To graduate with a BSc in Applied Chemistry is not an everyday occurrence. To do so summa cum laude is exceptional. For Ms Bianca Singh, this was the reward for her consistent hard work and dedication to her studies.
Singh chose UKZN because of its reputation for reputable scientific research and because she is a Durban girl and wanted to be close to home. Her interests had always revolved around chemistry so she was pleased to come across UKZN’s BSc in Applied Chemistry, an undergraduate Chemistry degree unlike anything offered at other universities.
‘The BSc in Applied Chemistry delves deeply into the theoretical, practical and industrial knowledge of all branches of chemistry,’ she said. ‘It exposed me to a wealth of knowledge and allowed me to explore what aspects of chemistry I loved the most.’
Singh particularly enjoyed the practical aspect of the degree and gaining insight into how chemistry fits into the real world. Long hours in the lab and in front of her books meant that leisurely Friday afternoons became a thing of the past, but this sacrifice was more than compensated for by the incomparable sense of achievement and pride she felt in graduating summa cum laude.
‘My biggest advice to fellow students would be to maintain focus on your goals and use them as your fuel,’ she said. ‘Find a good balance between academics and your social life. As students, we need friends in our lives as part of our support structure. But don’t forget to recognise priorities. The key to success is trying, making mistakes and most importantly learning from these experiences. My most valued learning experiences have been from participating in class or “failing” at a task.’
Singh is currently registered for an Honours degree in Chemistry and has her sights set on a master’s. She thanked her family for their support as well as UKZN’s dedicated lecturers, ‘who mould us into knowledgeable scientists eager to contribute to the world of science.’
She spends her spare time with family and loved ones and indulges her creative side by cooking and baking – where she ensures that all her measurements are as accurate as possible!
She quoted Winston Churchill to inspire future graduates: ‘Success is not final; failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.’
Words: Sally Frost
Photograph: Rajesh Jantilal