Challenges faced by students have been amplified by the Covid-19 pandemic.
For many students who previously relied on university and college accommodation, dining halls, health care and technological infrastructure, the pandemic has presented a struggle for access to basic requirements of survival such as food, health-care support (both mental and physical) as well as the higher-level requirements for study, such as laptops, data and textbooks.
“The drivers behind student success are holistic and multifaceted. There are strong correlations between mindset, overall well-being, academic progression, and long-term fulfilment within their chosen careers. Our research suggests that the most crucial drivers behind student success can be distilled into four primary factors: financial stability, emotional support, academic progress, and grit. We refer to these as the Thrive Drivers,” said Cara-Jean Petersen, student engagement manager at Feenix.
One such student is Banele Msimang, a B. Nursing graduate at UWC who received his certification earlier this year after reaching his R48 000 target through online crowdfunding during Feenix’s year-end campaign. Msimang is an inspiring exemplar of what these values can achieve.
During 2015 he lived on the streets of Durban where he resorted to sleeping in cold lecture halls and bathing in public toilets, all the while dodging police and campus security as he studied towards his diploma in biotechnology.
Msimang recommends seeking funding platforms that offer guidance on how to attract and engage with potential donors and how to leverage the power of social media.
Now, after eight years of tenacity, having overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges, Msimang’s future looks bright. A social media post of January 2022 reads: “My encouragement to anyone who needs it, is to have a definitive goal and then orientate your life so that every little thing you do is a step towards your goal”.
Msimang said a strong network of friends and family and good social relations within both home and academic communities is essential to ensuring sufficient emotional support during the psychologically tumultuous years of tertiary study.
Petersen agreed. “Emotional support is a key prerequisite behind the grit that allows many students to consistently overcome challenges and obstacles in pursuit of their goals, without losing hope. Overcoming challenges helps to build self-confidence and provides learning through each and every triumph.”