Golden Key member Estefan Pieterse is working on his master’s degree in Microbiology and Physiology from the North West University Potchefstroom campus.
“My sister did a school project with bacteria when I was about 11 years old, and that sparked my interest in Microbiology,” reveals Estefan. “I always wanted to be a scientist.”
Estefan joined Golden Key in 2017 and feels that it has provided him with a new skill set for life and his profession.
“Because of my busy schedule, I didn’t really participate in physical events that the Golden Key hosted at my university,” says Estefan. “However, I did make use of the webinars and online conferences, and I learned a lot through them. I also wrote an article for the Golden key blog about Anxiety and how to cope with overthinking.”
Estefan is currently working a temporary position at Mediclinic. He ensures patients arrive on time for their procedures, screens patients, works as a porter, and screens staff, among other tasks.
“I am also involved in offering emotional support to families when they lose a loved one or when they receive bad news,” says Estefan.
Estefan says, “Seeing people being discharged after weeks in the hospital, knowing that I’ve been a part of their journey” is the best part of his job.
In 2019, Estefan was selected to present at a conference in Tromso, Norway, that positively impacted his life.
“Their way of life is so different from ours,” Estefan reflects. “It made me realise that your dreams should scare you because then they are worthy of your time and energy. And without that trip, I would still be too scared to take a leap of faith.”
While Estefan has had his blessings in life, he has also had his share of challenges.
“A couple of years ago, while I was busy with my honours degree, my mom had to go in for a back operation,” says Estefan. “She had complications during the surgery, which led to a bubble formation in her brain, which in turn led to meningitis. We almost lost her; she even had to learn how to walk again. It impacted me greatly because I am very close to my mom, and I had to focus on my research and work at the same time. But I had a great support structure that helped me get through it. And even in my mom’s state, she still encouraged me through every trial, and I’m blessed to say that we both got through that dark season alive, happy and healthy.”
This dark season taught Estefan many life lessons and made him grow as a person.
“It’s okay not to know,” Estefan reveals. “We always think that we need to have everything figured out. But as I grow older, I realise that nobody really knows what they are doing or where they are going, and that is fine. Just be on your way somewhere, even if you don’t know the destination, just enjoy the journey.”