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Donaé Robbyn-Leigh Jones graduated with Cum laude and the Dean’s Merit Award with her Diploma in Public Administration, specialising in Supply Chain Management at DUT’s Virtual Autumn Graduation ceremony today, 28 May 2021. 

“To receive such prestigious awards has really been a shock to me, one which I have still not come to terms with as yet. I keep checking the DUT student portal to see if they perhaps made a mistake. Along with the shock, I am extremely proud of myself, I am also overwhelmed and humbled, that it is not only the Cum Laude but I am also the recipient of the esteemed Dean’s Merit award,” she said. 

She mentioned that she would like to convey her gratitude to her two lecturers who have impacted her studies in the most spectacular way, namely Mr V.J Hadebe, (who taught her Supply Chain Management 1,2 and 3) and Mrs V Kessa, (who taught her Public Finance Management 1 and 2), and who were both always willing to assist her with anything she did not understand even when she was being a pest. 

“It is lecturers like these two who inspire learners daily by simply caring. I am eternally grateful and wish blessings upon them always,” she said. 

 Although she made the sacrifices and put the effort into her studies, it would also not be possible for her to achieve this without the prayers of her family and her loved ones. 

“I was only able to achieve what I have because of the grace and favour that God has placed upon my life. So all the praise, honour and glory should be unto him. He has done great things for me,” she said. 

Also, for Jones, her biggest motivating factor was the desire to make a better life for herself and get out of the area (Wentworth) in which she grew up in, which has high criminal activity and gang violence. 

Jones stressed that she is disappointed that she is not able to graduate with a traditional ceremony but is still extremely happy to be graduating regardless of the delays and obstacles that the pandemic has created for her. 

Jones explained that being a student had its ups and downs. The most difficult part of being a student for her was that most of her assignments were group work. She said that it was tough to work in groups because everyone comes from different backgrounds which means that not everyone has the drive to excel as much as she did. 

 “The most difficult challenge would be when we would have exams for different modules with no days in-between, which meant that you really had to manage your time properly and create a study timetable to get studying done in a way that you make time for all your modules,” she said. 

Jones indicated that she would like to enter the working world and then continue her studies and to eventually get to achieve a PHD in her field of study. 

“I do however wish to enter the working world and excel at every challenge that comes my way in the hopes that it guides me to find the ways that I would like to make a difference in and leave my mark as someone who shows up and does their best every single day,” she said. 

Jones advises first-year students to start working from day one and form good habits like taking notes during lectures because it’s always better to study things that one can understand instead of studying from a textbook and trying to memorise the work. 

“When you understand something you can remember it and you can explain it over and over again. Whereas if you memorise someone else’s work you are likely to forget it. I also advise students to keep every bit of work that you do throughout your years of studying because you need to have access to Laws and Acts which govern supply chain in the public sector so you can always conduct yourself with good ethics and morals,” said Jones

Pictured:  Donaé Robbyn-Leigh Jones 

Waheeda Peters 

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