College of Agriculture, Engineering
and Science (CAES)

Ms Thalia Naidoo graduated with her Honours in Chemistry with the support of her family.

Second Choice Becomes Best Choice as Student Graduates Summa Cum Laude in Chemistry

Chemistry may not have been Ms Thalia Naidoo’s first choice, but it soon grew on her that she graduated summa cum laude with her Honours in Chemistry.

‘I was not completely settled on doing a Chemistry degree when I started. During my first year I had a variety of modules in different fields of science to see which would suit me best. Even though Chemistry was not my best module it challenged me to do better.  After the first year I could not picture myself doing another degree,’ said Naidoo.

‘While graduating seems like such a farfetched dream, when you do get to graduate it is still hard to believe. However, wearing the robe and going on stage, the feeling that you accomplished something great is undeniable. Graduating means a great deal to me as it shows that all my work and struggles were worth it,’ said Naidoo.

The road to completing her honours degree was not easy as Naidoo struggled with stress. ‘I was stressed by the large work load as well as meeting deadlines. While doing my honours the struggles included developing persistence even if things don’t work the way you want, which is quite common in Chemistry’. Despite all these struggles, through self-development and confidence Naidoo was able to overcome these issues.

Naidoo advised undergraduate students to pursue something they are passionate about, that will overall challenge them, and will better their knowledge and themselves in the process. ‘I also would advise that no matter how insurmountable things seem, I can guarantee that with determination and hard work you will make it through anything.’

Naidoo acknowledged her parents, especially her mother, for her achievements as she advised, motivated and supported her throughout her studies. ‘I can say without a doubt that without my mother I would not have achieved as I did throughout my undergraduate degree and honours,’ said Naidoo.

Naidoo is currently pursuing her MSC in Chemistry in Natural Products, and hopes to thereafter, enter the work environment to gain experience and knowledge about Chemistry.

When asked what inspiring greatness meant to her, Naidoo said: ‘Inspiring greatness to me means pushing yourself and stepping past your own limits. Inspiring greatness means looking at the future and knowing that the possibilities are endless with what you can do because in fact you are great.’

Words: Zolile Duma