I was born and raised in South Africa during the apartheid era. From early on I had assumed additional family responsibilities; helping raise my siblings while my mother faced the challenge of being a single parent. School work always managed to be a lower priority when juggling family needs and, as a result, I was, at best, a mediocre high school student.
An unexpected opportunity had me emigrate to the USA in January 2000. Living in the USA has been a life-changing experience. One of the most important lessons I learned was that you’re never to old to pursue your dreams. At 17 years of age I became the first person in my entire family (cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents included) to graduate from an academic high school. At 45, I became the first one – and only one thus far – to complete a university education. Being inducted into the Alpha Sigma Lambda Honor Society made this achievement much more special.
My very positive undergraduate experience at NYU had me daring to dream for more . . . a masters degree. I started my graduate program at UMass Lowell on May 18, 2015 and – 356 days later – on May 9, 2016 I completed my final class. Yes, I completed the two-year program in half the time! I graduated on May 14, 2016 . . . 212 days before my 50th birthday!