Durban - Celebrity fitness trainer Sbahle Mpisane, also known as the FitnessBunnie, graduated with her Bachelors degree in Housing and Town Planning from the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) on Monday.
She is a personal trainer who chronicled her journey to becoming a fitness icon on Instagram, where she currently has around 871,000 followers. She is the creator of the personal training and bootcamp programme, FitnessBunnie.
"I chose UKZN because it's always easier to stay grounded when you are close to home. From studying architecture to housing, it all goes back to passion in technical drawings, reading maps and enjoying practical work," an ecstatic Mpisane said.
Mpisane decided to study towards a housing and town planning degree because she initially wanted to join the family business in construction.
"Growing up I used to enjoy reading and analysing floor plans in my parents’ office," she said.
This led to her registering for the degree.
However, working and studying proved to be challenging for Mpisane.
"I don't know how many times I contemplated quitting my studies because I was so busy. Getting this degree has been a surprise to myself more than anyone. After every negative thought, I always reminded myself why I needed to complete my degree. Juggling my social life, work life and private life was challenging but I always knew my priorities and school always came first before anything. The thought of making my parents proud was my biggest drive," she said.
Her academic years at Howard College campus were always fun and easy going.
"I refused to let the stress get to me so I was always that student at the back of lectures, always so bubbly and easy going," Mpisane said.
As a fitrepreneur, Mpisane constantly needed to travel, finding a balance at campus was always difficult for her.
"I definitely gave my lecturers plenty of headaches but my work was always delivered on time. The highlight of my degree would be my final year, lecturers were very supportive and hands on with the students. I can't say they made our lives any easier but the extra push helped a lot of students like me to do our best and remain focused. I remember being in Vincent Myeni's office and crying my lungs out and all he said was "you nearly at the end, forget everything and focus on completing your studies because you will get all the time afterwards to be a diva and follow your passion in fitness," she said.
Mpisane found support from students in class and the friends she made during the years at University.
"They were always willing to update me on everything I missed, help me study, gave me notes and of course spent lunch breaks with me which was very therapeutic. A big shout out to Nonkazi, Thembeka, Phumelele and Flabba for the extra support throughout my studies," she said.
Expressing gratitude to her support system, she thanked her parents for always believing in her and friends for keeping her sane.
Mpisane believes the College of Humanities provides a grounding environment and always encourages one to be their own individual.
"My advice to other undergraduates is that they always find a balance that works for them. Have fun while studying and your academic years will feel shorter," Mpisane said.