Matric pupil who attained nine As and a 96.14% aggregate says matric experience felt rocky

By MaryAnne Isaac Time of article published Mar 5, 2021

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Durban - Despite the uncertainty and unprecedented challenges that hung over the matric class of 2020, they fared better than expected even when the year was marred by disruptions due to the pandemic.

The class of 2020 has proven their naysayers wrong and are the most outstanding matric class known for their resilience and determination. One such outstanding pupil is Shaylen Pillay from Star College, Durban, who attained nine As and an aggregate of 96.14% in his NSC matric exams.

The top achiever says even though matric felt like a rocky experience with limited time and yet so much to study, he feels thrilled with his results knowing that he accomplished his goals.

“I feel thrilled but mostly relieved as there was much uncertainty about our results and it feels good to know that I have accomplished my goals. The entire year flies by so quickly and there is so much of work and studying to do and so little time. Since matric is your sole focus, every other aspect of my life was side-lined,” says Pillay.

Speaking about the challenges he had to face last year, Pillay says the lack of time with an overwhelming workload was challenging to overcome but the biggest highlight was having the support of his family and friends.

“One challenge that I had faced was the lack of time and coping with the workload. I found that the best way to overcome this was planning ahead, managing my time and avoiding procrastination. Adapting to online learning was also a challenge as I felt that I was not as engaged in the lessons. I usually had to go over topics on my own to consolidate my work.

“The highlights were definitely moments that I got to spend with friends and family. The entire year revolves around academics and I feel that those moments offered a needed break even if it was in a physically distanced manner. It is important to remember that the matric year is the end of a long part of our lives and that is why moments like graduation and social time is so important.

“What kept me going was the fact that I knew how important the year was and the fact that it was an accumulation of 12 years of schooling and giving up was never an option. My family and friends also provided support and gave me the motivation to persevere.”

His study schedule included taking breaks, relaxing and getting enough sleep and he says that these habits helped him achieve a balanced lifestyle and ensured that he did not get overwhelmed by the workload.

Pillay is pursuing an actuarial science degree at the University of Cape Town this year.

“I am excited to discover more about my passions, interests, about myself and how I can make a difference in the future ahead,” says Pillay.

A resilient class of 2020 has taught us that in spite of uncertainty and chaos, there is a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.

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