Stellenbosch University
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‘SciMathUs made a small-town girl dream big!’
Author: Bardine Botha
Published: 19/08/2021

​Bardine Jeanne-Mari Botha

Class of 2014

BEd (Intermediate Phase Education)

I am Bardine Botha, born and raised in Vanrhynsdorp, Namakwaland. I matriculated in 2013 from Hoërskool Vanrhynsdorp.

I have always wanted to be a Matie, so needless to say I only applied to further my studies at Stellenbosch. When my matric results came, my marks were not good enough to be accepted into the BAcc stream. Going to another university was not even an option for me. I then heard about SciMathUs from a friend, and I decided to apply. I was so lucky to be one of the 100 students who was accepted into the programme.

I literally started my SciMathUS year with a bang … On my first day of class I fell in front of everyone as I was entering Humarga. What a nice way of letting people remember your name, right? Jokes aside, that year was challenging. I was away from home for the first time ever. I could not go to mom or dad if work was getting to much or if I did not understand something. I had to learn to be independent, but I had the best mentors and teachers helping me through all of the tough times.

Maths was a big headache for me in school, but I came to really like the subject in my SciMathUS year. I never felt stupid, my questions were seen as valid and explained to me until I understood the work.

During my SciMathUS year, I was also introduced to campus life. I must say that experiencing campus life helped me tremendously when I started my first year as an undergraduate student in 2015. I knew where almost everything was and also knew when to play and when to work. I already had a friendship circle and people that I could enjoy student life with. I knew that university is definitely not school, and I learnt not to be too hard on myself.

I opted not to study BAcc, but instead chose to do my B Ed degree. I graduated from Stellenbosch University in 2018, and can you believe it, the girl who was so afraid of Maths, became a Maths teacher at my former school, Hoërskool Vanrhynsdorp! I love every second of my work. I am able to give back to our children in the community and I try my best to make Maths fun for my learners!

My advice to anyone who feels like there is no way forward: Chin up, king or queen. Your crown is slipping. Nothing is impossible. There are people out there willing to help you, all you have to do is ask.

To every person at SciMathUS who has helped me in my journey … Words can never truly express how much I appreciate you. Thank you, thank you — for everything that you have done. 

SciMathUs really made a small-town girl dream big!