A brilliant South African student identified Aphiwe Hlatshwayo, has turned down an offer to study in the United States on scholarship.
The girl bagged six distinctions in her matric exams at Reddford House The Hills in Pretoria, and was offered an opportunity to further her studies in USA but she chose a South African higher Institution.
Aphiwe, who is also the head girl at her school, instead, opted to study medicine at the University of Cape Town in South Africa.
According to the best graduating student, when she saw that her first and second-term marks had dropped after dedicating much of her time to activities outside of academics, she knew she had to turn things around.
The brilliant girl said she spent a great portion of her time organising school events, representing the school at competitions and serving its pupils.
“When someone comes to me for help, I will avail myself in that moment, pushing everything of mine aside to help the next person until I no longer have time left for me,” she said.
Her multiple engagements accompanied with procrastination and not studying enough, meant that her grades dropped.
She then had to do some self-reflection and realign herself with her goals. This has led to Hlatshwayo bagging six distinctions and ranking in the top 5% of Independent Examinations Board candidates nationally for several subjects.
Following her stellar performance, Hlatshwayo was offered admission at Seattle University in the US to study Anatomy for four years, and another four years in medicine as part of its postgraduate programme.
But she declined at the advise of her mentor who advised against going to the US as she would have to spend an additional four years before completing her four-year medical degree.
Hlatshwayo said: “I understood where she (mentor) was coming from because you can get the same education here for six years (instead of eight), which works because I will be here (in South Africa) around my family so that I can have my support structure with me. So, it is kind of a blessing in disguise.”
She noted that her mind is made up about studying in South Africa, her major challenge is funding. She also acknowledged that she might be passing up a significant opportunity, but she also expressed fears of not succeeding in the US due to the different education system and absence of support.
She said: “I may be losing more quality education, but I am gaining more support here in South Africa.”
Hlatshwayo said the quality of the education she got at the private school equipped her for study at UCT. She said if an opportunity was presented to her again, she would take it only for the postgraduate programme.