I know the title says ”Life after matric” but I thought it would be appropriate to start at the beginning – first day at school.

I remember it as though it was yesterday. The sunny day that remarked the beginning of something huge and better: my future had finally come. I was nervous like any other kid, but deep down I was looking forward to this journey. The first time I wrote my name without any mistakes or help, told me that I was growing.

As a child, I always longed to be an adult; I was impatient. I wanted to grow and I wanted to grow now. As I look back now, I regret ever trying to force time to rush by, because I never knew growing up could come with so many challenges and pressures.

There were always people I looked up to. But God knows I always wanted to be my brother. I was in Grade 6 when he was doing his matric, and I asked myself, when would my turn come?

I looked at him; he was proud, walking tall and excited about finishing high school and I thought I could do better.

As I was counting days left for me to go to middle school, he was facing the battle of them all – finals. I watched him burn the mid-night oil and I pictured myself sitting in that chair, reading this huge book written Biology on it.

Well middle school was fun as I learnt things I never knew about myself. I discovered my strengths and weaknesses. I was fascinated by science: its mysteries, facts and myths. Mathematics was my life, the reason why I went to school.

I knew I was good at these subjects and I loved my maths teacher; for she made me to believe in myself. She saw potential in me I never knew existed, not only that but she nurtured and unleashed it.

Middle school was like home to me. I felt free to be who I wanted to be. I developed and I felt comfortable, even had and knew my comfort zone. But that was never good enough. Even though I was at ease, my main goal was to be in Grade 12 and to pass it with excellent marks.

The day came when my dreams became a reality; my days at high school. I won’t lie, it was good, but I felt completely lost as I didn’t fit in. Maths and science was the subject I chose because I knew I was good at them and they fitted well with my personality.

Challenging as it was adjusting to new school, new teachers, I gave it my best. I managed to fight and focus on my studies even though my grades dropped drastically. I still imagined myself in matric and I wouldn’t give up on that dream even if I was paid to.

I began to hate maths, not because of the challenges it gave me but because I lost my mentor when I switched school. I never felt sorry for myself but took all this as a motivation to try harder.

The day came when I got my results. I was finally going to grade twelve. I rejoiced that day. I was so excited – over the moon – that finally I could sense and see my goal.

I already knew what I wanted to study afterwards and nothing could ever get in my way. The challenge was great but I worked hard and studied like a maniac. It paid off. I passed my matric better than my brother.

I would usually hear people telling me that I should apply to a higher institution while I was in matric but I didn’t do that. It created an obstacle in my way. I wasted a lot of money that I didn’t have on application fees that didn’t go through. The point of applying earlier is that you get a space reserved specially for you and also you can plan things correctly.

This forced me to take a gap year that I didn’t plan and it made things harder for me financially.

It would be a lie if I said I had it easy. I was at home doing nothing; wasting my time. I felt as if I failed myself, that I didn’t try harder. I knew I deserved to be at varsity studying what I love, because without a career, my dream, I was nothing but a statistic.

I wanted to make my mark, wanted so much to be successful that I allowed fake people to give me high hopes that they would assist me. I couldn’t register because someone close to me told me that they would pay for my studies, or at least aid whenever I needed them, but they didn’t. I didn’t know I would be left in this den alone and confused.

It was daunting, I won’t lie. After my hard work I was stuck with just a matric certificate and this huge dream that was eating up my soul.

I chose not to play a victim; I refused to accept, move on and hopefully try again. Fighting for what you believe in is never easy you will find obstacles and you will fall. It’s within you to either give up or keep fighting as the saying says ”It’s never about how much you fall, but it’s about how much you rise again”.

Doors will be closed on you, even shut right in your face, but I believe if it was meant for you it will be yours. Believe in yourself and never give up.