Well folks, it’s that time of the year again: matriculants who completed their final examination period of high school during October/November of 2017 will be receiving their results, finding out whether they have passed matric or not.

This is a stressful time in any young person’s life as they and their parents anxiously wait to see their names in the newspaper, with a ‘Bachelor’s pass’ (passing all subjects with at least 50% and above) in order to be able to study further, whether at a college or university.

I am here to tell you that it’s okay to be nervous, whether or not you did well the rest of the year. I remember after completing my final exams, I found it extremely hard to sleep at night and would wander around the house aimlessly, thinking of ways I could escape to Japan or Ethiopia, in case I didn’t make it. I was terrified. I kept going over every exam paper in my head, thinking of areas I may have lost marks; I did not enjoy my holiday at all.

The truth is, guys, what you put in is usually what you get out. If you worked hard throughout the year and put your studies first, you’d know that you passed, the only question being how well the pass was. If you worked well and consistently and still struggled academically, please remember not to lose hope. Once the marks are released, you will know what steps to take to ensure a good future (whether you passed or failed matric).

Do not let anyone tell you that failing matric will mean that you won’t be a success in life. There are examples of successful people who didn’t finish school, but were realistic and persevering about their goals – they didn’t give up, but found other paths to their dreams. You just have to work out what is right for you.

But if you decide you do need that matric, but you failed one or two subjects, you can write a supplementary exam in February/March in order to improve your grade. If you did, however, fail more than two subjects, you would either be writing those subjects over in June, or during the November examination period.

Never be ashamed of trying again. I know many people who passed matric, but decided to rewrite a few subjects, or simply registered to repeat the entire year of grade 12 because they didn’t get the marks they needed to enter certain fields of study.

Life is not a race, do what is best for you. Stick your pride in your pocket and go for extra lessons to prepare for your exams if you decide to rewrite any subjects.

I remember passing all of my subjects well in matric and even got a few distinctions, but only managed to obtain a 25% for Mathematics. Since I wanted to be doctor, I knew that my other grades would not matter if I failed Math. I then decided to take a gap year and focus on volunteering at hospitals, whilst simultaneously preparing to rewrite my Math exam.

However, after passing Math with 35% after my THIRD try at rewriting (I rewrote in February, June and November of that year, I was a die-hard, guys) and nearly fainting as I witnessed a womb-scrape and enema (medical procedures) at Victoria Hospital, I quickly realised that I would never become a doctor, not a medical one at least. It was really hard for me to realise that Medicine was not the career path that I was meant to go into, but I was glad that I discovered it before beginning any further studies.

Life is full of lessons and bumps, do not be discouraged by not reaching your goals within a certain time period, if you didn’t do well or ended up failing, simply dust yourself off and try again, or explore a new path that suits you better. If you find that you passed well, my congratulations are upon you and your family, because it takes a village to raise a child.

I wish all the matriculants well and pray for their happiness, posterity and success in 2018 – whatever you choose to do. Good luck and God bless!