December 2020: End of Year Report

What were your key learnings of the last year?

Firstly I would like to say thank you so much for this opportunity to be able to write this report and also for taking up an interest in myself.

I would definitely say that one of the key learnings this year was to start focusing on myself. From an academic point of view as well as personally. To really understand that in order to give someone a little of your cup of juice you have to make sure that your cup is full first. I’m not saying that to say that I’m looking to be a snob or a selfish person going forward, but I am definitely going to do more of the things that are going to be beneficial for me first. I also learnt the importance of forgiveness, dealing with anger, having to relearn and unlearn old and new habits.

I also learnt the importance of planning, how it helps you in your mission to success, not only in academics or your workplace but in your every day life as well. It helps you to control and manage things, whether it be your finances, goals set out for the day, the week, the month or the next few weeks. Like the saying says: “fail to prepare then be prepared to fail”.

Another important lesson was learning that things won’t always go the way one plans, as things go wrong, you make wrong choices at the time and it’s only when looking at it afterwards that you realise it could have been avoided. However, it is also going through that process that makes you strong, wiser and ultimately more grateful as a person which is what this year from a global viewpoint has been all about. The Corona pandemic has shown me the importance of living for those who love and support us and being able to give the very same to those people. I also experienced how sometimes people you don’t know come into your life and have such a great impact on it in a way that someone couldn’t do that you have known for a lifetime. So for real this has really been another year of lessons, blessings and to some point great successes.

How did you benefit from the scholarship? What would have been different without it? Did you benefit from Kulu Manzi in any other way?

I did benefit from this scholarship immensely. Personally I was proud to be the holder of the Kulu Manzi Scholarship, and I still am today. I benefited through it by being able to be part of a great network of people. People who support me and people from whom I can and will learn so much. I am grateful for the chance I had at obtaining another degree and I’m looking forward to what is ahead as well. I would definitely not have been able to study had it not been for Kulu Manzi, nor would I have had the relationship that I have with Kulu Manzi now, which to me is probably the icing on the cake. The biggest plus point and perhaps one of my biggest victories. I also benefited from Kulu Manzi as I was also being supported more than just financially as they showed an interest in not only my studies but in myself, which is something until now I still can’t believe sometimes that it’s true.  When one looks at it, I’m just a guy from a troublesome and poor neighborhood, where young people are destined to become nothing but gangsters. So being able to get all these opportunities through Kulu Manzi has been an absolute dream come true.

What do you think about the cooperation with Kulu Manzi? Was it what you expected? What worked well, what didn’t?

The cooperation between Kulu Manzi as I explained above has been terrific perhaps more than what I could have expected. This was also a very big learning curve for me, as it was the very first time that I was a scholarship holder of such a prestigious country like Germany. I have held bursaries but this was something even bigger than that to me, so maybe it was even more than what I expected from a positive viewpoint. To be honest I don’t think there are any things that didn’t work well – except me failing this one module of course. Communication was always spot on and we always spoke about everything so looking back I’m happy for how things worked out.  

What could we have done differently or better? What could you have done differently or better?

Kulu Manzi has done way more than what it should for myself in my opinion as normally funders only do that: fund. But they had an interest in my life outside University which is something that really took me by surprise, but also something which I was happy about as time went on. I definitely could have made better choices, for example going to stay away from home for a while when the option became available.  I should have put myself first already then. I also learnt that sometimes I need to be cruel to be kind and say no to my dad even though I don’t like it would have made things better for me. I probably would still have my tablet and I would have passed that module easily. So definitely making better choices needs to be something of real importance going forward.

How did your life change in the last year?

It changed a lot. It started with me not knowing what I was going to do for the year as I wasn’t sure if I would be able to continue to study even though that was always the plan. I still had outstanding debt from the previous year, so I had no money for University. Eventually I was given the chance to study again which definitely shaped up my year completely different to the one that I initially thought would shape up. From a personal viewpoint I was able to make new friends through my studies, friends who have become like brothers and sisters and the very same can be said of Kulu Manzi where we have established great relationship, one where I am constantly learning. We also had to deal with a pandemic, which changed all our lives. We had to adapt our daily lives to make things safer for ourselves. We had to deal with lockdowns for probably the first time in most of our lives growing up as the youth today. So definitely learning all those things was definitely something that changed life tremendously.

What kinds of development do you expect for next year?

Personally, I would like to continue developing as a researcher, and academics as well as in everyday life. Learning to be a better friend, a better uncle, son and brother. I definitely would like to stay on my own for a while as I continue my journey to independency. I would really like to experience how living on my own is like for a while. Surely that would be one awesome learning experience.

Are you going to keep working for Oasis next year? Did your contract get extended?  

It definitely does look like my contract at Oasis will be extended, and talking to the boss really helped me in understanding my role. He also told me that he understands that I’m not earning as much as a person with my qualifications should, but that I should be patient and also do some retrospection which is always a good thing I believe. So definitely this is another goal, trying to push up salary by performing better at work. I know my work did suffer when I went through that situation of my tablet. However, I’m back and looking forward to showing what the real Rusche Petersen is all about.

What are your goals for the future – did anything change? Which job are you aiming at and what steps do you have to take to get there?

I would like to be so many things, but for now definitely continuing as a researcher, working both at work but also on personal projects with Professors De Coning and Marion Keim. But these are just ideas and we haven’t planned anything in detail yet. So for my goal of becoming a senior researcher and not just an assistant I have to continue learning and just work and learn as I go. So the steps would be to continue working closely with the people as I have done in the field of research, especially in the sport and development field.

Anything else you want to share with us?

Thank you so much for this opportunity. Thank you for your generosity towards myself, a person of a background and life filled with many social problems. Thank you for the interest you have taken in me and thank you for the fact that you support the dreams of people who want to make something of their lives. You have no idea how much it means having you in my life and how much better my life is now having your support in it.

Thank you for an amazing year. Have a great festive period with each other and your families and stay safe, wear your masks and take social distance.

Take care.
Rusche Petersen