Damien Willemse: Milpark Commerce Student - The big-booted Springbok has some sage advice for young South Africans.
“If you really want it, you should do whatever it takes to make sure that dream comes true.”
Springbok and Stormers flyhalf-turned-fullback, Damian Willemse is known on the rugby field for his versatility, sharp kicking ability and for his calm, steady nature in controlling the game. These qualities spill over to his life off the field, too. Willemse is currently studying a Commerce degree at Milpark Education via Distance Learning Online. We caught up with him in between his busy rugby and studying schedule, to check in with how he’s finding studying, playing and what the future holds…
Why a Commerce degree?
I decided on a Commerce degree simply because that’s the direction I see myself going in after rugby. The great thing about studying a Business Commerce degree is that the field offers many options and it will give me a lot of freedom and knowledge to experiment with.
What has the experience on your Milpark qualification been like so far?
I must say my experience with Milpark thus far has been great. My lecturers are amazing and are providing us with the best online service and are always willing to help.
How have you enjoyed studying online? What’s really worked for you? Have you experienced any challenges?
I’m enjoying it so much and it’s keeping me busy and productive in my off time. Studying online is not always easy and comes with a lot of challenges. Luckily I haven’t had to travel and write tests while I’m playing, but that is one of the challenges. Another challenge is staying on track with the week’s work - sometimes it is a lot and so you have to make sure you set a proper study schedule and stick to it!
What skills do you believe your Commerce degree will help you develop and how do you plan to utilise your qualification and these skills in future?
This degree will definitely equip me with the necessary skills that I can apply in the Entrepreneur and Business world, and to understand the entrepreneurial process and entrepreneurship roles in the business and the economic sectors.
How have you found managing playing and studying at the same time? How has one impacted on the success of the other?
To be honest it is quite challenging and does take a lot of my free time after training, so self-discipline is imperative. When I started my first module with Milpark we worked on how we, as students, were going to take on our studies and had to plan studying tables and the goals we were going to use throughout this course and semester. I think that helped me a lot in this regard. Personally I feel that anything you work hard at and invest in is going to pay off no matter what. If you really want it, you should do whatever it takes to make sure that dream comes true.
What are your rugby goals for the rest of 2019? And about going to the World Cup?
Well at the moment I am still recovering from my injury I incurred a couple of months ago. [Willemse is currently side-lined from the field with a knee injury.] I hope to make a strong return back onto the field, and then take it from there.
What do you enjoy doing for fun?
I’m big on doing little adventures with my mates and just hanging out with them, having a braai in my downtime.
What one tip would you give a young person looking to succeed?
Work hard! Be the hardest worker in the room, but also just be yourself. Don’t try to be like someone else, be it your role model or whoever, just be you and everything else will come naturally.
01 Aug 2019