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Matric class of 2021: don’t be afraid to shift to plan B if things don’t work out

While disappointment is inevitable if your results are not as good as you had hoped, don’t despair – there are still various options available to help you achieve your dreams.

While disappointment is inevitable if your results are not as good as you had hoped, don’t despair – there are still various options available to help you achieve your dreams.

Published Jan 21, 2022


Matric class of 2021, as you receive your matric results and plan for your future, Abbotts College High School would like to share some words of wisdom from last year's matriculants.

Disappointment is always inevitable for matric pupils whose results were not as good as they had hoped, or for those who failed outright. However, these pupils should not despair and they must know that they still have various options available to achieve their dreams.

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Brand academic manager at Abbotts College, Yumna Moosa says for some, life is about experiencing things in the moment and taking it one day at a time. While for others, it is about planning your journey ahead towards achieving these plans.

“As creatures of habit, we tend to get attached to our plans and the idea that we need to achieve plan A. Unfortunately, we need to prepare ourselves for the reality that sometimes things may not go according to plan and there may be a need to shift to plan B,” says Moosa.

Moosa says a study of historical figures throughout time, as well as modern celebrities and entrepreneurs, shows us that even some of the greatest have had to adapt or change their plans by moving on to newer and more fruitful ones. This should give us hope for our own path towards success.

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“As adults, we tend to react differently when plan A changes to plan B. In some situations, the adrenaline, maybe even the fear, kicks in and we act immediately. Sometimes we need to wait for the smoke to clear before we can start working on a new, calculated plan of action. For high school pupils, the change is usually associated with not meeting the promotion requirements for the year or not achieving adequate marks for the career of their choice.

“This can be emotionally taxing, and it is therefore important for us as parents and educators to give them support and guidance toward the next steps on their path toward academic success and meeting their true potential.”

Moosa says parents can assist their children in three ways:

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Face and embrace the emotions

We need to allow our children to work through their emotions, but at the same time remind them that the setback could be a reflection of their efforts – not a reflection of them. Leave the door open to the idea that education is a work in progress and that a less than ideal result, such as failing matric does not mean the door to success has been closed.

We should be encouraging our children to accept failure in life as this becomes a great educational opportunity, especially when emotions are attached. As long as we intend to support and lovingly guide them without criticising, condemning or hurting, we can help them turn negative emotions into motivation.

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Develop a growth mindset

With the adoption of a growth mindset, young people become aware of the fact that all is not lost and that setbacks simply mean they have to continue working towards their goals. The way forward is to use our failures as a learning experience and an opportunity to learn and grow.

Traditional educational institutions are often very firmly focused on testing and getting the answers right. However, this is not necessarily the path to success for students who require a more flexible and less rigid environment. These young people often do extremely well if they are accommodated in a school that focuses on building on success, with constant feedback and opportunities to improve. As a result of this environment, many will gain a newfound confidence in their potential and abilities.

Identify and address personal hurdles

Students (and their parents) need to be realistic about their academic performance and reflect on the year to identify the “weak points” which led to the less than desirable results. This could be a lack of effort, which can easily be fixed with the right mindset and dedication. Over the years, the two most common weak points for students in high school have been the incorrect learning environment and incorrect subject choice. Finding the right institution can address this.

At Abbotts College, for instance, the strategy has been to shift away from the traditional classroom into a space where students are encouraged to express themselves within a supportive and respectful milieu. Frequent assessments help students work towards gradual and continued improvement and allow them to address troublesome areas early, so challenges are not left to escalate.

“With the right mentorship, support and learning methods, students are able to select the right subjects for them which also leads to greater success. So, students who are committed to making their Grade 12 dreams of success a reality, whether full-time or part-time, should not lose hope.

“Even those who just need to improve on their subjects to ensure that they meet tertiary Admission Point Score targets, are still able to do so by adopting a positive attitude and growth mindset.”

Find out more about Abbotts College here