August 9 is South African Women's Day, and the month of August celebrates South African Women. For this month the Department speaks to three of our excepting female students from each of our academic programs: Zeenat from Geography & Environmental Science, Mpho from Geoinformatics, and Bhavani from Meteorology. Here, we speak to Zeenat, who is currently enrolled in her BScHons Geography & Environmental Science.
Q: Tell us a bit about yourself. What piqued your interest in geograpy & environmental science?
A: My name is Zeenat Patel and I'm a BscHons Environmental Sciences and Geography student as well as the chairperson of NATHouse. Interestingly enough, my choice to study in this field was based mostly on the fact that I couldn't make up my mind. From my high school days, I've had a keen interest in politics, history and current affairs while also enjoying the sciences which made for a difficult decision when it came time to apply. Geography and Environmental Science, which often combine natural and human sciences, seemed like the smartest choice. Looking back on some of the speeches and essay's I wrote during my time at school, the signs were already there that this was the path for me, even if I hadn't realized it yet. Having parents who were first generation university graduates and grandparents who were not granted their right to schooling, I am very grateful for the tireless work they did and for the now free and democratic South Africa we live in. This has allowed me the opportunity to not only study but to study in a field where my interest and passion lies and where I can work towards being the woman I want to be.
Q: What is unique about yourself, that others might not know?
A: Aside from the rush of academics, student leadership and my family, rhythmic gymnastics is my little passion on the side. Whether its coaching or competing, it's always helped me keep balance in my life, both literally and figuratively!
Q: Do you have any advice for our undergraduate students?
A: My most valuable piece of advice to new students is to get involved. Being a student is so much more than studying and securing your own future, its also about the student's and environment around you. Whether it something as simple as participating in non-academic events and voting in student leadership elections right to being the one organizing events and running in elections, there is space for all students to get involved. Not only is it a way to make a positive contribution to other student's lives, it's also an opportunity to grow holistically and make sure that you leave University with not just a degree but also many additional skills and sense of determination to make the world around you a more just and kind place.
For more on Zeenat please have a look at the articles below.