Maths prodigy, Kelebogile eyes science and technology career

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]In conversation with Kelebogile Lonce Pitso, a top learner in Mathematics for the 2022 National Senior Certificate examinations. He is currently registered with UJ’s Faculty of Science.

Please tell us about yourself?

I was born and raised in Evaton West and currently reside in Lufhereng, Doornkop. I come from a family of eight, and I am the third of four children on my mother’s side. Forte Secondary School was where I spent my high school years.

What are your career aspirations?

I want to start a career in science and technology. I first became aware of smartphones and laptop computers when I was in fifth grade in primary school. I was fascinated by how seamlessly their software and hardware were integrated, and I even learned how their components worked. As time passed, I realized how influential those sleek devices were – they made the world appear easier, and communication was a quick thing to do. I was fascinated by technology in general, not just smartphones and laptops. Scientists and engineers were coming up with innovations solely to overcome humankind’s challenges, which made me wonder if I could do the same, and technology appeared to be the quickest way to do so, as it was prevalent around the world.

Please tell us about your upbringing?

I didn’t have many friends throughout my childhood. Yes, I used to play with children in the neighborhood where I lived, but there was never anyone I could sit down with and share my thoughts and feelings with. The reason for this was that I found it difficult to relate to other children. In the end, a few people did approach me from time to time. At the very least, I made a few friends who share my thoughts and opinions.

I also had difficulty communicating with others. I was an introverted person throughout my life; I was afraid of what people thought about me, their opinions about what I said or did, their reactions – how they perceived my personality as a whole. But I’ve noticed that most people don’t care what other people think about their personalities. They realized that they couldn’t live in fear because of other people’s opinions and that they had little influence in their lives. As a result, I adopted that mindset and began to be more assertive in my work. The difficulties I’ve mentioned had a significant impact on my academic performance; I had to overcome them in order to secure a better future for myself.

Why did you apply to UJ?

I applied to UJ’s Faculty of Science because it offered a diverse range of options that would be suitable for me. I’ve decided on a BSc in Computer Science and Informatics to best match my interest in computers and technology.

What are most excited about in 2023?

I’m looking forward to meeting new friends and friendly professors or lecturers who will truly assist me in my journey of beginning a career in the science and technology field, as well as gaining technological knowledge to share with young kids who want to participate in the world of computers and artificial intelligence.

How did you react when you received your matric results?

To be honest, I couldn’t believe I got a perfect score in Mathematics despite working hard throughout 2022. Last year, I was enrolled in the Kutlwanong MST (Mathematics, Science, and Technology) program. That program catered to subjects like pure Mathematics and Physical Sciences because those were the least popular subjects among high school students in South Africa, and the program existed to encourage children from the poorest communities who wanted to make it big in careers that required those subjects.

I was obsessed with getting 100% in both Math and Physics in that program. Of course, there were other subjects I had to attend to, but those were the main ones. When it came time to write the exams, I had my doubts because I felt like I didn’t study enough because I was studying alone most of the time, with no time to rest.

When the results came, I was also nervous, thinking that I didn’t get a 100% in either Maths or Physics and that I disappointed my teachers from the program. But then again, I thought of how well I  was doing in my final exams, despite the hassles in certain questions. So I reassured myself about my expectations for the results. I couldn’t help but smile when I saw that 100% in Mathematics, because I had finally reached my target, despite having only 5 distinctions instead of the 8 I had also hoped for.

What advice do you have for current students?

I have a few words of encouragement for this year’s matriculants though. I’d like to tell them that no matter what they’re doing; whether it’s eating, sleeping, studying, hanging out with their friends, or spending time with their families, they should always remember why they’re here. Make it a priority to pursue your dreams and achieve your goals and ambitions. Put yourself first, and the rest will fall into place. Put everything in God’s hands if you’re religious. Concentrate on yourself. Don’t let anything, and I mean ANYTHING, get in the way of your success.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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