Naseegha Cariem always dreamed of becoming a teacher.
When she enrolled as a first-year student at Stellenbosch University (SU) in 2012, she never imagined the trials she would experience over the years that almost derailed her dreams of graduating dreams.
In 2013, Cariem was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome, a condition that causes infertility. After numerous miscarriages, Cariem and her husband made the important decision to start a family immediately due to her fertility issues.
While in her final year as a Bachelor of Arts in Humanities student, Cariem fell pregnant with twin boys and unfortunately had to suspend her studies due to the high-risk pregnancy.
“Due to financial difficulty I couldn't continue my studies after the birth of the twins and instead had to find employment. In 2019, I took the bold step of resigning from my corporate job and resumed my studies to complete my final year," says Cariem.
After failing two modules in her second semester, as well as failing the concession exam that was granted by the dean of her faculty, Cariem also had to drop out of the Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) programme in Further Education and Training she was already registered for.
“This year I had to complete four undergraduate modules to obtain this long-awaited degree filled with blood, sweat and tears! I am most grateful for my support structure, my parents, siblings and husband. My husband is my real-life superhero. They have always supported me in all my decisions, even when I felt like a failure. My degree does not belong to me alone, but to everyone who has watched me fall and get back up again," says Cariem.
She will be completing her PGCE course at SU in 2021 and has plans to pursue a Master's degree in the near future.
“I've definitely learned that there is no timeline or age limit set to your goals. People should recognise their potential and not settle for anything less. I knew I wanted to become an educator years ago, and I see myself completing that goal and being in the classroom teaching literature to high school learners in the future."