Mr Lungelo Khumalo, BSc Pharmacy Cum Laude (2020)
I am Lungelo Khumalo, 23, from Mandeni in KwaZulu-Natal. I went to Mathusizwe high school, a local non-fee high school in my area.
In 2017, I started studying for my B Pharm degree at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. I was funded by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) for one year, and then the following year, I received an Umthombo bursary. The bursary paid for my studies until I completed my degree in 2020. In addition, Umthombo was kind enough to provide me with a mentor, with whom I met monthly and had a very active relationship.
A word to people who are about to embark on the journey I've just successfully completed: first, I think it's very important to be self-aware. What are your academic goals? For me, I think it all starts there – your personal belief about your academic abilities. When I would write down my target percentages for each module with my mentor, I'd never write anything less than 90%. This helped my mindset change, as I was continually aiming high. Our expectations affect our attitude, behaviour, and ultimately our performance.
Secondly, you have got to know the reason why! You have to have something that motivates you to maintain a positive attitude, even when things get tough. For me, it's my family, my younger brothers. Yes, I had to name them separately! You'll always find their pictures in my space. That's how I keep my sanity.
Lastly, you've got to have something you believe in! You have got to turn somewhere when it gets hard! I personally believe in God. When it gets tough, I pray.
They say we should choose our friends carefully so as not to be negatively influenced by them. But is that really possible? I say we should learn to be dominant over bad influences, dominant over distractions. Work so hard on yourself so that the environment doesn't determine your productivity and success.
I place on record my thanks and appreciation to the Umthombo Youth Development Foundation for having funded and supported me throughout my studies. Thank you, and God bless.