Matric learner explains his successes

By Michelle Lorber Time of article published Mar 1, 2021

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Kiarin Naidoo of Westville Boys' High School chalked up eight As and achieved a spectacular 100% in accounting.

Naidoo’s study methods are organised, adapted to his strengths and he prepared well before time.

“I followed a strict studying regime comprising completion of past question papers, thorough reading of my notes and watching YouTube tutorials and videos,” he says.

“I would also stand in front of my mirror and teach back my content to ensure my understanding was sound. Given that I’m an auditory learner, I tried to incorporate sound into my learning through use of my voice and sound.

“I used the lockdown as an opportunity to work ahead by myself using online platforms and materials to complete the syllabus,” he explains.

“The first challenge of the year was the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown. This cut into valuable learning time at school and forced me and the rest of the class of 2020 to adapt and employ individual learning methods.

“This in itself was a challenge, having to work by myself and follow my own routine was exceptionally difficult. I was so used to the structure provided by school that I found myself becoming overwhelmed and lost.

“The wearing of masks during exams was also a challenge, it felt as though my head was clouded and I battled to think straight and focus during my final exams. However, I do understand that it was a necessary measure. “

“During the lockdown, ultimately, as clichéd as it sounds, a balanced lifestyle allowed me to reduce my stress levels. I found refuge in structure. Since my days during lockdown followed broadly the same routine, my mind was kept occupied, allowing me to remain almost stress-free. I found that physical exercise at home relieved some of the stress.

“I found peace in my passion for music and learning new songs on my guitar.

“The time in between was filled with work and studying. This routine worked for the most part, however there were days when I was completely consumed by anxiety. Especially when there was much uncertainty regarding the matric exams, the papers being leaked, and the return-to-school policies.”

Of his marks, he says: “I achieved distinctions in English Home Language, Afrikaans First Additional Language, maths, physical sciences, life Sciences, life orientation, accounting and advanced programme maths (which is an IEB subject).”

“English was the subject I struggled the most with and out of my seven NSC subjects, it was my lowest mark (91%). We are all used to speaking English, but being tested on it is a different game altogether. I feel as though my understanding of the subject was limited.

“Looking back on my final exams, I felt like emotionally breaking down after my English final Paper 1 because I thought it had gone terribly. My final mark definitely came as a huge shock to me.

“My advice to 2021 matrics is: the only thing standing in between you and your aspirations, is you. Once you overcome this, you will be unstoppable. Another piece of advice would be to always look at every situation, no matter how bad it is, as an opportunity for growth and personal development.”

Naidoo also had a strong support system. “My family was my pillar of strength. Their support and motivation enabled me to reach heights I never thought I could have ever achieved,” he acknowledges.

“My teachers went the extra mile. I think the pandemic has had an even worse impact on teachers than it has had on us students. I believe that teachers are the unsung heroes of 2020.

“My teachers had to juggle between contact classes for the gentlemen who attended school and host online lessons for those boys with comorbidities.

“My teachers would further sacrifice their afternoons and evenings to answer questions and queries. My teachers, and many others in South Africa, went beyond their call of duty to ensure that we were as prepared as we could possibly have been for the final exams. My teachers also had to adapt to employ new methods of teaching and online platforms, a major shift.”

As to his future plans, Naidoo says: “I plan on pursuing a career in medicine. I have a deep desire to help people. My goal is to complete my degree with flying colours and subsequently specialise in a discipline of medicine.”

Naidoo’s hobbies include playing the guitar, reading, gaming and learning new things.

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