National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF)

Malan Bosman

Malan is from the Free State and is studying BEng (Industrial Engineering) at the Stellenbosch University.


 Being at school, I wanted to be involved in almost everything.  This often kept me very busy, and at times it was rather difficult to spend the time I wanted on science and mathematics.   Prioritising was therefore extremely important.


Tell us a bit about your school: how many pupils are enrolled there, what is special about it, is it in a rural or urban area, etc.

I come from Grey College Secondary, in the heart of Bloemfontein, in the heart of the Free State. It’s a parallel-medium all-boys school, was founded in 1855 and has a rich history and proud and has produced many great names in the past, and present. More or less 1200 boys attend Grey College.

What were the biggest challenges you encountered at school that made it difficult for you to excel in maths and science? What did you do to overcome these challenges?

Being at school, I wanted to be involved in almost everything. This often kept me very busy, and at times it was rather difficult to spend the time I wanted on science and mathematics. Prioritising was therefore extremely important.

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

Whenever you have to make decisions about where to apply or what to apply for, make sure that you have done your homework on what exactly you are applying for. Do not just look at the near future, but take everything in consideration. Also, when you are in doubt about whether or not you should apply for something, rather do it than not. Opportunities may come from somewhere unexpected, and you don’t want to miss out, just because of the effort it takes to apply.

Where do you see yourself five years from now, in terms of your studies/career?

In just over three years’ time, I will, God willingly, be done with my undergraduate studies at Stellenbosch University. Thereafter, I am hoping to get the opportunity to do my master’s degree, although I am not sure in which specific direction. So, five years from now, I will either be a postgraduate student, or be starting off my career, ready to take on the massive world of engineering.

When/how did you realise you enjoyed science and mathematics more than your other school subjects? Did anyone play an important part in this, such as a teacher, parent or other role models?

I am one of those privileged people with a mathematics teacher as a mother. From a young age, she educated me especially in maths and my parents gave me many opportunities in the fields of science and mathematics. These are the subjects that make the most sense to me and love the fact that everything can be proven and there is always a right and a wrong. It is also a God-given talent of mine, so I have and will always work hard to excel in these great subjects.

What/who inspires you?

People with a selfless attitude, and putting the needs of others above their own, inspire me. It is also an inspiration to me to know that I am blessed with opportunities that many others want, but may not be able to have. Therefore, I am inspired to work hard and not let it go to waste.

Why did you choose the course you are studying now?

Because of my wide range of interest, it was a very challenging decision to make. Eventually, I took into consideration which subjects I was most interested in at school, which is mathematics and science (and even German). These lined up well for engineering.

Any other stories/tips/ideas/advice you would like to share that would be helpful to learners in Grades 11 and 12?

Always have the mind-set of one that still has a lot to learn. Whether you are excelling in your academics or not, be thirsty for knowledge and be teachable. Keeping that in mind, do not be too easily influenced by others. By this I mean that you are unique; what works for another does not necessarily work for you, and vice versa. Find out what works for you, and get to know yourself well. Above all, always keep in mind that your true strength comes from your God.

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