BA Student Aimed Really High … and Got There!
Ms Monique Schoeman set herself the challenge of getting her BA degree summa cum laude and did just that.
Recalling her goals from first year, Schoeman said: ‘To complete my BA degree in Drama and Psychology summa cum laude was one of my goals. It was a challenge I set for myself.
‘At times I thought I might not achieve it but now I can say that it feels wonderful and surreal. I think what really matters is that I’ve grown. I am positively different compared to the person I was when I first started studying towards my BA here at UKZN.’
Highlights of her undergraduate years at UKZN included participating in a volunteer programme open to third year Psychology students at Fort Napier Hospital. ‘Under the supervision of a psychologist, we had to work as a team to facilitate various diversional therapy group activities. Not only did this experience open my eyes to a different form of therapy, it was humbling, and made me realise the immense joy that communication, performing a task and sharing can bring to people.’
Another highlight for Schoeman was being cast to perform in two productions at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown. ‘We were honoured to represent UKZN in the student festival. Apart from performing, we got to see various genres of theatre and what kind of topics/issues were being addressed in our country (and how this was done) through the medium of art.’
Schoeman was also awarded an entrant scholarship based on her matric results. The scholarship contributed a large amount towards her tuition fees. ‘UKZN continued to renew the scholarship every year, provided that I maintained my academic standard. The institution has really given me the opportunity to pursue my dreams.
‘One of the biggest challenges I faced was learning how to be productive even in stressful, highly-pressured situations. I sometimes felt overwhelmed and just didn’t know where to begin with the work. But somehow, life goes on and it has a way of forcing you to start somewhere and to try your best to keep up,’ she said.
Expressing gratitude to her support team, Schoeman said: ‘My mom and dad are my strength - my constant pillars of support. They were there for me in every way imaginable. My grandmother is also a constant source of love and support, which enabled me to aspire to do my best in my undergraduate studies.
‘My close friends were understanding of the sacrifices I had to make for my academic career, and were always there for me to lean on. They have been loyal to me through the hard and the good times, and they always know how to make me smile.’
Presently busy with a BA Honours degree in Psychology, she hopes to continue to complete a master’s degree.