In 2019 when Prinolan Naidoo enrolled at the Durban University of Technology (DUT) to study for a Bachelor of Engineering Technology degree (BET) in Mechanical Engineering, he has never looked back.
In the beginning, like for any first year student, the 21-year-old Naicker from Chatsworth was finding his way through campus.
“The first day of registration was exciting, to say the least. Upon registration, everything started falling into place eventually,” he said.
He was among the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment graduates who received Cum Laude at the DUT Celebratory Autumn Graduation ceremony held at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Durban International Convention Centre (ICC) on Tuesday, 12 July 2022.
“To graduate Cum Laude is a huge honour and a massive personal achievement. Hard work, prayer, and the support of family is what got me here. My family was ecstatic as we have just come out of a very difficult time of the floods, where my parents were not well. This news has brightened up the home in many ways,” he said ecstatically.
For Naidoo, having his dad as his inspiration, who also works with engineering matters daily, inspired him while growing up. He further added that he is glad to have set the bar high for his little sister who also aspires to do well in her studies.
Also, studying at DUT was the right choice for him, despite being accepted into many other universities to study other branches of engineering.
“Many family members and friends chose DUT because of its reputation. I have acquired the necessary skills to become an engineer which will hold me in good stead. Right from the first year to my final project in 2021, I have acquired so much knowledge and expertise that one day I will be able to put to use, once employed,” he stressed.
He further said that the journey during his studies turned out very different from what he had expected, as life threw him a new curve ball with each passing year.
“There was always the challenge of load shedding that interfered with on-campus lectures as well as studies, apart from the many other unforeseen circumstances that became an eye-opener of what campus life was going to be like. Then there was COVID-19, the pandemic that altered everything in a blink of an eye. Online classes became a new norm for the better part of my studies, something no one was prepared for, especially with a practical course like engineering. This is where learning to adapt was important, as it called for a lot of personal sacrifice and effort,” he added.
Naidoo relayed that he must have burnt many gallons of the proverbial ‘midnight oil’, to ensure that his results were good which inevitably eased the financial costs of this course in the form of achieving scholarships from DUT.
“During the first year when I did attend classes, I learned a lot from my dedicated lecturers and tutors. I gained both theoretical and practical know-how which laid the foundation for the course – something that DUT is renowned for throughout the country. It is a surprise. I did not expect this special achievement to say the least,” he said.
He also advises first-year students to have a balanced outlook on life.
“One needs to set goals, focus on these goals and manage time effectively. Having this balance would fundamentally help you manage stress levels and perform at your best,” said Naidoo.
Pictured: Prinolan Naidoo.