Push through, work hard, don't quit and enjoy! This was the advice of Maties Sport student athletes who graduated during Stellenbosch University's (SU) graduation ceremonies from 10-14 December.
Although some of them found it difficult to balance their sport and studies, all of them said that it was worth it and that they would encourage students to participate in sport while studying at university.
Johann van Niekerk, a member of the victorious Maties rugby team that won the Varsity Cup and Man of the Match in the final, received his Engineering degree cum laude.
“The busier I am, the more I get done," he said. Time management and attending class were his top tips for success.
Olympic competitor and winner of two World Student Games medals Justine Palframan graduated with a BSc Honours degree in Biokinetics. The biggest advantage of participating in sport for her was meeting new people and gaining new knowledge.
“Work hard and have fun," is her advice.
Alex van der Walt, captain of the Maties Water Polo women's team that won the USSA tournament a few days before her graduation ceremony, is leaving Stellenbosch with a BSc degree (Animal Science). Although she found it difficult to balance sport and studies, the friends she made and support she received made it worthwhile.
Maties Football player Courtney Williams obtained a BA degree in International Studies. According to him, he experienced holistic growth as an individual during his years at SU.
“Prioritise your time well and you can achieve all your heart desires," believes Tammy Minnaar, an Accounting graduate and Maties hockey player.
Jean-Mari du Plessis (BSc Human Life Sciences), a member of the Maties Judo club who has represented South Africa, said: “Do everything, accept challenges and never give up", while Zani Kruger (Occupational Therapy), an athlete who represented South Africa at the CUCSA games earlier this year, said that you should never place limits on yourself.
“You can do it when you put your mind to it," she added.
Cricket player Albert Engelbrecht, who represented Maties at the USSA Cricket tournament a week before his graduation ceremony, said: “Keep your goals in plain sight and keep working. Most of all, enjoy every moment." He graduated with a BCom degree in Management Sciences.
Friendships, exercise and a break from studies were the biggest advantages identified by most of the student athletes. They described their participation in sport as a way to relieve stress and maintain balance. Hard work and time management were the most common tips for success.
Members of Maties Sport management are very pleased with these graduates.
“Well done to our student-athletes," said Ilhaam Groenewald, Chief Director: Maties Sport. “All the best with your future endeavours."