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Nontethelelo Mzizi, a Public Relations and Communications student at the Durban University of Technology (DUT) Riverside campus graduated on Friday, 28 May with a Cum Laude and the prestigious Dean’s Merit Award. This is after the young, female academic from Napierville in Pietermaritzburg excelled in her academics scoring an amazing 20 distinctions in her three-year diploma.

Mzizi’s passion for the Public Relations field is rooted in her love for writing, sharing information, and communicating with people. This is her second qualification as she is also a Cum Laude graduate in Journalism and Media Studies from December 2016. The young academic explained that she went back to school to expand her horizons, develop her knowledge and equip herself with skills that will allow her to thrive in the writing space.

“I am a strong believer in education, formal or informal. People should always try to learn something new, expose themselves to a variety of information, I believe that’s where we find ourselves, what we are truly passionate about and what makes us happy. I have always wanted to be a journalist, but during my studies, I was able to determine that I was not keen on certain parts of it and that’s when I knew that Public relations was what would be aligned with my goals, I still get to write, but with less chaos and in a slower-paced environment,” she said.

Mzizi credited her achievement to hard work, dedication, and the unwavering support of her friends. “I worked really hard to get here, I was constantly developing my knowledge through reading, research and I just happened to have some of the most motivational and supportive people surrounding me, I honestly doubt I would be here without my friends,” she said. She went on to emphasize the importance of surrounding yourself with the right people as a student, explaining that university life can be very fast and consuming.

“It’s hard to make the right decisions when you are surrounded by the wrong people, hence the saying show me your friends and I will show you your future, is apt” she added.

Speaking on some of the challenges she has come across as a student, she mentioned that she was a self-payer in her first year of study and that caused financial distress to herself and her parents, but luckily due to her excellent academic results her fees were reduced and she was extremely grateful to DUT for granting her the- opportunity to continue her studies.

Her biggest inspiration is her grandmother, who taught her that with hard work all things are possible. Her advice to students was to try by all means to balance their social life with their school work, highlighting that most students loose themselves in the excitement of being in university, the independence, and freedom that comes with it, and forget the reason why they came in the first place which was to study and make themselves and their parents proud. She also encouraged students to utilise all the extra resources provided by the university to expand their knowledge and develop skills that will shape them into adaptive graduates.

“There are so many resources made available to students by the university, such as the Entrepreneurship Centres that assist students with entrepreneurial skills, knowledge and funding to start their businesses, the CELT department that assists with tutoring and the Student Support department that assists students with emotional and mental support, especially at a time where depression has become so common in the education system,” concluded Mzizi.

Pictured: Nontethelelo Mzizi

Nikiwe Sukazi

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