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Monday, April 15, 2024

42-year-old woman finally graduates university years after dropping out, bags Nursing degree with 27 distinctions

42-year-old, Thembeni Bridget Ngcobo has returned to university to complete her education years after dropping out of school. She bagged a Nursing degree with 27 distinctions at Durban University of Technology, South Africa.

Bridget who is a married mother of four girls and grandmother obtained her Bachelor of Technology degree in Nursing with 27 distinctions at Durban University of Technology, South Africa. She also won the Dean’s Merit award.

She had to drop out of school in Standard Nine to work to assist her parents financially in the upbringing of her siblings. Bridget later enrolled in Adult Based Education and Training where she was recognized as the top adult learner in Mathematics Literacy, Travel and Tourism, and Life Orientation.

Bridget said at the award ceremony the  MEC, Dr Zweli Mkhize said to her that he saw a very bright future ahead for her adding that his inspiring words motivated her to enroll in the university for a bachelors degree.

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Bridget stated that she juggled her Nursing education and family demands to achieve excellent academic results even as she faced challenges from adjusting to tertiary education surrounded by young adults, lack of knowledge of using modern equipment, emotional demands, and work overload.

“I always felt intense anxiety and high stress levels associated with tests, presentations, and exam preparations. Regardless, I had to fight hard to restore and maintain both mental and physical health,” she said.

She said for four years she was 72km away from her girls who were all entering different developmental stages in life. However, she visited home every Friday and returned to campus on a Sunday.


“Mind you it was never about time off; I was to ensure all house chores for the week were done, and meet marital demands, as a chairlady of a local community women’s club I attended meetings and at times I would had assignments, and homework for the weekend,” Bridget said.

”Thus adequate time for family and personal pursuits became a dream for me. When I felt the load was becoming extremely heavy and academic going became tougher my beloved daughter Nokuthula always lent me her shoulder to lean on.,” she added.

Bridget mentioned that her path to choosing nursing was from childhood. In her childhood stage, she would render basic nursing care in cases of minor injuries while her friends cried and fled in fear of blood. 

She stated that when she initially applied for the qualification she was told she was too old for the programme though her matric results were good. “I begged and pleaded that I be given a chance to prove that age is nothing but a number,” she said.

Bridget stated that it was after pleading, that she was allowed to take the entrance test with the condition that her result would determine her admission. Fortunately, she passed the test excellently and was offered admission into the university.

She mentioned that her academic journey is not over as she plans to register for her Master’s in Nursing Science at the same university and thereafter do a post-graduate in Nursing Education and Management with the hope of becoming a lecturer.

Bidget said she believes that nursing is a profession to be taken with passion, compassion, and devotion. “The fact that one is an enrolled academic student denotes that they met the selection criteria and therefore belong in university regardless of socio-economic standing, but only hard work and determination enhances academic success,” she said.

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