Applied Psychology

How to make the most out of Matric

Mar 01, 2022 | By Saranne Durham
How to have the best Matric year - SACAP
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Matric is a year ahead of a new chapter in life and with it, change. It’s a year that’s full of opportunities and one-last-chances. So how do you end the year feeling like you’ve had the best matric? The key to having the best matric possible is to plan.

Planning isn’t something everyone enjoys. But with a plan you’ll find you’re able to get through the school work you need to do. As well as have guilt-free downtime and fun. These are five areas of your life it’s worth planning around to get the most out of your matric year.

“Having the best Matric possible is in your hands.”

1. Education and Future Career Planning

Matric places a lot of emphasis on studying and doing well in exams. Additionally, it’s often a time when you need to make some big decisions. Like what type of career you would like to have and therefore what you need to study after school.

Studying

First things first, get a year calendar with enough space to write on each day. Right now, you may not know the finer details upfront, like when you write a specific subject’s exam. However, you can find out the expected timing of the bigger things you know about during the year ahead.

  • Mark out expected exam and test periods.
  • Add in things like matric balls, school events and holidays.
  • Look up and put in any open days you’d like to attend.

This will give you a basic framework to work around. Make a list of how long it takes you to study for each subject and keep it nearby. Then, as you know when each subject’s test and exams are, you’ll know how to organise your time.

As you go along, remember to keep all your study notes from tests and assignments. This will mean that once you get to your exams you already have notes to review. It’ll save you time and you can focus on working through old exams rather than spend hours rewriting study notes.

“The best Matric can be boosted by not having to redo notes.”

Planning for Next Year

Essentially, you have three options for the next year. Your marks, finances and opportunities will determine which path is realistic. The three possibilities are study, work or taking a gap year.

It’s okay to not know. And you can tell people that you are still thinking when they ask you those potentially overwhelming questions. Such as, what are you going to do next year or, even worse, what are you going to do with your life? Take your time and think things through properly. Seek out people whose advice you trust and chat to them. During holidays, you can also shadow someone who’s working in the career area you are thinking of. You don’t want to bow to pressure or commit to something because you want an answer as soon as possible.

“Being organised better ensures you can accomplish what you’d like to do during your Matric year.”

2. Family and Friends

It’s very important to plan to spend time socialising during your matric year. This helps you relax as well as keep perspective within your life. It thereby helps to buffer against being overwhelmed. Add people’s birthdays into your calendar. That will give you an idea when you can expect to want to take out time to celebrate someone else. Plan to do things with your friends and add them onto your schedule. Next year, spending time with school friends might not be as easy as it is now. So, enjoy it while you can and while it’s easier to coordinate with them.

3. Leisure time and Exercise

Leisure time means different things for each of us. It’s primarily about doing something we enjoy, that relaxes us and takes our minds off everyday stresses or work.  You may enjoy making something, crafting or exploring your artistic side. Perhaps even cooking and for some people they find cleaning relaxing! It’s up to you.

Exercise, of some sort, is key to relaxing and keeping yourself healthy. It can be a team sport, running or going for a walk in a garden or place that relaxes you. Be creative in how you think about exercise. It can happen in unexpected ways. The point is to get moving and your blood pumping around your body.

4. Wellbeing and Wellness

Self-care is about having a specific intent to maintain your mental, emotional and physical health. It means looking after mental wellbeing and asking for help when you need it. Attitude is an important aspect of this. Therefore, be mindful of practising an attitude of gratitude.

Wellness includes balancing your diet by having regular meals and consciously deciding to eat healthily. Which impacts your mental capability, specifically your memory and concentration. While this doesn’t mean forgoing all treats, it may mean choosing the healthier snacks and being aware of comfort eating.

Sleep enough. Boasting how you sleep less so you can fit life and studying in is not something to get in the habit of. Increasingly you could find friends speaking about how little sleep they need or the coffee they drink to stay awake. Did you know that the average person needs 7 – 9 hours’ sleep a night? Sleep has an emotional, mental and physical health impact on us. Unless you want to be grumpy or remember less, then it’s not something to skimp on. So, plan around a realistic bedtime in relation to when you need to wake up.

Comparisons are odious. And social media is all about comparing your life with others. Which is neither healthy nor helpful. It can cause depression and prevent you from connecting with people around you. Digital wellness is about managing the way we interact with technology. Practically, it means limiting your screen time. And rather than pottering around the virtual meta universe, connecting with the physical world and face-to-face interactions.

“Gratitude and kindness are approaches which boost our wellness.”

5. Volunteer and Help Others

Volunteering has a few advantages. It builds your CV and extra-curricular activities. Both of which are advantageous when applying to study and being considered for future job opportunities. Helping and giving to others causes you to be outwardly focused. This takes your mind off your own challenges and keeps you in touch with the real world around you. It also helps to quash anxiety and helping others has been shown to boost your own happiness. Additionally, as you sow into someone else’s life, it’s a way to meaningfully connect with those you care about.

Your Best Matric

Matric can be fun or it can cause you an increasing amount of distress. To quite a large extent, you can determine which it is. With some planning you can have the best matric possible. It can be a year you look back on with a smile and be proud about.

What to do Next Year?

Do you enjoy helping people? Would you like a great baseline qualification that opens up fantastic opportunities for you? If so, explore possible options at the South African College of Applied Psychology (SACAP). Our three facilities, Applied Psychology, Management and Leadership and Social Work and Community Development, offer an array of full-time and part-time qualifications. You can choose to study at one of the 4 campuses in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Pretoria or Durban. Alternatively, there are two online options, online live or online flexi. Contact an admissions officer or enrol online today.

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