On July 25, 2004, I was welcomed into this planet. I was born and raised in the Limpopo provincial village of Sehlakwane. I started education at Makhuma Public school and stayed for exactly ten years. I was frightened of failing, so I worked extremely hard in school. I worked hard and won numerous competitions and awards because of my efforts. My educators and the entire school were quite proud of me. I recall educators like Maam Mashabela, Maam Mkhabela, Maam Tholo, and others who looked up to me to the point where I thought they despised me, only to discover that they were assisting me. I’m grateful for the pressure they put on me. They made me believe in my dreams.

I’ve always wanted to be a doctor since I was a child. “What do you want to be when you grow up?” everyone inquired. I said boldly, “I want to be a doctor.” I grew up in an environment where many ambitions were broken by drugs, alcohol, a lack of vision, and peer pressure. I convinced myself that it would not be me, and all I wanted was for things to change. I made numerous poor judgments and blunders, but I took each as a learning experience. I treated my professors the same way I treated my parents. I followed every rule and was aware that if I broke even one, I would face severe consequences.

After primary school, as it should be, we attend high school. I want to go into detail about my high school experience because it is where I first encountered real life. I went to Tjetje technical high school after finishing grade nine. I’ve heard that the school provides excellent preparation for a future as a doctor. My first year of high school was terrible since we were dealing with the world’s worst pandemic sickness, which affected everything. And I made it to grade eleven. I became very comfortable and enabled myself to befriend other learners. High school is totally different from primary school. There are numerous distractions, and you have a great chance of succumbing to any of them.

I befriended myself with negative folks at the start of the year. I convinced myself that it was still the first term and that I had plenty of time until the final exams in December. I played a lot in class and didn’t give myself enough time to concentrate because I was preoccupied with friends and social media platforms like Facebook. I wanted to be popular like other influencers, so I spent a lot of time on social media amusing people with funny postings. My grades had fallen, which caused me great concern. Teachers like Sir Bopape and Sir Khumalo warned me about the friends I chose, and I’m glad I listened. When you are not present, you will never know what your close buddies are up to.

Later in December, I completed one of my short-term goals by passing grade 11 and moving on to grade 12. That was the most thrilling journey to look forward to. Not only did I make myself proud, but I also made my family proud. I couldn’t wait to start one of those grade 12 classes. My matriculation adventure began in 2022. The teachers welcomed us with heartfelt speeches, and I appreciated how everyone emphasized the need of working as hard as we possibly could. The stakes were high. Everyone had high hopes for me.

My school was 8.2 kilometres away from my house. I had no choice but to attend our school’s weekend classes. Every weekend, I had to walk over two hours to school. It was a difficult task, but I committed to it. I went to school every school holiday. The worst month for me was June, when the mornings were cold, and I had to cross rivers to get to school. I didn’t have any money for taxis, so I my savings to buy food or other study materials. I was unwell for about two months, and we were nearing the end of our June exams. I didn’t enjoy writing. I struggled a lot.

June tests were completed, trial exams were completed, and we were ready for our final exams. The actual Second World War. I’m not going to lie, everything was difficult. I studied like there was no tomorrow. I left school at 5 p.m. and got home at 7 p.m. And I did so well on my final examinations. It all came down to how I studied. Having a study group, studying a few days before the exam, and studying using past papers all aided greatly. As the Torah states, we must have something in order to get a favour. I had something and I received something.

The big day arrived. The day of the results, and guess what? I made it with a lovely bachelor’s pass. It was an exciting time, and I was later admitted into the Vaal University of Technology’s Information and Technology program. It was not what I had hoped for as a child, but I accepted it. I didn’t want to stay at home because I was terrified of what life had in store for me. I already knew what was going to happen.

Finally, that concludes my academic adventure. I didn’t give up and grasped every opportunity with both hands. Recognize that life is not as difficult as you believe. Your actions are what make life appear challenging. You will succeed if you set your mind to it and remain constant in your efforts. What I’ve realized is that our teacher’s directions may appear to be bothering us at times, but they aren’t. Our teachers are our parents, and they want the best for us. With that said, I’d like to thank every teacher. Let it be the same for the next generation, because as time passes, they will require you more.

“You can do it; it is never too late”-anonymous