I always thought that I had things under control; thought that I could multitask the things in my life. I believed in the saying ‘Work hard, play hard’. But for me, it seemed that I played too hard rather than studying. I have taught myself a lot since then.

A few years back, if someone had told me that life would never go the way I expected it to, I would laugh and tell them that they had the wrong idea about life. But just a few weeks ago, I realised that what they were saying was actually true.

I started matric earlier this year. I was just eighteen years old, and knew so little about the hardships that come with growing up. At that point in my life, I thought that being eighteen meant that I was somehow wiser. I thought being in matric made me standout from all of my peers and was the key to my future success. It might have been that way; if only I had a more positive attitude and greater self-respect.

In those days, I had the best of friends. You know what they say, “Birds of a feather flock together.” We had the best times of our lives then. We were so mature that one would swear we were already in varsity. Months, weeks, and days passed in school with us having so much fun. That is, until we wrote our last paper. Believe me, until then, I thought that I knew what I was doing every time I studied. But I was wrong.

The 6th of January was the day I saw my life flash before my eyes. On that day I finally believed that life didn’t always turn out the way one expected it to. My matric results showed that I didn’t make it. It was so hard to believe at first that I felt like I was living a nightmare. I had so many big plans for the next year, but I guess it was all just a big dream.

I saw myself as a failure, as someone who was useless to the world. I have never been a saint, nor a good girl; I have done things wrong and some right. That is until something or someone inside me gave me hope. I thought to myself, “The choices you make today will be with you for the rest of your life.” I reckon that my failure is a consequence of my past life style.

It took me days to actually face the real world again. I was ashamed of my failures, but who wouldn’t be? I wouldn’t log onto social media because everyone was sharing their joy at passing matric. And I remember that when they were sharing that they were studying hard, I was “checking in” at a party. That was me, always the partier.

I then realised that feeling sorry for myself wouldn’t help. I knew I had to act, to do something about it. I got advice from family and friends, but it was up to me to decide what I wanted out of my future. Everyone just wanted what was best for me, but I knew that without education, life had no direction. I then decided to go back to school.

Truthfully speaking, I never liked the idea before, but I had to do what was right. From that day, I tried to always have a positive attitude. I felt like my failure would one day turn into a success. Believe me when I say, today I am a new person. I know the pain of failure, but I also know the fun side of life. This time around, I will not let it go wrong. I will never fail again.

It is said that the first steps might seem the hardest, but all the steps thereafter are the steps of glory. My days at the new school are the path to a brighter future. I always thought that I would never understand mathematics, but would you believe me if I said that I am now the top of my class. It feels like a dream, and I actually like being at school now. There are those who see me just as a girl who is too proud, a girl that doesn’t want to make new friends. But truthfully, I am like that. I just know what I want now. I want to go to school and work hard. I didn’t come to make friends or socialise. No thanks. I know that I will still face tribulations on this new path I chose to take. A new school is only the beginning for me.

A few days ago, I decided that I wanted to become a solider, not because it is my dream career, but because I am now looking at life from a different perspective. I come from a poor family, not that I would go to bed hungry, but sometimes we couldn’t make ends meet. My mother and father are both unemployed, even though they had sent me to a private school. They were only trying to do what was best for me, but look what life turned it in. I had failed. Sometimes my parents would miss a month or two of paying my school fees, not because they didn’t want to, but they had no money. That is until my brother got a job to help out. He wasn’t the only one to help out the family though.

My grandmother paid for my brother and sister’s fees. The woman is a blessing to this family, but there is no way she would let you tell her so. She is a God-fearing woman, with love and peace in her heart, and doesn’t tolerate any nonsense. She is still on about me becoming a solder; she worries for me. I remember last year, my dress for my matric dance was too expensive, not to mention all of other things I needed for the dance. I wanted to give up on going, knowing full well that my family could not afford it all. But my grandmother said to me, “We have been through a lot in this family; a little extra monetary sacrifice for a month wouldn’t kill us. If this is what you want, you will get it.” Her generosity and kindness contributed to my desire to get a job.

I wanted to rectify my wrongs. I wanted to get a job so that I could pay my own way in varsity. I had already had enough disappointments in my life. I wanted to do something that I was going to be proud of, no matter how much my family disapproved of my new career path. There is so much more to life than giving up, and I want to succeed.


Tell us: Who motivates you in your family?