Final matric exams are around the corner and its your turn to undergo this rite-of-passage. It’s inevitable that right now you are probably feeling a mixture of trepidation, excitement and perhaps a touch of fear? A universal nervous question of: What if I don’t get the results I’m hoping for? is normal to be asking at this stage. It’s an indication that you are conscientious about your future.
First off – lets place some perspective on things. You’re putting in the study hours and have a timetable to help you keep to schedule. So take a deep breath and remember what Samantha Pretorius, a Counselling Psychologist, said “There is light at the end of the tunnel.” You may need to change how you get to where you plan to be, but the good news is there are plenty of options still available to you and matric results are an important milestone not a barometer for life success.
First things First:
- Keep perspective: The first step is to remember what Pretorius advices: “Yes, matric is important but it is not the be all and end all. Parents, teachers and peers must enforce this message. Not everyone is a straight-A student. Just because someone isn’t academically strong [or makes a mistake in a matric exam], doesn’t mean they won’t be successful in life.”
- Give it another go: This isn’t the only opportunity to perform. While not what you may plan for in reality there are plenty of alternatives available to students who don’t get the high-flying grades they were hoping for. “They may be able to write reassessments or supplementary exams in order to better their results,” says Pretorius. “They can also go back to school to redo a particular subject. This enables students to put all their focus into that one problematic subject. It also gives them the opportunity to attain the level of maturity needed to embark on their careers and to explore the job options available to them. They may even gain some work experience in those fields, simultaneously bringing in an income.”
- Consider Various Career Avenues: Many fields are not academically orientated, practical vocations and creative studies provide good future career option. Apprenticeships and internships give students real-world experience of various fulfilling careers.
Something to also consider is taking a shorter course. “There are higher certificates and diplomas on offer that that can help you get to where you want via an indirect route,” says Pretorius. “This way, you take bite-sized chunks towards your career aspirations rather than committing once-off to a qualification that you aren’t prepared for.”
Essentially, we need to temper the pressure put on students with the reality that while not everyone is going to sail through matric. Matric exams are tough. Requiring application of knowledge as well as courage and resilience. The ideal approach is to study hard and do your best on the day of your exam. There’s not too much more that should be expected from a diligent matric undergoing finals.
Gap Year Breaks After Matric
Pretorius maintains that, “Not everyone needs to go straight into a tertiary institution either. In fact, many young people benefit from taking a break from one high-pressure situation (matric) before plunging themselves into another.”
One of the biggest objections to a matriculant taking a gap year ahead of pursuing a longer-term career building plan, is that it’s an excuse to have an extended vacation without taking control of one’s future. However, a structured gap year, with potential avenues that you are thinking of afterwards, can help you better achieve your longer-term goals as well as gain support for your gap year plan.
The Advantages of a Gap Year
- You’re more likely to be better focused in your future learning endeavours as you know what you really want to do and where you want to go
- You can save some money so that you don’t have to earn as much to keep yourself afloat while you study
- Work experience and volunteering are a plus on your CV
3 Things to Consider
- You will encounter opposition to your decision: How you phrase things when you make your decision and later on your CV will either garnish support or raise questions. A carefully planned gap year, with goals, is a great way to counter negativity and get people’s support
- You may find it difficult to go back to a learning environment: Deciding upfront on why you want to take time out and committing to a limited timeframe to do it, will help you overcome potential future difficulties and bolster your determination to stay-the-course if things get rough
- You will be a year behind your contemporaries and friends: Good friends will stick around. Being in a different year merely gives you the opportunity to increase your possible friendship circle and have your thinking challenged by new people
Matric Parents, listen up!
To parents, Pretorius advises, “Keep reinforcing that there are many other options available to your child. We don’t want matriculants to get depressed when they see their results. Of course, there’ll be disappointment if goals haven’t been achieved and timelines must be adjusted. But parents must be realistic. Take your children’s individual circumstances into account: their specific situations, their particular abilities and the resources available to them. We must not have blanket expectations of all students.”
While a matric certificate is a qualifying requirement, SACAP offers a range of courses to graduates. “We cater to everyone, from matriculants to mature students,” says Pretorius. “SACAP offers everything from one-year, entry-level certificates and diplomas to a fully certified Bachelor of Social Sciences degrees in Counselling, Human Resource Management or Business Management. We also offer various study options: part-time and full-time tuition, online and on-campus and evening and day programmes.” If you are interested in pursuing a career in the social sciences, counselling and communication or coaching, why not consider taking a course at SACAP?