules you’ll get the consequences.

Remember the rules; act accordingly.

Be accountable for yourself.

Laundry doesn’t wash itself. Mentally doing it doesn’t clean it either.

Your favourite towel will get stolen if you leave your clothes in the machines unattended.

Housemates may be fun or they may not be fun.

People will remember your actions both good and bad.

Year 3 students and Intro year students have different priorities, very different priorities.

They (the guys) will know that you are a freshman.

Your party people most likely aren’t going to be there when it’s time to study.

You can be part of many different social circles at university, unlike at secondary school.

Learn to say “No!” Learn to say it in a variety of manners to apply to different situations.

Everyone has a secret, a back story, a problem; treat each other endearingly and with compassion. We’re pretty much fragile.

You will make friends so different to others that you’ve had.

What I’m thankful for:


>Supportive parents

>Second chances

>Finding a friend who is different from the others and embraces that

>Letting God enter my life

> Meeting people from many of the Caribbean islands and across the world

>Beautiful, white sand, blue water beaches

>My granny who prayed for me ceaselessly over the past four months

>The one time I got to sail

>Shady trees

>A lookout over the sea, an ideal study spot that no one uses besides me

>The University of California Study Room

> The cricket oval

>Warm weather; most of my friends are in Canada, England and Northern USA

>New music from the world across

>Campus Crusade for Christ

>Exchange Students

>Making dinner with friends

>Google Docs

>Breezy nights

>Starting to learn to surf, yet again.

>ESSO 24 hour gas station. Good for: post party pizza, study break pizza and ‘I’m having a bad night’ pizza. Also any other excuse for 3am pizza.

> A surf break down the hill from my school.

What I’ve come to appreciate:

> My truck back at home.


>Sitting together as a family to eat dinner.

>Friends who don’t have accent

>Friends who understand my speech  >A bedroom that I can do a cartwheel in

>Warm meals that taste good

>A bathroom for myself

>Spontaneous family sailing trips to the other islands; Grenada especially

>A sound secondary school education

>Inexpensive food, fuel, utilities, inexpensive everything!

>My wealth of knowledge of Caribbean history

>My brother

>Fruits that can be consumed on the same day they were bought

>My Bible

>Doing laundry for free

>Having a drier that dries laundry on one cycle.

>Predictable weather



They say we need to go to university, get a degree, get a good job, be happily married, have children, work hard at our 9-5 jobs in our medium sized cubicles, purchase the latest technology with the latest upgrades, provide these for our children as well so they won’t be ridiculed, emasculate our husbands and show them their ‘place’ all while making it to the gym in our fanciest Nike Pro shorts, perfect tan, perfect make up and Victoria’s Secret model body. Perfection they say. Success is different for everyone. The idea of success that is promoted by society is one that produces a subservient consumer society. I refuse to be a part of this. I really do.

I want to write, I want to read to children whose minds haven’t become numb and brainwashed by their parents’ ideas of success. I want to show them pictures of places wide and far. I want to expose them to other children their age who live completely different realities; not to scare them but to give them the opportunity to be able to effectively put their lives into perspective and to be aware about the other 7 billion people walking the Earth alongside them. I want to encourage them to dream and to follow and work hard, harder than ever to achieve their dreams.

 I want to see different places in the world and experience the culture of the indigenous people there. I wish that by the time I go to Bali to sell coconuts on a beach that the island is not entirely Westernized. I want to share my culture with them. I want to watch as many sunsets as possible during my life. I want to work hard towards a goal even if it takes decades to attain. I want to feel successful when I accomplish something that I set out to do. I want to make mistakes and get lost. I don’t want to spend my weekends getting drunk, partying and having to piece together memories. It is fun for a while but it wears off. 

I want to plant trees in Canada over a summer, sail under the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, sell coconuts in Bali, and truly work hard for something. I want to climb a pyramid, scuba dive the Bianca C and I want to figure things out not just Google it all. I want to set off lanterns with people who are dear to me. I want to spend a night under the stars in Arches National Park in Utah. I want to go somewhere that I’ve never heard of before. I want to watch the Aurora Borealis in Norway and understand the science causing and praise God for creating such wonderful intricate things. I want to take pictures of people doing their work, pictures of them spending time with their families, pictures of them being sad and pictures of them being free and happy. I want to show them these pictures. I want to share love with people.

I want that in ten years I have sailed across the Atlantic, that I can speak a few words from a few languages. I don’t want to depend on others or the bank. I don’t want to conform. I understand why we had to conform in school to wearing uniforms and to an extent I agree with it. I don’t want to have an iphone because it is the ‘thing’ or buy clothes because of the brand. I want to own an analog watch and use it. I don’t want to sit down at home and know that every Tuesday at 6pm is this show and every Thursday at 9pm is this other one and that’s where I’d be every Tuesday and Thursday night. I want to talk about interesting things with my companions not discuss the latest reality show. I want to make meaningful relationships with people. I want to accept that while I might meet someone and love them, I may never see them again and that that is how wonderful life is. I want to be always conscious that there are 7 billion other people sharing this space with me. I want my decisions today not to affect those who will live in 7 generations time.

I want to have real conversations with people, not text or Facebook them all of the time because of my busy life. I don’t want to have a bank loan for ten, twenty, thirty years. I don’t want one at all. If I have children I want them to be able to swim in the ocean and ride their bikes in the road. I want them to be able to trust people. I want them to live for each day, not for the weekend. I don’t want them to base the value of their lives on the number of friends or followers on social media or whatever it will be by then.

I don’t want to have relationships with people that are the results of dreams that I did not achieved. I want to be able to accept that sometimes I will appreciate people a lot more than they will appreciate me, that I may think about someone a lot more than he/she thinks about me and be fine with it.

I want people to understand that true love is selfless. I want people to share their last cookie and not think of it as a loss. I want to be an example to others that I may not have to tell them but that through my actions they will want to change their ways. Just because I’m giving and sharing does not mean that I am weak. Just because I take long to give some answers does not mean that I am uncertain. Just because I make mistakes does not mean that I would never achieve my goals.

I want to show people how wonderful God is. I don’t want to argue about religion with people. I don’t want to spend time discussing politics if at the end of the day the politicians are still going to steal as much as they wish, if the moral compasses never point the right direction, if corruption will continue without end. I don’t want to embrace a party because they aren’t ‘as bad’ as another party.

Seeing that I’m at university I want to learn. Apparently, “this is university, you have to make the grade, it doesn’t matter if you understand it or not, once you make the grade,” I don’t understand this. I want to gain a wealth of knowledge and have lecturers who are living their passion and dream. I want that when I walk pass trash that isn’t mine and put it in the bin that no one looks at me with questioning faces. I listen to whatever music entertains me at a particular time, no specific genre of artist. I enjoy many things and I know that hard work and sacrifice is essential.

Mostly, I do not want to fall into the box of puzzle pieces that is the ideology of our society, I want to achieve my dreams, I want to live my passion and be true to myself.


“Know what you want to do, hold the thought firmly, and do every day what should be done, and every sunset will see you that much nearer to your goal.”

– Elbert Hubbard



Sunset taken from my university, University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus, Barbados. Working towards my assortment of goals, some will keep me here others are a world away. Each sunset I’m one day closer, one day wiser.