Avikar Maharaj (24) is absolutely elated and deeply honoured to have obtained the Dean’s Merit Award in his Bachelor of Engineering Technology in Civil Engineering qualification within the stipulated minimum time period which has been a goal of his and it has been incredibly rewarding.
“The name, Avikar has sanskrit origins and translates to flawless or faultless. My parents gifting me with this name definitely set an incredibly high standard that I hold myself to everyday,” he conveyed.
Maharaj will be graduating at the Durban University of Technology’s (DUT’s) Virtual Autumn Graduation ceremony on Friday, 13 May 2022.
“Obtaining a Civil Engineering degree to my name is a reward in itself. The journey was amazing with beautiful ups and devastating downs. Studying for hours on end and missing out on family gatherings and social events have been tough but in the end I found it to be worth it as I have now completed my initial qualification which will set me on a path towards achieving other goals like securing employment in the field that I am so passionate about. This recognition is not taken lightly, and I am grateful to be a recipient. I look forward to represent as a DUT Alumni,” he said elatedly.
Maharaj said his mum hugged him and cried tears of joy and his sister was just as elated.
“Celebrations are now in order. I look forward to receiving the actual award at the physical graduation ceremony in July and holding my degree in my hands. I think at that point it will become a little more real. Right now, it still feels like I have a lot of studying to do because I am busy with the Civil Engineering Honours programme and would just like to keep the studying momentum going,” he added. For Maharaj, his passion for civil engineering started at an extremely young age, his adolescence was fortunately rife with exposure and practical first-hand observation and experiences as he was brought up in a family of professionals in the construction industry.
“My dad was a qualified structural and civil engineer and CEO of his own practice. I maintain this as a goal-to one day lead a practice as well. My father often said that he enjoys his work so much that he does not feel like he actual works,” he explained. However, as a student he did face some challenges which was heavily influenced by the pandemic, civil unrest, and load-shedding. This resulted in extensions and adjustments to the study timetable, which was disruptive and stressful but he was fortunate enough to have a dedicated study space, a stable Wi-Fi connection and appropriate devices to enable online studying.
“Adjusting to online learning and assessments was facilitated by the fact that I had attended my first year at campus. This gave me exposure and insight into the course and how to navigate studying the content as opposed to the new first year students entering university ‘online’ from the get-go. I found that as my second year progressed DUT adapted their study material and methods of presenting, which I appreciate, and I was always able to contact most of my lectures which made the adjustment easier,” he replied. His personal challenges included losing his father at the start of his second year. “It was one of my dad’s dreams to see me qualify as a civil engineer, so it was definitely a motivating factor and almost comforting in a way. It is very much bitter sweet. I dedicate the Dean’s Merit Award to my father, the late Mr Rikesh Maharaj, CEO of Sharman Consulting Engineers,” he said.
Maharaj is currently enrolled in the civil engineering Honours programme offered by DUT, specialising in Urban Engineering. Once he completes his honours it is his intention to secure employment at a reputable civil engineering company or enter into a graduate programme where he will be able to gain experience within the industry and do some practical work before commencing a Master’s degree in Civil Engineering, at some point in the future.
“I hope to leave a legacy behind in terms of designing structures and implementing various engineering solutions that will enable and uplift the communities around me. I intend to benefit future generations through the work that I will pursue. I would also like to engage in educating youth in the civil engineering discipline. I hope to become a distinguished member of the industry and add value to my fellow citizens,” he stressed.
His advice to first year students who want to embark in the same field is to achieve the results one desires is by consistently working hard and maintaining a high level of discipline.
Pictured: Avikar Maharaj