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Masakhane's Mashiya Phithi will be continuing her studies this year funded by a National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) bursary. We sat down to hear a little more about this future teacher's own journey in learning.

Congratulations on securing your NSFAS funding for studies Mash. How did you feel when you heard you got funding?

I was very happy because it’s my first time getting a bursary. I was using my money to pay Unisa for 3 years so I was very happy. But also, I’m kind of worried because I don’t know when NSFAS is going to clear all my accounts and exams are around the corner. So I don’t know if I have to save money to pay to get the results for June, then maybe NSFAS will only pay after that.

What degree are you studying?

I was doing a bridging ABET Certificate from 2014, finishing in 2015. Then I started B.Ed last year and this is my second year of B.Ed now. I registered myself in the time I was waiting for NSFAS.

Why did you choose B.Ed?

I got more interested in this degree when I started working for Axium. My first choice was nursing, but I didn’t get a school. Then I took my second choice. But when I was here, I became more and more interested in teaching and thought “No, why did I think of nursing?” because I’m that person that easily cries. If I see someone who’s sick, even if I don’t know you, I am crying! So nursing was not going to be a good choice at all.

What is your favourite thing about your studies?

I like teaching a lot. I don’t know if it’s because I like maths, that’s the reason why I like teaching. And I like kids. I know I’m not that patient so I don’t like foundation phase, but I’ve decided to choose intermediate. I also don’t like high school!

Editor’s note: at this point our interview was gleefully interrupted by a passing colleague noticing the ring on newly-wed Mashiya’s finger. More than just academic congratulations are in order!

What is it about Maths that you like so much?

I loved it when I was young and I grew up loving it, knowing it. I don’t know, I just like counting, it is a natural thing.

What do you find most challenging about your degree?

I also have to do online modules. Sometimes I’m getting lost on where to go. Other times, I know where to go, but I don’t have time to do my assignments here because I’m working. I don’t have internet at home so I have to find a chance to do all my stuff online when I’m here. Otherwise, I don’t mind about doing distance learning because I can study alone, I don’t need more people to study.

How do you balance studies, work and home responsibilities?

Yoh (laughs), at home I would say I don’t have any chance to study! I don’t like studying at night – I just take the book and then I fall asleep. I don’t like studying early in the morning. So in the morning I go to work, when I go home I’m having fun with family and kids. I only think about studying during lunchtime. Then I go to Sandi’s house in that time and do something. I also study on Saturdays because my kids like to go away and play, then I have the chance to do everything.

What is your personal dream for this year?

My dream for 2018 is to pass all the modules. No supplementary. No fail. And then to get to another step next year.

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