“I would definitely not be where I am today if it wasn’t for the support I received during my degree studies.”
As an undergraduate student, I found Stellenbosch University to be a very inclusive environment. I had a positive and enriching experience as a student – I studied law (undergraduate), and more recently completed a postgraduate diploma in applied ethics.
I think my experience at SU helped to shape me to become the person that I am today. I have endured hardships, which posed multiple challenges but, in the end, it taught me to persevere – a trait I hold dearly. In addition, Stellenbosch University provided me an opportunity to grow and develop. During my student days I was a mentor as well as a research assistant. The latter ultimately led me to my current profession in Research Management.
Since I completed my studies, I have been working in higher education as an Ethicist and Research Manager/Specialist. I am currently an accredited Research Management Professional (RMP) recognised by the International Professional Recognition Council (IPRC) – one of the first three RMPs in South Africa and Africa. I also serve on the IPRC’s sub-committee to advocate for RMPs. I have also established myself in the field of Research Management to the extent that I serve on a number of national, SADC (regional) and international committees and associations.
Bursary funding changed my world – really! Without the financial support of bursaries and other financial aid mechanisms at Stellenbosch University, I would most certainly not have been where I am today. As a student, it taught me to be responsible – as I knew I had to pass to maintain the bursary. It provided me with peace of mind to know that my student account is taken care of and that I can focus on my studies. Bursary funding enabled me to study at one of the top universities in Africa – and for that, I will forever be grateful. Because of the support of dedicated bursary donors, I have become a productive member of society.
I worked as a student and had to balance “work life” and studies. This was very challenging for me. I did not have any support from my family. In fact, my mother passed away when I was very young (10 years old) and my father passed away in my final year at university. The fear of the unknown was real – fear of whether I would have enough money for food and rent was always at the back of my mind. While it was very challenging to be a student and to balance all the responsibilities, the university environment and support that I have received from administrators, lecturers and friends made it bearable. It was very difficult times, but I would not change it for the world.
I am a proud alumnus of Stellenbosch University because of the opportunities that I have had. I am grateful to SU for my first degree and my first job! These milestones mean the world to me. I will always be a Matie at heart.