During the university holidays Axium has the pleasure of welcoming back many of our Alumni who are studying at many of South Africa’s leading universities. Zodwa Nho – proud Zithulelean, university student & future social worker – is one of these Alumni. She is currently in her first year at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth and has made us proud with achieving multiple distinctions in her first semester. Careers Coordinator, Thuli Nodada, caught up with Zodwa during her visit…
What was the biggest contrast for you moving from a rural area to a city?
Port Elizabeth was such a big city for me. Sometimes I got lost even on university campus. I got used to it after we had a city bus tour; we visited Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Boardwalk, the beach and many other important places.
What has been your favourite part of being at University?
My favourite part about being at university is that I am the first person in my family to go to university. My family is proud of me and they are hoping that in the next six years I will uplift their standard of living, and I will, as I now have potential to do so.
There must be many challenges you have experienced and are still going through. How do you face challenges / how do you overcome them?
There are many challenges I have experienced and still go through. I overcame some of these challenges by asking God to give me the strength to face them because challenges are a part of life. ‘Life without challenges is like tea without sugar.’ We learn from our experiences. The more you have challenges the more you get stronger.
Sometimes I face the challenges of a heavy workload. I try, by all means, to overcome them by staying longer at the computer labs, completing my assignments and checking the online resources. It all helps. With God everything is possible. Being a part of Axium has helped me figure out the rest.
You are certainly an inspiration to many young high school girls. What advice would you specifically give these female learners?
I would tell them that success is not always what they see. Being in the rural area and having poor family does not prevent you from reaching your destination. Let your performance fight for you. ‘Chin up, chest out, you were born to win.’
They have to sacrifice. It is not easy. All they need to do is work hard, and know that there is no elevator to success; they have to take stairs. ‘Women are like tea bags, they only know their strength when they are put in hot water.’
If you could say something to yourself as a 13 year old child, what would it be?
I would tell myself to start working hard as early as 13 years old. I would tell myself that I am a gift brought into this world. I would ensure that I nurture it to bear fruit, so that I can make the world a better place for everyone.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
In the next 5 years I see myself as a professional that utilizes certain values, knowledge, skills and processes to focus on the needs, issues and problems that arise from the interaction between individuals, family, groups, organizations and communities.
I see myself working here at Zithulele to improve the social functioning of the people here. To promote them and to improve the mutual beneficial interaction between individuals in this society, resulting in quality life for everyone.
Your learning experience at school and university must be very different. How have they contrasted?
At school I used to submit handwritten assessments but at university I have to type on the computer and print them out so that I can submit a hardcopy to my lecturers. At school I did not have the pressure of due dates; if I didn’t submit my assessment on time I could still submit it later. At varsity I will be awarded a zero, or there might be deductions depending on the date of your submission.
I tried to write special notices about the due dates of my assignments and paste them on my noticeboard so that I can see them every morning when I wake up, to remind myself and to memorize the dates.
What has been your biggest challenge in your studies?
The biggest challenge in my studies was the language. I was not aware that I would be lectured in English. Sometimes I would leave the lecture hall without even understanding a single word! This was only for the first two weeks and I got used to it. I have also learned new words that have increased my vocabulary.
How do you think Axium could better prepare rural learners?
I think it would be great if Axium Education could better prepare rural learners for university by having some sort of univeristy orientation. Axium can tell learners about some of the changes that they are going to face; by making them aware of appliances and equipment that we are not familiar with such as washing machines, showers and computers. The transition from rural areas to the city is more challenging than the school learners realise.
How do you think rural learners could better prepare themselves for university life?
Rural learners should practice speaking English so that they can better understand it. They should familiarize themselves with computers. The most important part is to work hard.
‘Ability is what makes you capable of doing, motivation determines what you do and attitude determines how well you do it.’
Here are some more of Zodwa’s favourite quotes…
‘The struggle I am in today develops the strength I need for tomorrow.’
‘It always seems impossible until it’s done.’ – Nelson Mandela
‘For I know the plans I have for you declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.’ – Jeremiah 29:11