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Student Views

This page is devoted to student news and their views of experiences at UCT and beyond.

THABANG MOLAPO

Hi there,

I hope all is well with you.

My name is Thabang Molapo, a UCT - Commerce EDU graduate, currently serving my 2nd year Audit articles with the Office of the Auditor General in the Western Cape (AGSA).

In a few weeks I'll be jetting off to Pretoria to celebrate my accomplishment of coming out in the Top 5 for my SAIGA final qualifying "professional" board exams. I can only imagine the expression of bewilderment on your face. SAIGA is the premium leading professional body for accountants/auditors in the public sector.

In 2015 I was amongst the select few students that had the opportunity to pursue their post graduate studies in Public Sector Accounting. This opportunity was well aligned with my long term goals of driving public sector efficiencies and hopefully having an impact on our nation's education offering. But this is not why I write.

I write to you ahead of the academic year, a season of many tests and exams. I write to encourage you, and to share with you some of the lessons I've learned that continue to drive me every day.

1. The 5Ps of success - this concept has become all the more relevant in my life every day, that Prior Preparation Prevents Poor Performance. Today, this entails: weekly meal preps, ironing work clothes the night before to save some morning time, planning & understanding what item I'm dealing with and how I'll go about auditing it. So, how can you prepare ahead? What are those small steps that you can do now that will aid you in the end? Think. Do.

2. Be clear - you cannot work towards what you don’t know. Have targets. What do you want to achieve? Be SMART : Specific about the result, ensure you can Measure your success, be honest with yourself and ensure that your goals are Achievable and Realistic within the given Timelines.

3. Monitor - it is good and all to have a plan, but it's much more important to monitor progress. Again, have honest, authentic conversation with yourself. What are you getting right & wrong? Reflect. Use this information to adjust plans and behaviour.

4. Do! - it is really about applying yourself consistently. Consistency is EVERYTHING. Excellence is a number of small acts done regularly. Ah, there's that concept again, consistency.

One of my favourite quotes says, “those who stand for nothing fall for anything". If the commitment is strong enough, you will stand, and when you have stood, you'll keep standing strong.

5. But above all, I encourage you to make best of your varsity career. Learn, learn, learn. Travel. Make friends outside your areas of comfort. Participate. Deal with conflict. Build relationships. Form and evaluate your opinions. Create a Linkedin profile. Be informed.

I wish you all of the best with the year and I hope to run into you in the corporate corridors, or in the traffic on the N1 (hoot at me will ya)

Yours,

Thabang

 

LUCAS MTHEMBU

The transition from high school to university is not easy, however it is exquisite and challenging. As a person who isolates himself, I had to adapt to this new environment and exposure. In this instance, DOH1002F [Language in the Humanities] enlightened me about certain issues such as gender representations, subliminal texts and images in adverts and being conscious about race. In addition, accumulating knowledge about academic writing was exceptional as one now possesses skills that facilitate the writing of academic arguments. Certainly, I have had a great experience even though I have faced challenges. Our lecturer was supportive, determinant and accountable. For this reason, I have matured into an accountable, passionate and goal driven individual.

The balance between academic and personal life is of utmost importance. Certainly, one’s personal issues affect their studies in variety of ways. In this case, peer pressure and isolation became a contradiction. Thus, integrity played a critical role to one’s good and ‘expected’ behavior. For a student who did not have residence in the first two weeks of opening of the university, I became patient as I persevered under difficult circumstances and living with strangers. I learnt that ignorance does not only hamper performance but it also creates unnecessary barriers. For this reason, I ensured that I wrote essays and assignments to my fullest ability and submit on time. As a humanities student, I then became conscious in the first semester that knowledge goes hand in hand with effective communication by the assistance of lecturers, tutors and mentors, as it result with essential understanding of the course work and other important issues that students confront.

The orientation week was a marvelous experience in juxtaposition to the residence complication. One then unfortunately missed a part of the O-week due to these circumstances. As I met the members of my group, I knew I had to speak English well and ‘fluently’, which is exotic to me. Furthermore, as we read Makubalo (2009) and Ngugi (1986) in the first classes of the DOH1002F, I acknowledged that I had to be unique in contrast to speaking English fluently to satisfy certain stereotypes, or in a inauthentic way. Insecurities and stereotypes therefore create an imitative culture. This year has been immensely great, I have matured into a constitutive and accountable young man. Studying for a social science degree is an optimum decision I took. As my energy goes to performing my responsibilities as a student, my focus circulates into understanding my course work.