Postgrad next for former filling station cashier

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Puseletso Mqomo PHOTO: Relebeletse

Despite all odds, Puseletso Mqomo has obtained her degree in B.Sc. Microbiology and Genetics from the University of the Free State, and she is currently doing her postgraduate degree in Education.

Her main goal when it comes to education, is to complete her Honours in Industrial Microbiology or Medical Microbiology. 

Mqomo told Bloemfontein Courant her financial challenges began in 2016. She was about to start her second year, when the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) stopped funding her as her credits were not enough. She said the frustration for her was nearly too much, but she knew she could not give up. 

“Not being able to go to varsity frustrated and embarrassed me, but pushed me to look for a job. I told myself, I don’t want to see myself going for sugar daddies or doing odd things for money because of my mother not being able to afford to pay for my studies,” Mqomo said. 

It took Mqomo six months to find a job. During that time she was surrounded by emotion and negativity, however, that is what also made her realise she had to push herself to get to where she wants to get. 

Mqomo added that after she had obtained employment, she informed her boss that she did not intend to work at Engen Garage permanently; she still had intentions to go back to school and finish her degree. 

In spite of having saved R16000, she still needed more, but that did not stop her. “I saved about R16000 and my tuition fees amounted to R63000, so I had already told myself that the money won’t be enough, but as long as I had paid the registration fee, I was good. 

The rest I would deal with as I went on.” In 2017 Mqomo went back to school and fortunately NSFAS agreed to fund her. During that year she fell pregnant, but this did not stop her from reaching her end goal. 

The determination of this young student made her decide to keep going. Her decision in doing B.Sc. Microbiology and Genetics comes from her love of physics and life science. She initially started studying B.Sc. Chemistry but struggled with it; hence she changed to B.Sc. Microbiology and Genetics. “I want to work as a medical microbiologist and analyse species, working in the lab, or I’d love to do Industrial Microbiology,” she explained. 

“I could tell someone who wants to give up that nothing is easy in life, and nothing will ever be easy. Giving up should never be an option, no matter how many lemons life throws at your face. Just turn them into lemonade,” Mqomo concluded.

Corn Koteli 

tshehla@mahareng.co.za