National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF)

Doreen Davies

Doreen is from North West Province and is currently studying towards a degree in multimedia at the University of Pretoria.

“Never undersell yourself, but don’t be overconfident. Apply to as many institutes as you can. Always have a backup plan. And don’t limit yourself to one future.”

Tell us a bit about your school.

My school, Hoërskool Rustenburg, is a fairly large school with about 1500 pupils situated in an urban area. I think the special part about my school was that the teachers were very involved and caring. We also had loads of activities to participate in and school spirit was always high.

Did you encounter any challenges at school that made it difficult for you to achieve good marks in maths and science?

Coming from a very strong support group of family, teachers and friends, I didn’t really encounter large challenges, besides the odd late assignment or forgotten class test.

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 model?

My parents both have interests in science, my mother in biology and my father in IT. So I was exposed to science from early beginnings. I was fascinated in nature, astrology, micro-biology, paleontology and loads more. Our school introduced an “Academic tour” where the top students were invited to travel to different places for about 5 days. Here we went to places like SALT (South African Large Telescope), various botanical gardens and conservation projects. We got to see a lot of science in action and it really got me hooked.

What/who inspires you?

My inspiration comes from all around. People who pursue their dreams no matter what comes their way are my biggest rolemodels. Scientists, musicians, artists, programmers. Their ambition and perseverance is a big inspiration.

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

My advice would be to never undersell yourself, but don’t be overconfident. Apply to as many institutes as you can. Always have a backup plan. And don’t limit yourself to one future.

Why did you choose the course you are studying now?

I love computers and programming, but art is a major part in my life. Without art I’m sure I’d never survive. So Multimedia, I think, is a perfect balance between that. I was studying Computer Engineering, but the lack of creativity scared me off (not to mention the difficulty of the course). Multimedia is something I believe I can do well, but also something that I will love doing.

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

In five years I hope that I am somewhere I never thought I’d be. I hope that life takes me on an adventure and that I look back and think: “How on earth did I get here?” And if that doesn’t happen, then I just want to be happy with what I’ve done in five years.

Anything else you would like to share that would be helpful to learners in Grades 11 and 12?

Don’t think that because you’re doing extremely well in a specific field that you should pursue that career. Also don’t think that because you’re NOT doing extremely well in something that you can’t pursue it. You should do what you love doing. Even if it is against what everyone is telling you what to do, you should (I know it’s very cliché) follow your heart, because it knows what’s best for you.

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