Sithembile Nxumalo, an Environmental Health student: Bachelor of Health Sciences, will be awarded with Cum Laude and a Dean’s Merit Award, at the Durban University of Technology (DUT) Celebratory Autumn Graduation Ceremony to be held at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre (ICC), on Wednesday, 20 July 2022.
The modest Nxumalo believes being awarded a Cum Laude and the Dean’s Merit award makes her no better than other graduates but it adds more merit to her name, as it shows her good work ethics and dedication to prospective employers.
The delighted Nxumalo furthered explained that the Dean’s Merits Award was such a great honour and shows that regardless of how long, hard and challenging her four years’ period of study was, it was acknowledged and rewarded with these prestigious awards.
Growing up she was always compassionated and eager to help the public. However, she specifically wanted a career under health and she went as far as researching about her choice of study Environmental Health and she knew right there and then that was her course to pursue.
“Of course it was my choice of study, all the time I was growing up I’ve always had compassion and this urge of helping the public. Hence, I wanted any career under health but when I heard and researched about Environmental Health, how it is concerned with public health and primary prevention I knew right there that this was the course for me,” she said.
Even though there are still restrictions pertaining the COVID-19 and a limited number of guests allowed to attend the Autumn Graduation ceremony, she expressed that she is honoured that at least her parent and husband will be able to attend the graduation ceremony and celebrate her greatest achievement with her.
One of the challenges for Nxumalo, was that she had to juggle between being a student, a wife and a mother.
“I had to balance everything and still give more time to my studies in order to achieve excellent results. My second and biggest challenge was COVID-19 which introduced online learning, this as a result deprived us of the practical aspect of this course, and there was more of theory instead. To overcome these challenges for me it took God’s grace, secondly having a very strong support system and pillar which is my husband,” explained Nxumalo.
Nxumalo plans to pursue her Master’s degree, with the hope of reaching to the PhD level in the future.
One of her major goals moving forward is to gain new skills to enhance her knowledge in her career path such as acquiring the necessary certificates that qualifies her to become an expert in the field. She added that Environmental Health is a very diverse field and her major interest is in Occupational Health and Safety (OHS).
Nxumalo’s advice to first year students at DUT is to set goals for themselves and persistently work towards achieving those goals, also be disciplined and stay motivated.
“Secondly, know exactly what you want. I always had an A+ mentality, and never have a mindset of aiming at only for 50% which is a pass mark. Ensure you are time bound when it comes to implementing tasks and assessments. Lastly, know that it is your responsibility to accomplish the goals that you have set for yourself, so never wait for a push from anyone, this is university so no one will spoon feed you,” concluded Nxumalo.
Pictured: Sithembile Nxumalo