Nomasonto Masanga is studying medicine

28th January 2021


Nomasonto Masanga is studying medicine at Stellenbosch University. She attended Dlangezwa High School in KwaZulu-Natal.

Excellence is the quality of being great, outstanding or extremely good. So before being extremely good there’s a lot of time to be invested, lots of energy, concentration and optimism. You cannot excel without sweating. I think excellence is what makes an achiever. Great achievement requires great sacrifice, so achivers are those people who have made themselves excel by sacrificing their time and focused on the goal aimed. They have put in great effort, determination and yes, finally grabbed the goal with both hands. That is what makes an achiever.

Tell us a bit about your school.

I am currently studying at Stellenbosch University in the Western Cape Province. I am based at the Medicine and Health Science Faculty, which is on the Tygerberg Campus and I am studying for my Medicine Degree, MBChB. I loved the idea of studying there and promised myself to work hard so that I could meet all the requirements for entrance to the varsity.

Why do you think some people have a problem with maths and science? What would you do to solve the problem?

Some people think that these subjects are difficult and there is nothing they can do about that. They just sit and expect everything to go as they wish, and others try but do not put all in all the effort they have toward these subjects. To solve the problem, I would at least try to change the mindset of learners. Tell learners that these subjects are quite interesting and nice, but bear in mind they need a lot of attention. Try not to let a day pass without doing at least 2-3 problems in maths, and same for science. After that you will just fall in love with it and the following thing you will be enjoying studying these. That is what I can promise you, it worked for me.

Why did you enjoy science and maths?

I was interested in it and loved the subjects. The more interested I became, the more hours I spent doing the sums - which would crack my head sometimes, but would not give up. If I saw that the challenge was too much I would ask my teacher to help explain every single thing about the problem, so if I came across the same problem I could do it without thinking twice. Being challenged is nice and yet not everyone likes challenges, but these subjects are not only about the skills we need for our professions, they also give perspective on challenges that we will face in life. We need to conquer them so that we can go through to the next chapter. Failing to conquer will only mean to be in same place time again and again. The most important thing is to conquer the challenges, then everything else falls into place.

What inspires you?

My inspiration is seeing in my mind the big picture of becoming a doctor. This is the goal that I have and that I need to achieve. My background does not define me, however poor or bad it is, I will change that. I owe myself a way better life. I also owe this to my parents and the people who have been in my life, helping me out financially, psychologically and mentally in times of breakdown. And the background may be good, but still life is very unpredictable. Within the blink of an eye you can wake up with nothing in the morning, but you can still hold on to your education since no one can take it away from you.

Why did you choose the course you are studying?

I never thought about what course to do after matric. I was very young, maybe at the age of 4 when I said I wanted to be a doctor. I did not know even the meaning of it! Since then I have never changed my mind. I promised myself to work hard to make this dream of a toddler girl come true. As I grew up, my love for medicine grew as well and I knew that I am not making a mistake choosing it. Doing maths and science had an impact on choosing a career. I did not do well in these subjects at first, but then later I put more effort into it and did well.

A message to South African youth

Aiming high is the only way to the top. Have goals and know how you are going to reach them. People say if you can dream it you can get it, and the same applies to goals: aim for it and you can get it. On the way to the top there are challenges, but they should not stop you from reaching your goals. This is your fight and it is worth your effort and energy.

Any tips for learners in Grades 11 and 12

Be a master of your time. Studying and learning should not begin and end in the classroom. Never go to bed without giving yourself time to practice or recap what you have been exposed to while in class - I mean new content, always. That allows you to identify weaknesses and areas that need special attention. I am not saying individualise your studying, but being alone sometimes can help you measure your capability or understanding towards the subject in hand before being absorbed in a group.

What advice do you have for matriculants who have to apply for places in higher education institutions?

Everyone has the right to pursue his or her career of choice in higher education institutions within South Africa, Africa and abroad, but the bottom line is your marks or performance. You still have time to turn things around and make your dream a reality. Believe in yourself whilst investing more of your time in your schoolwork. The more time you invest in your schoolwork, the more you improve your marks and meet the requirements. Furthermore, do not go to a higher education institution for the sake of being there, seek proper career guidance, have enough information about your field of choice, know your strengths and weakness, as that would help you to align yourself with the field of choice.

Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?

I see myself having the life I have dreamt of, and with God I believe everything will go well. I will be making progress in my career, becoming a specialist in gynaecology or neurology. I am a dreamer and I want to at least invest in other businesses, since a single salary does not really sustain one’s life.

Understanding excellence – what makes an achiever?

Excellence is the quality of being great, outstanding or extremely good. So before being extremely good there’s a lot of time to be invested, lots of energy, concentration and optimism. You cannot excel without sweating. I think excellence is what makes an achiever. Great achievement requires great sacrifice, so achivers are those people who have made themselves excel by sacrificing their time and focused on the goal aimed. They have put in great effort, determination and yes, finally grabbed the goal with both hands. That is what makes an achiever.