Friends have a huge influence on our lives both negatively and positively and it’s in our power to choose how we want to be influenced.

What’s the meaning of a true friend? A true friend is a loyal, trustworthy, and encouraging person who builds you up to do well all the time. However, a bad friend is just the opposite of what a true friend is. Decision-making plays a huge role in our lives when it comes to this stage.

My school days made me realise that decision-making has a huge impact on our lives. School was the most exciting environment to be in because we gained knowledge through learning and be with friends. Reflecting back to the choices that I made in school they wouldn’t have placed me in this position that I ended up in. When I was in grade 12, friends had a huge influence on me and that taught me a valuable lesson in life that our futures lie in our own hands.

I never used to take my work seriously in matric. I used to play with my friends all the time and take my work for granted, if only I could go back and fix my mistakes. I wish the time I spent fooling around with friends I had used to study hard. Andrew Payne was my partner in crime and best friend, but he turned out to be just the opposite of that.

My school work meant a lot to me before Andrew and I met, but things took a rough turn because of the bad influence he had on me. But to come to think of it, I chose to be influenced negatively because I didn’t prioritise well enough. My English teacher used to tell me that, “Matric is the most important because it is the one that leads us to our future careers.” But I was too blinded to see that. I only realised later on the results day, the 8th of January, when I didn’t make it and had not obtained what I wanted to achieve.

The pain and regret that I had when I got my results felt like it was just a dream but there was no turning back. The disappointment that my mother had towards me was indescribable, her heart was torn apart when I had told her I didn’t make it and seeing her heart broken that also made me feel emotional.

The best lessons are learnt the hardest ways; I guess I was too late to realise I was making costly mistakes. If only I could turn back the clock, undo my mistakes, I would live a life with no regrets. The constant regret of “I could have said no!”


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