Graduating Summa Cum Laude amid Challenging Circumstances
Ms Jennifer Sheokarah is a first generation university student, the first child in her family to obtain a degree.
Being awarded her Bachelor of Education degree summa cum laude is a great achievement which has made her parents very proud.
Teaching has always been her passion and her mother still reminisces about her Grade 1 year when young Sheokarah first declared her intention to become a teacher!
Her father has also been her motivator through his constant commendation, general hard work and devotion to the needs of his children.
Although she was an outstanding achiever, Sheokarah did not receive a bursary which motivated her to dedicate herself entirely to her career, with the goal of reducing the financial strain on her parents.
Her persistence and single-minded will to succeed resulted in her achieving an aggregate of over 80%, and 14 certificates of merit in the Bachelor of Education programme.
She received a merit scholarship for consistent academic excellence, and this partly alleviated the financial strain. In addition, she worked as a demonstrator in the Biology practical sessions and served as a tutor in English, to help cover her tuition fees.
An exemplary academic record has earned her a scholarship to pursue an Honours degree in Language and Media studies. She plans to complete her master’s and PhD degrees before starting a career in academia.
Sheokarah is truly integrated into university life. She stays in a residence, and strives to maintain a balance between academic and social activities. She believes that by living on the campus, she has been able to become more independent and responsible.
She has been exposed to numerous community development programmes which have groomed her into a more appreciative and compassionate individual.
Her message to her fellow students is to view challenges as opportunities to develop in different ways. She believes that students should find enabling spaces and transcend barriers by working hard.
‘With hardship comes a remarkable experience. With remarkable experience comes a bright future. I live by the motto: “Don’t passively follow your dreams. Chase after them!”’
Melissa Mungroo and Ronicka Mudaly