Alumnus journey

Pertunia Thulo -- Tue, 08/19/2014 - 11:05

Ten years in the making – an alumnus’ journey to (academic) success

The North-West University (NWU) officially came into being on 1 January 2004 and as the university community look back on ten successful years since the merger and incorporation process, so does alumnus Re-An Müller.

As an alumnus of the Vaal Triangle Campus (NWU Vaal), Re-An’s academic journey mirrors that of his beloved Campus. In the 10th year since the inception of the NWU, Re-An will complete a full-circle in 2014 when he completes his PhD studies. His journey began in 2004 when he joined the NWU Vaal as a first year student and he is currently a lecturer within the School of Economic Sciences within the Faculty of Economic Sciences and Information Technology.

An academic journey of note

According to Re-An, who first enrolled for a BCom degree in International Trade and Marketing, his first three years at university were absolute bliss. “I dived in head-first into every activity hosted on the campus, and I had the time of my life,” says Re-An.

After graduating and completing a postgraduate qualification in Education in 2008, he ventured into the world of work and became a high school teacher. He taught at Ramolele Secondary School, Carel de Wet High School and Taaibos Combined School before venturing back into academia.  

In 2009 he completed his honours degree in Business Management and proudly donned his graduation gown for the third time. The thesis for his Master’s degree was ‘the influence of colour on consumer behaviour’, and for his PhD, he is focusing on developing a scale that measures brand personality. He became a lecturer in the School of Economic Sciences in 2010.

According to Re-An, the Vaal Triangle Campus has literally undergone a metamorphosis over the past decade. “Apart from the modern buildings and the increase in student numbers, the Campus is also developing into a technologically advanced and innovative entity” says Re-An and adds that the diversity which is a unique part of the Campus’s heartbeat will remain a special attraction to all alumni. “Ten years ago you would not dream of meeting a student from outside the Vaal region on Campus, and today we proudly boast with a growing international student body,” says Re-An.

Re-An believes that the Vaal Triangle Campus represents one of the few university campuses in South Africa that still have the potential to expand even further. He is unsure of where he will find himself over the course of the next ten years, but he is hopeful that the Campus will continue to develop and expand whilst fostering an environment where staff and students can continue to excel.

Balance – the key to success

When looking at these academic accomplishments, it is hard to imagine Re-An anywhere else but behind his books. This however, could not be farther from the truth

Re-An is a man of many talents and he leads a creative and exciting life outside of the classroom. As a talented performer he frequently takes to the stage with his guitar and he remembers fondly how he took to the stage during the annual RAG festival when he was still a student. He plays a combination of rock and gospel and says that he likes to compose his own music. He is currently a member of his church’s music group. Asked to name his favourite music groups he says, without hesitation, Imaginary dragons and Mumford and Sons.

He also has a very keen eye, and is an avid photographer who sometimes takes his work to exhibitions around the region. In his spare time he and his wife Jomonè likes to go biking.

A romantic at heart

Re-An is a romantic at heart, and the story of how he met his wife speaks to this. He met her in the year 2007 in a school bus on route to a youth camp in Parys. That time, Re-An the guitarist was a member of a band called Elior (meaning ‘God is my light’ in Hebrew) that was to play at the very same camp. Six months later they started to date and four years later they got engaged. 

When Re-An was ready to propose to Jomonè he hired the same bus they first met on and took his wife to enjoy a day in Parys. Whilst on their way to Parys, he got down on one knee and asked his wife to marry him. “And there we were, two star-crossed lovers on a school bus on our way to Parys!” he said.

Greatest life achievements

Winning the Institutional Teaching Excellence Award (ITEA) in 2013 remains one of the "uber highlights" of Re-An's career. In addition he passed both his postgraduate qualifications with distinction and was recognised as the top achiever for the research conducted for his Master's degree. In 2012 he also delivered his first-ever address at an international conference in Germany and according to Re-An he worked day and night to perfect his address. "The moment the delegates started to applaud me, I knew that there will never be a substitute for hard work and passion," says Re-An.

Asked what advice he has for his students, he says that they should deceide early on what they want to achieve and never lose sight of the bigger picture.