Finding an balance between working hard and having fun with friends and family was key for pupils from the matric class of 2023, who wrote the Independent Examinations board (IEB) National Senior Certificate and excelled by making it onto the Outstanding Achievements list.
David van Rooyen, 18, from Clifton, who plans to study actuarial science at UCT, said the exams went well apart from Afrikaans which was tough.
As the head boy of the school, David said his matric year was very busy but he enjoyed it.
He said what helped him balance his duties and school work was to be extra focused at school.
“I focused in class and used all of my free time in school to get work done,” he said.
David said he found doing dozens of past papers for all his subjects helped him. “Where you get the most confidence is by sitting for three hours and doing the paper properly then marking it.”
Diyajal Dass, 18, from Ashton International College in Ballito, said she was torn between studying medicine and actuarial science at UCT.
Overall, she said the exams went well besides maths and life sciences, which was difficult.
Diyajal said the death of a classmate at the beginning of the year as a result of a motorcycle accident was a blow to her and the school.
“I was in shock that someone as young as that passed away,” she said.
She said this tragedy motivated her to seek every opportunity and to “grab the bull by the horns” by taking on extra class work to better herself.
“My grandparents got sick and there was so much pressure to balance life and school work,” she added.
Diyajal’s advice for the matric class of 2024 is that time management is key.
“Seek balance because the week can be challenging with school work and cultural activities. Take time on the weekends for self love and care.”
She said prior to the exams, begin a well balanced diet and decrease screen time on your phone as it is a big distraction.
Eryn Casey, 18 from Our Lady of Fatima Dominican Convent School said her matric year was a blast.
“I worked hard throughout the year. I used swimming as a way to release stress and also had to find a balance between studying and resting,” she said.
Eryn added that she is hoping to study chemical engineering at Stellenbosch University.
“I would advise the matric class of 2024 to try your best. Take on the challenge of matric and come through it with a smile. You won’t believe how quick the year goes. ”
Saimeska Padayachee, 18, also from Our Lady of Fatima said that she found the academic year demanding and stressful.
“It definitely was the toughest year in school for me. I coped with the year by not focusing on the noise around me. I also looked for support from my family, friends and teachers. I started preparing early and did not procrastinate in my studies,” she said.
Saimeska’s advice for this year’s matric pupils was to start preparing early.
“Find a balance between your studies and releasing stress. Enjoy and cherish every moment and before you know it, it will be the end of the year and you will be waiting for your matric results.”
She has applied to study Health Science at five universities in South Africa and will soon decide where she would like to study.
Another Our Lady of Fatima pupil, Manaal Omar, 17, said that it was a challenging year.
“I did enjoy it and made lovely memories with my friends as I know I might not be seeing them for a long time.”
Manaal said that there is a lot of pressure placed on matrics and what helped her was prayer.
“For me praying to God helped me out. I had my teachers and my family and they were a great support system.”
She added that she is still deciding on what to study.
Kirsti Erasmus, 18, from Our Lady of Fatima plans to study data science at Stellenbosch University.
She said the matric year was the best year of her schooling career. “It was an intense year because it is shorter. I used the study recall technique which helped me to get through the year smoothly.”
Kirsti said that she found comfort with friends and family during this challenging year.
Her advice for this year’s matric pupils was to not procrastinate.
“Get on top of your work. Make the most of it as it’s your final year, take breaks and have fun.”