This week’s interview features Janet Botha, a former Hillcrest student and aspiring engineer, who is being helped by Our Moon with her applications to study abroad.
Tell me a little bit about your background and how you came to be involved with Our Moon.
Born 14th May 2000, I grew up in Lusaka as the fourth child of Mr and Mrs Botha. Having sat my Junior Secondary National Exams in 2013, I scored well enough to be accepted to Hillcrest National Technical Secondary School located in Livingstone. High school was a totally unique experience as I was not in Lusaka anymore, with home being more than 500km away. It was during the second term of my Twelfth Grade that I got to know about Our Moon. They paid a visit to my school and held several meetings, one of which I attended. I later talked to Helen Leale-Green and got her contact details, enabling me to stay in touch with her. When my final Grade Twelve results were out, she advised me on how to go about the process of applying to study abroad and assured me that she would help in any way that she could.
What are you doing at the moment to help boost your university applications?
Currently, I am studying for the SAT and SAT subject tests. Not only that, I have engaged immensely in a physics research paper which I will attach to all my applications as well.
What is your favourite subject, and why?
Mathematics has fascinated me for as long as I can remember. I am intrigued by the fact that numbers respond to various operations in a unique individual way altogether. My relation to numbers, and Mathematics in general, stimulates my desire to learn more. I always envision the challenges I face as a system of equations; it is comforting to know that I can manipulate my approach and perception of things, but still regard all aspects with equal attention as with an equation. For some people, numbers are just numbers and Math problems are just Math problems. I on the other hand perceive numbers as living beings that are ready to respond when acted upon.
I understand Our Moon helped you to organise some work experience. How do you think you benefited from it?
Volunteering for Computers for Zambian Schools (CFZS) was fulfilling and life changing. Not only did I acquire some technical skills that I will be able to use throughout my entire lifetime but also an awareness that I can boldly say has sparked a moment of maturity and responsibility in me. Being part of a group of people whose vision is to improve IT literacy in Zambia and altogether make easier the lives of other people has caused me to be a person who is also willing to do better, hence, be able to help those who are also disadvantaged by circumstances – people hindered from achieving their full potential academically.
What would you consider to be your dream job?
I have grown to love Civil Engineering and hope to work as a Structural Engineer.
What advice would you give to other students currently in your position?
Be bold and courageous – go beyond the usual ways of doing things. It might not be easy, but it is the way to achieve. To be willing to take up a challenge which the majority of society pushes aside without a second thought, I believe, is enough to prove your daring attitude. That in itself should push you to only focus on what you can do to make better your applications and fuel your desire to fulfil your academic potential.