Meet 18-year-old Tristin Emmanuel Venketsamy, the Glenvista High School pupil who bagged seven distinctions and a 92% aggregate pass in the 2023 National Senior Certificate matric exams.
The Johannesburg South resident, has been accepted to study medicine at the University of the Witwatersrand.
It will be a childhood dream realised according to Venketsamy, who from the age of four, would always find himself playing around with his Dad's science and biology textbooks.
“I would be completely engrossed with the images and information (although I couldn't understand all of it at the time),” Venketsamy said.
“I soon realised that as a doctor I would be dealing with these sort of concepts on a daily basis, and I'd be able to see these intriguing diagrams in real life.”
As he grew older, Venketsamy said he felt a career in medicine was a very noble one.
“The central aim in medicine is to help people, reduce their discomfort and pain, and to cure diseases, and all of this in turn impacts humanity in a very positive way. I've always wanted to make an impact in the lives of people, and I've come to discover that studying medicine would enable me to achieve this goal,” he said.
“A heart and passion to help people is definitely a core requirement to be successful in the field, and I'm thankful to have been blessed with a heart that feels for people who are in pain and a passion to help those who are in need.”
An academic achiever throughout his schooling career, Venketsamy, said he had a keen interest in surgery.
“However, I would still like to explore my other options and I'm thankful that medical school would allow me to do so.”
When asked about his thoughts about the National Health Insurance (NHI).
“I believe that NHI definitely has some amazing advantages, however we should not ignore the challenges that can come with it,” Venketsamy said.
“I am definitely in support of the fact that the NHI will ensure that all South Africans will have access to quality Healthcare services, as many individuals unfortunately demise due to their lack of access to healthcare. Therefore it is critical to improve Healthcare infrastructure and resourcing, to ensure the success of the NHI.”
So how did he achieve academic excellence with an 87% for English, 92% for Afrikaans, 98% for Maths, 92 % for Life orientation, 87 % for Life sciences, 91% for Physics and a whopping 97% for Visual Art.
“I cannot stress this enough, I firmly believe that the secret to my success was through God's grace, His mercy and favour. Having a firm foundation in Christ has always enabled me to achieve success from a young age,” Venketsamy said.
“As a matric student there were countless times that I was at the point of breaking or in need of an answer as to how I need to continue, and in those moment I truly felt that God has never left or forsaken me,” he said.
“I have to acknowledge my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, because I knew that I would not be here without the wisdom, knowledge and understanding that He has given me throughout each and every step, exam or journey. A simple prayer can work wonders in a complex situation.”
In terms of preparation Venketsamy said he would aim to study for between six and nine hours a day.
“During my final exams I would always keep a timetable or calender with a to-do list and my exam dates to help me better visualise what I need to do and how much time I have left to prepare,” he said.
“Everyday I would aim to study for six to nine hours for my exams. I would wake up at 4am, take some time to pray, eat breakfast and get ready so that by 6am I would be studying. I'd often study at three hours a time, completing past papers or memorizing my notes by rewriting them continuously.”
He said he would try to study for at least four subjects a day.
“This routine was definitely not developed over night, and it took some time to build the discipline to sit for so many hours being fully concentrated on learning.”
In his spare time Venketsamy enjoys art, mainly doing portrait sketches and sometimes painting.
“I love music, and I play keyboard and guitar at church. Chess is something that I find really helps stimulate my mind, and I do enjoy a good chess game.”
He said he has also become handy in the kitchen.
A good family support is something Venketsamy says he is privileged to have.
“I come from a family of four. My dad (Roy) is a professor at UKZN in the Department of Early Childhood Education, my mom (Michelle) is a Health Administrator at the De Beers Corporate Office and my brother (Luke-Atreyu) is a Podiatrist practicing in Durban,” he said.
‘I think that a good family support was crucial during my studies, and definitely contributed to the marks I attained.
“My family did their best to ensure that I had all the necessary study guides I needed and would never hesitate to help me in any way if it meant that I'd be able to study more comfortably or even just to offer a word of encouragement.”
He said extended family and his church also played a crucial role.
“My aunty (Vasanthie) and my cousin (Liam) would always make themselves available to transport me to tuitions.”
So what’s his advice to the matrics of 2024.
“I think that the matrics of 2024 should make time management their goal. With proper time management they will be able to achieve a much needed balanced lifestyle,” Venketsamy said.
“I think to ensure proper time management, the matrics should start working from day one, and by creating a timetable they can continuously work and make it their goal to keep ahead of the class. Being ahead will allow them to better grasp the knowledge and revise when their teachers go over the topics in class,” he continued.
“Being ahead also allows them to alleviate a lot of the anxiety and stress that students tend to experience during test and exam seasons, because they will have already gone over the work and had enough time to revise and perfect it.”
He encouraged matrics to spend time on their hobbies to avoid being burnt out.