‘Three years done and dusted, and now I’m a geologist!’ exclaimed cum laude Geological Sciences graduate Ms Demi Lamp.
‘It still sounds weird to say,’ she continued. ‘UKZN gave me the opportunity to get an internationally recognised degree that allows me to travel the world and experience natural beauty. I have graduated and I am sitting in Croatia. Just think – you could be here too!’
UKZN always interested Lamp, with its beautiful buildings and exciting campus life. But what really motivated her to study at the Institution was the Geological Sciences programme on offer – one of the best in South Africa that enjoys international recognition.
‘The hundreds of thousands of rock and mineral samples collected from all over the world, which are available for the students as well as the high-tech geological equipment were both big motivators for me,’ she said.
Lamp explained that she had an intense love for the Earth and all its elements from a young age, so a degree in Geological Sciences was a natural choice. ‘I’m a big believer in running the world sustainably and without continuous harm to the flora and fauna that surround us,’ she said. ‘As a geologist I hope to be able to contribute more sustainable and Earth-friendly options for things like mining and electricity, which everyone knows can be harmful to our ecosystem.
‘Oh, and some rocks are quite a sight for sore eyes!’ she added.
On the subject of rocks, Lamp said that the highlight of her degree were the modules that involved using an optical microscope to see rocks and minerals very closely. ‘That is something I wish I could show everyone – it is mind-blowing,’ she said. ‘I used to come home after practicals and show my family photos and videos of what rocks look like under a microscope – I’m sure they were sick of me!
‘Studying has many highs and lows but in the end, it is so rewarding. You meet new people from different backgrounds; when you work hard you get rewarding marks which motivates you further; and being able to work with some of the enthusiastic demonstrators is inspiring.’
Lamp offered the following advice to students who want to do well: ‘You have to put in the effort. Annoying, I know, but trust me, the more effort and time you put in, the more you will be able to understand. Just remember how cool it feels to be able to show and tell people what you’ve learnt.’
Since finishing her degree she has been travelling around Europe (and of course collecting rocks along the way!) and is currently living in Croatia. ‘I hope my future involves travelling and working overseas at an environmentally friendly company,’ she said. She is also keeping the door open to further study, potentially in a Nordic country (inspired by her “tough love” lecturer Dr Jeremy Woodard, who studied in Finland).
‘A BSc in Geological Sciences is not an easy task,’ said Lamp. ‘I remember, naively, going into this degree thinking it was going to be easy… well if you are going to take anything away from this, it is that geology is not easy. It’s like learning a whole new beautiful language. It’s a lot of hard work and time. But it’s worth it.’
Words: Sally Frost
Photograph: Rajesh Jantilal