With NBT season finally here, we thought you could use a bit of motivation as you journey towards getting into your preferred degree programme. We got a chance to interview Dr Botha who used our NBT Preparation to prepare for his NBTs.
When you are a kid you have loads of ideas as to what you want to be. With his dad being a doctor, his grandpa a dentist and his mom a dietician Xander Botha knew that he would also end up in the Health Science industry. To determine whether he was cut out for this industry, his dad said that he should shadow a nurse in Grade 10. He believed that if he could really enjoy helping people from that position then he would be cut out to be a doctor.
Having to choose your subjects in Grade 9 can be tricky as you may not be sure what to do. Well, you’re not alone! Dr Botha spoke about how he exhausted his parents’ budget trying to figure the whole thing out. “I’m lucky that I was able to go to a school that offered tests to see what career would be best for me.” The first test results came out and said he should be a doctor. “I thought perhaps I wasn’t smart enough to be a doctor and that I wasn’t qualified to do it.” With this in mind, Xander did the test again and to his surprise, it said medicine again!
After the confirmation, Xander decided to pursue this career which required a lot of effort. Getting into a degree programme like medicine requires that you make a lot of sacrifices. According to Dr Botha, one of the toughest things about getting into medicine is that you have to give up a lot. “I gave up a lot in my Grade 11 year. I didn’t go on holidays with my family so that I could stay home and study.”
But like any challenge in life once you make those sacrifices it gets better, and this was the case for Xander, “When I got into medicine it was so much fun. I was difficult but I felt like I could handle it”
One of the things that Dr Botha kept on highlighting in our interview was the importance of doing your research. A lot of learners aren’t aware that they even need to write NBTs and many don’t know which NBT assessments they need to take. “Just research! Call University hotlines, Google and ask questions. There will be someone who can help all you have to do is ask.”
We always highlight the importance of learners being aware that the NBTs are completely different from your normal high school test. This means that NBT Preparation is important. Dr Botha expressed how he had a great experience with our NBT Preparation Workshops. “It was a great experience, very helpful, informative and gave you lots of information that showed you exactly what they’re going to ask in the tests.”
NBT Preparation is so important! Something Dr Botha believes in is preparing for everything in life. “If there is something you can do to help you get the marks you need to get your future dream job one day, just do it.”
One of my favourite answers from Dr Botha, was when I asked him what his career highlight has been. “Seeing people go home happy makes me happy that I did this. If I recount my experiences in medicine, I could tell you a lot of sad stories but I could also tell a lot of happy stories. Overall, I’m proud of how things are going.”
I asked Dr Botha what he would define as the most rewarding thing about his job. “The most rewarding thing about my job is when someone stops me to say ‘thanks for your help’. That little bit of appreciation is so genuine and warms my heart.”
For learners looking to go into medicine, you need to make sure it’s for you. “I had friends that had this idea of what medicine would be like. When they started, some grew to hate it whilst others grew to love it.” A mistake many people make is studying medicine for the sake of it, “study medicine because you think it’s the most beautiful thing you can do not just because you want to show people that you are smart.”
You may feel like there’s only one path in medicine but in reality, it is broader than you think. “You can go into business, run a hospital or take the long route and go into radiology and sit in front of a screen all day. But do your research.”
What would you say to a learner who didn’t get into medicine on their first try? “Try again, if you want to do something do it, even if it takes a long time. I’ve got a lot of friends who took different routes. Some of the best doctors I know are people who studied a BSC first and because of that they work so hard and can carry that through to medicine. If it takes a bit longer it’s fine it’s awesome.”
“I’d recommend if you’re not sure about medicine go study something else. Find out what you want to do then go study medicine when you are sure. Do what you want and fight for it. Don’t give up, I know it sounds cliche but just go for it.”
This article was originally published on 12 May 2022
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