The two matric learners who came second and third overall amongst Quintile 5 schools in South Africa in the 2019 National Senior Certificate (NSC) have chosen Stellenbosch for their Engineering studies. Gary Allen from Rondebosch Boys’ High School (2nd) and Anuoluwa Makinde from Milnerton High School (3rd) are studying Electrical and Electronic Engineering, and Mechatronic Engineering respectively. They are part of the group of 750 first-year engineering students who enrolled for the first time.
“I was really attracted by the beautiful campus of Stellenbosch University and its overall vibe,” says Gary. “I love the idea of a student town filled with social events and activities. My sister also studied Engineering at Stellenbosch, and through her I realised that Stellenbosch was also the university for me. I love technology, computers and solving problems, and so Engineering was the perfect combination of those three. I hope to become more involved in both Computer Engineering and Information Technology and so I think Electrical Engineering will be a good basis for my future plans.”
Anu chose Stellenbosch, because “the University provides both adequate engineering facilities and an enabling environment.” She has a deep interest in techno-scientific research and innovation. “I decided on Mechatronic Engineering, because this field provides me an opportunity to contribute to the advanced technology needed for the Fourth Industrial Revolution as well as to tackle the technological problems facing our continent. My long-term future interest is to contribute to research and innovation.”
Gary’s future plans are also worked out already: “I would like to combine my passion for audio and music production with engineering and programming, and potentially get involved in designing software, which reverse engineers older analogue gear and implements it into a modern, computer environment.”
In the meantime, they have to bridge the wide gap between school and university and get accustomed to a heavy academic workload. Anu says that the challenging aspect of being a first-year Engineering student is dealing with several assignments on a daily and weekly basis. “It requires a lot of hard work, discipline and time management. However, I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me.”
According to Gary, his biggest challenge is managing his time as a somewhat ‘independent’ person. He notes: “This involves making sure that I am at class on time and am studying for tests when I need to, while also making sure I eat at the correct times and keep up with other basic living habits. My favourite subject at the moment is Applied Maths, as I really enjoy how it combines complex maths ideas with real-world problems. I also enjoy interacting with other people and learning new work and content together.”
Photograph: Anuoluwa Makinde and Gary Allen with the distinctive drawing boards that most first-year Engineering students have to drag along during the first semester.