‘I was born in Durban and have lived here most of my life. My mum and her siblings attended UKZN (then the University of Durban-Westville). Being able to attend a university that generations before me had attended as well as being able to study from the comfort of my home is what motivated me to choose UKZN.’
So says summa cum laude BSc graduate Ms Nooran Mahomed Rafeer, who obtained a double distinction for her Biochemistry and Genetics majors.
After high school Mahomed Rafeer took a gap year as she was unclear on what field she wanted to study. Science, however, had always piqued her interest. ‘Upon doing some research, the field of genetics really caught my attention, as did biochemistry,’ she said. ‘Deciding to major in these two subjects allowed me to have a very robust and well-rounded knowledge base.’
By the end of her undergraduate degree, Mahomed Rafeer was pleased with the knowledge that she had gained. ‘The link between both my majors came to light,’ she said. ‘It was such a rewarding experience to see the three years of knowledge come together in the most amazing way. This was a real highlight.’
Less enjoyable – but still necessary – were the many hours of hard work that went into ensuring her success. ‘There were exhausting moments where I would have no motivation or mental energy, but the end result made it all worthwhile.
‘I’m sure undergrad students have heard this one too many times, but the key to success is definitely being consistent,’ advised the top achiever. ‘There will be times in which you will feel mentally drained and demotivated but it is during these times that you need to pick yourself up and remind yourself of the end goal.
‘From the start of your degree, be sure to practice discipline, perseverance and optimism. Make use of opportunities such as Supplementary Instruction. With that being said, you should also take time out for yourself in order to unwind and recoup.’
Mahomed Rafeer is currently studying for a BSc Honours degree in Forensic Genetics. When not in the lab or in front of her books, she likes to relax with a good TV series, spend time with family and friends – or just catch up on sleep!
And her biggest support base? Her parents, of course.
Words: Sally Frost
Photographs: Supplied and Rajesh Jantilal