Matric year is probably one of the most stressful times of any student’s life. It’s a make or break moment because after 12 years of school all your hard will either come into fruition or fall at your feet. From writing the final exams in December to waiting for the final results that come out in January, it’s always a mind game that can affect students in different ways.

It is especially intense for students who had to learn during a pandemic, something that is unique to students of 2019, 2020 and 2021. Learning from home had its own challenges. The lack of space and room for those who live in small houses, to the mental stress of having to learn most things on your own without the help of a teacher.

All these can make or break how good or bad you do on your final matric results. Amber and I finished matric at a different time, of course. In 2014, that sounds like a century ago when I was 17 and honestly excited about the future, I was also scared because I wanted to pass well so bad. I remember the last day in high school, we were signing each other’s shirts, and it was a sunny day filled with unknown possibilities and positive words of encouragement.

That December was the longest of my life, I was moving to a different province not even knowing what career I wanted to do. As an over thinker my mind convinced me that I failed my matric year, I remember I couldn’t even enjoy the Christmas dinner because my mind kept reminding me about the failures I would face in January. When the day for the results came out, I remember being so nervous that I couldn’t eat anything. I didn’t have money to buy the newspaper to check myself so I contacted my friends back home. When they shared that I passed, I couldn’t believe it.

So if you feeling doubt, stress, anxiety and even depressed because of your matric results just remember how hard you worked to get to the final year. Remember that not even a pandemic could get in the way of you passing and remember not many could even do what you were able to do during a pandemic. To help you deal with the worrying until January, we will share things that helped Amber and I.

How to deal with the stress of waiting for matric results:

Failure isn’t a step back – failing especially during your teenage years seems like such a life altering event. Remember many of the people you look up to have failed even once in their lives. If failure comes, pick yourself up and take steps to improve more. Failure will also hurt you, in the sense that you may blame yourself or make you feel like you aren’t good enough. However, some things truly happen for a reason and you will defiantly rise from it.

Believe in yourself – trust that you did your best. No matter what, don’t doubt that you worked hard and to the best of your abilities. Remind yourself daily if you have to.

Don’t compare yourself to others – we all learn differently and we all pass/fail differently. Don’t compare how smart so and so is to you. The results will reflect your work; if you worked hard enough your marks will reflect your hard work. But even if it doesn’t, work even harder and try again.

Enjoy your December – I can’t tell you what I did for my December during my matric year because of the pressure I put on myself. Nothing is going to change no matter how much you stress, so you might as well enjoy your holiday because January brings new worries and responsibilities. Live in the moment and spend time doing what you love.

Distract yourself – find fun activities to do during December to take your mind off thinking about the results. Avoid talking about it all the time and find other things to talk about to distract you. Amber for instance enjoys the beach, so she spent a lot of time with her family at the beach, taking in the fresh air.

Take care of your mental health – any type of stress is not good for your mental health, especially during a holiday. Just keep reminding yourself of the person you are no matter what the results say.

As humans we are so hard on ourselves that we forget to live our lives to the fullest. It’s important to achieve something in life, but it should never come at the expense of your happiness. Life after matric means a new journey, starting a new chapter. Many of us go in different directions, but no matter what those results are in January, remember that they don’t and will never define you.


Read more here on our previous blog on student funding

Tell us: What other advice would you give a matric student?