National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF)

Gayathri Suresh

Gayathri is from the Eastern Cape and is studying medicine at the University of Cape Town

“I have always been fascinated by physical science because my parents are science teachers and I really look up to them.”

Tell us a bit about your school.

There are approximately 500 students enrolled at Umtata High School. My school has been one of the best-performing schools in the Umtata district and continues to produce good quality results. The school is situated in a rural area, however, the staff and the SGB always put in their best efforts to overcome the challenges we face living in a rural area.

When/how did you realise you enjoyed science and mathematics more than your other school subjects?

I have always been fascinated by Physical Science because my parents arescience teachers and I really look up to them. Mathematics, on the other hand, was one of my weak subjects until I reached Grade 8. My Mathematics teacher, DrAlex, encouraged me to practise more sums and she made the subject seem a lot more fun. During my FET phase, I was taught by MsVenter and MsTrow, who both made difficult topics look a lot easier. Mathematics had soon become one of my favourite subjects.

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

We had no challenges because our teachers were very supportive and provided us with as much study material as they could.

What/who inspires you?

My parents and my teachers were my biggest inspiration. I had always admired the way they worked so hard to witness the success of their students.

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

I would advise them to work towards their goal as early as possible. They should have their targets set before they reach Grade 10 so that they can choose the appropriate subjects for their career choice. Also, it is important to understand that Grade 11 is just as important as matric and that all it takes to succeed is hard work.

Why did you choose to study medicine?

I really enjoyed Life Sciences at school and I also knew that there was a shortage of doctors in the area I come from.

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

In five years, I will most likely graduate from UCT and begin my internship.

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

Focus more on Mathematics and Physical Sciences. Make use of your time to practise topics which you are weak at. Try to get hold of as much practice material as you can and make sure that you go over past papers once you have studied a topic (not the day before you write your exam/test). Holidays are not just meant for resting! Keep revising what you learned during the previous term. Be confident when you enter the exam room and make sure that you have had enough sleep the night before.

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