I am Hlengiwe Masikane. I am 22 years old and currently pursuing a degree in Actuarial Science at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits). My academic journey began in Vlakfontein at a school called INKULULEKO YESIZWE PRIMARY SCHOOL. In 2010, I moved to Basa Tutorial Institute where I continued my education from Grade 5 to Grade 12.
I was always a dedicated, enthusiastic and hardworking student. This was evident through my outstanding school performance in both primary and secondary school. I loved all my subjects and always targeted distinctions ,but mathematics, physical science and geography were my best performing subjects.
I started dreaming of going to university from Grade 10 when my physics teacher informed the students about a challenging course called "Actuarial science" in one of the lessons. Before then, all I could think of was passing Grade 12 with the best possible results (distinctions). Upon hearing about this interesting course, I endeavoured to learn more about the course as well as the universities that offer it.
When the time came, I completed the application process to enter university. Thereafter, I began applying for funding. I was informed about ISFAP through an email from both Wits and University of Pretoria, with a link that led me to the website (www.isfap.co.za) with the application process and the due date. I found that the process was very easy and I submitted the necessary documents along with the document that ISFAP sent through an email. Then I simply had to wait and hope for the best. When the Grade 12 results were released, Wits was the first university to accept my application and so I decided to go with the flow.
I felt a huge sigh of relief and tremendous joy upon being accepted by ISFAP, through the generous funding received from the Finance and Accounting Services Sector Education and Training Authority (FASSET). The best part was the quick service and the fact that the ISFAP offices were easily accessible. The other great benefit was the beautifully structured support system in place to assist students. Every year ISFAP, in association with the Wits Development and Leadership Unit (DLU), provides students with a calendar of support events such as time management training, coping with exam pressure etc. ISFAP students are also required to complete a semester check-in where they indicate their needs, e.g. tutor support, mentorship and whether or not they need counselling for any traumatic events they may have encountered.
The two ladies who assisted me in 2018 assured me that life was about to get better, and that was a promise kept. From then until today, ISFAP and FASSET have proven to be very reliable friends to their students. They offer us more than just funding, but a safe space through the different self-development programs, in addition to the online portal (called ISFAP Wrap) that allows for one-on-one contact with each of us to address any and every challenge we face on campus. Studying Actuarial science at the University of the Witwatersrand is an honour, but also a huge challenge. The course has demanded a lot from me and most of the time I fall short, but I manage. Having an efficient funding scheme such as ISFAP, through the generous support of FASSET, has erased the financial burden so that all I have to do is focus on my academics and give myself the best chance of leaving Wits with an Actuarial science degree.
I would like to thank ISFAP and FASSET for changing my life and making the future count. Written by Hlengiwe Masikane, BSc Actuarial Science student, Wits.