National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF)

Adriana Dodkins (studying Veterinary Sciences)

Adriana Dodkins is from North West. She is studying Veterinary Sciences at the University of Pretoria.

“It is amazing to see how much of our daily life can actually be put into equations, for example, sport or music”

Tell us a bit about your school.

Adriana spent her high school at Bergsig Akademie, a parallel medium high school. “I had great teachers who loved their subjects and passed that love on to us. I was always a bit of an outsider because I enjoyed my subjects and wanted to work hard in them… Bergsig Akademie inspired me to reach for my goals and gave me the opportunity to participate in a wide range of activities of which I enjoyed tennis and athletics the most.”

Why did you enjoy science and mathematics?

When Adriana and her brother were little, before starting school, their mother gave them maths problems to solve to keep them busy. “The love for maths grew from there. During school, science and maths were the most interesting subjects in my opinion because each theory can be tested. It is amazing to see how much of our daily life can actually be put into equations, for example, sport or music.”

Any advice on managing school?

Each person is talented in their own way. Some can sing beautifully and others are very athletic. In the same way, some people are naturally good at maths and science and some are not. Those who find it difficult have to spend more time and effort practising the work and not just memorising it. Unfortunately, there is a poor work ethic among the majority of scholars and very few will practice on their own. I think that implementing periods where students practice examples on their own in class under supervision might help.

Any tips for learners in Grades 11 and 12?

Adriana says your attitude towards studying plays a crucial role. “If you are negative towards a subject, you will not enjoy it and you will struggle with it. The mind is a powerful thing and finding certain things you enjoy in a subject that you find difficult can make all the difference. This will not only make your work easier, it will also make school more enjoyable.” She also says that learners need to start from the beginning. “Each subject builds up from the first time you take that subject. If you have missed something in Grade 10, one of your foundational bricks is missing and grade 12 will be harder.”

Who inspires you?

“I’m inspired by my parents and by the world around me. Each day something new is discovered or made and I am amazed by it. My parents inspire me through showing that hard work gets results. They also taught me that you never have to compromise on your morals to get anything from life.”

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

Adriana says it’s a good idea to look course requirements at the different institutions while still in grade 9. “This will not just make your subject choices easier, but it will also motivate you to work hard. One important thing to note is that, for most courses at university, science and mathematics is a requirement and most bursaries also go out to students that have performed well in these subjects.

Why did you choose the course you are studying now?

“For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be a vet. My course allows me to incorporate both maths and science when treating animals. It is also a way of taking care of nature.”

Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?

“I would like to travel throughout Africa, practising as a vet in rural communities and doing research within the field. I would also like to have completed my master’s degree in Veterinary Science by then.”

Understanding excellence

Adriana says that an achiever is someone who doesn’t give up on their goals, no matter what people say or what life might throw at them. “An achiever sees a failure as a step towards success. Characteristics of an achiever include determination, being goal-driven, and flexible to change. I once heard someone say that things that go wrong are not problems but rather challenges. I believe that achievers see the world from this perspective.”

A message to South African youth?

“Always be positive. If someone asks you: “Why should we work hard, we are never going to get a job any way?” Answer them by saying: “If I am the best candidate for the job, they cannot give the job to someone else.” Strive to be the best version of you that you can be, choose to be happy, cause as little hurt as possible to everyone and everything around you, and never stop reaching for the stars.”

Subscribe to our eNews

Sign up to receive news on what is happening in science, engineering, technology (SET) and innovation in South Africa

Copyright © 2023 All Rights Reserved | National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF)