Humxns of UCT – Siv Greyson

What makes Her Campus UCT so special and unique from the other chapters is that our members, writers, and students are incredibly diverse. Each person has something beautiful and interesting about them – a story to share, a talent, or an outlook on life. We’d like to celebrate our diversity by zooming in on individual’s stories, speaking to them about what they’re most passionate about and letting them shine on our platform. Whether it be just for a chuckle or to actually share some wise words, we’d like to introduce a new series to Her Campus UCT: Humxns of UCT.


This Humxn of UCT is Siv Greyson, a third year Anthropology and Sociology major, and an academic star. This is the full interview that was conducted to share their story over social media. I met Siv in first year when I took Antropology as an elective. Since then, I cross paths with them every now and then, mixing in similar circles. I never could’ve imagined the impact they could’ve made on me. Whenever my own anxiety and depression make me think I can’t do it, I simply read through some of Siv’s encouraging tweets about how much they love what they’re studying and see all the adventures Siv’s studies has taken them on and think “if they can do it, I can do it too”.

When you start reading this interview with Siv, you might be reminded of the passion you had when starting university. By the end of this interview, you might find that passion all over again.


Firstly, could you tell us a bit of a background on what you study?

I really fell into Anthropology by mistake. I had completely different majors entering into UCT and added Anthro and Soc on registration day as electives because well they fit in my schedule. Humxnities have always pulled at me however science and mathematics are institutionally entered as the only subjects worth pursuing. Such that, when entering university I had a science major purely to put my mother’s anxieties at ease. I subsequently dropped that BSc major after a semester because I hated every second of every lecture and every tutorial. Anthro and soc hence became my majors and well eventually, Anthropology asked me out on a date and we’ve been inseparable ever since.

 As for marks, I am proudly an A student (at the moment) but I have only been in love with Anthropology since second year, and thus have only been working at my academic career for a year and a half. I definitely did NOT get A’s in first year at all. I must admit, being on Dean’s List and getting that Golden Key thing was exciting. And getting a faculty scholarship was just…I can’t put into words the feeling. You know when you feel a fire for something and you chase it (because the fire feels good) and then you sacrifice for it - sacrifice sleep, eating well, seeing loved ones, dancing, cooking, making love and your sanity… only to have it somewhat pay off? It’s an indescribable feeling.


Where has your passion and your studies taken you thus far, physically and mentally?

Ethiopia and Japan. It’s quite a long story but my relationship with Anthropology has taken both of us around the world. Ethiopia was a 2 week Field School and Japan - which I just just came back from - was a 1 week research trip. Both seriously left me feeling like a different person; yet also simultaneously a version of myself. Mentally, my mind never shuts the F up. I have to find new ways now of dealing with the chaos in my head - namely: therapy, occasional meditation, taking many hours and days off, resting on my loved one’s shoulders more, daily affirmations, getting closer to The Universe, and pretty much anything that will quiet my imposter syndrome, my perfectionist twitch, and my everyday anxieties.

You often publically celebrate your wins on social media. Can you tell us more about self-love, unapologetically being proud of yourself, goals, and keeping yourself accountable to your goals?

So I used to be very very very active on social media, especially Twitter and YouTube. Believe it or not but what one can see on the Siv Greyson pages today is much less than what it used to be. I have worked really intensively over the past year and a half to reshape my relationship with social media; to use it as therapy less, to make more friends I can touch, to focus more on what is happening in my life and not on the timeline. And in general to live a life that’s tangible. As a result, social media is a treat. Like a cupcake. I don’t eat cupcakes for every meal - although I wish I could - and I try to not make my social media an extension of myself. However, social media is a tool! A very useful tool when you have a wide audience that engages with what you share. Twitter I still use for activism. Instagram (especially stories) I use to show people what seeing the beauty in life can look like and to share ideas/questions with my online community. Facebook is for connecting with those close to me - those I have met irl - and share the exciting parts of life with them. Which includes sharing my wins, my struggles to get to those wins, and my loses too.

Self love right now for me is a conversation. It’s a work in progress. It’s everything and sometimes not enough at all. I try to just battle my anxious thoughts and get through the day while also stopping at every moment possible to smell the roses. I love roses; especially white roses.


What's your study technique?

(Well, for Anthro) I grind throughout the semester. Can’t only be reading Geertz the day before the exam. I am very very engaged in lectures and tutorials. To the dismay of my classmates, I quite enjoy talking (of course bearing in mind that we are sharing the space; it is not only mine). I also listen a lot and whenever I listen, I think. And as my lecturers say, “to write is to think” so I always have my notebook nearby to scribe thoughts. And these aren’t lecture notes, no, my friends know not to ask me for coherent notes. I write down what moves me, what stands out to me, what angers me, what confuses me, and such. My notes are like diary entries but like diary entries written by a nerd (shoutout to nerds). And I do my readings… well, I try. By the exam, I have closely read 60-75% of my anthropology readings in their entirety - with my notes and thoughts scattered all over the readings. What I do about two nights or a week - if I’m lucky - before the exam is type summaries of all the readings. And then I’m done. For Anthro, I am constantly engaged and always grinding. It’s the love of my life. I can’t afford for us to drift apart.


How did you find such a passion for what you study?

Associate Professor Susan Levine and her Medical Anthropology course. It is after meeting her, being in her class, growing closer to my classmates - Tristan, Daniela, Bex, and Jade - and closer to my department that I fell HARD for this discipline. Also, the course was THE BEST. The readings and the lectures and my tutorials and everything? Let’s just say I felt very alone and lost last year and Anthro guided me home.

Who inspires you?

My entire Anthropology department. Literally, all of them. Outside the department: Zethu Matebeni, Ruchi Chaturvedi, and Amrita Pande. Wow academics of colour are FIRE. Artistically: Cass Bird and that Annie Liebovitz Masterclass Advert always gets me going. My friends, especially Lesego Mahape a former tutor of mine and Nico, my French brother. You know who inspires me most though? Myself. I often have conversations with myself that go like,


 me: Hey Siv

 me: Yeah Siv?

 me: Did you ever think we’d get here?

 me: No… not really. Not this fast anyways.

 me: Me either.


Why would you recommend getting more involved in academics at UCT?

If you love something - run after it. Love is a journey; so let it carry you home.