Top matric pupils Ryan Wood (Glenwood High School) Ishan Jewnarain (Northwood), Thiyashan Pillay (Durban High School) and Shaheen Govender (Westville Boys) Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency(ANA)
Top matric pupils Ryan Wood (Glenwood High School) Ishan Jewnarain (Northwood), Thiyashan Pillay (Durban High School) and Shaheen Govender (Westville Boys) Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency(ANA)

Lockdown was a blessing in disguise for top achievers

By Karen Singh Time of article published Feb 23, 2021

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DURBAN - MATRIC pupils from boys’ schools in Durban, who all received seven distinctions, said yesterday that the lockdown to curb the spread of Covid-19 was a “blessing in disguise”.

Shaheen Govender, from Westville Boys High School, said he had not been happy with some of his exams, especially physics, because there were a few errors in the question paper but overall it was not too bad.

He said the lockdown had had its pros and cons, but he found it to be advantageous because he worked best on his own.

“I could work during my most productive hours,” he said.

He added that his mother checked on him often, which also assisted and motivated him.

His advice for this year’s matric pupils was “it’s not who works the hardest but it’s whoever works the smartest”.

He said he used his mother’s advice to follow a balanced lifestyle throughout the year.

“It's all about finding a balance between your social life, sports, fitness and work at the same time,” said Shaheen.

As a result of the lockdown, Shaheen said he also discovered new hobbies which allowed him to relax.

“I started baking and cooking. It gave me time to develop good habits ... I started reading more because there was a lot more time,” he said.

Shaheen hopes to study medicine at UCT this year.

Thiyashan Pillay, from Durban High School, said his final exams were not that challenging because he had worked throughout the year.

“It wasn’t really much of an obstacle. It was just something that we had to do, it wasn’t difficult,” he said.

Thiyashan said he had been working independently from Grade 8 and last year suited his style of doing school work.

“I got to do a lot of my work fast at my own pace. So I got to put in more practice and I got to do more past papers and then I just got better and better,” he said.

He said listening to motivational recordings by his favourite Formula One driver, Lewis Hamilton, kept him motivated.

Thiyashan added that he broke his day up and worked in moderation.

He said his advice for the class of 2021 was not to let the work pile up.

“Once you get things piling up, it just becomes harder and harder and then you are just drowning in work. So always keep up to date.”

Thiyashan plans to study mechatronics, which he describes as a mix of all the engineering fields, at UCT.

Ryan Wood, from Glenwood High School, said his exams and the year as a whole were quite challenging.

Ryan said the lockdown had a positive impact in that he was able to start preparing for the final exams earlier.

“I was given the extra time to focus solely on my academics. So I think it benefited me in the long run,” he said.

He said training every day and calling his friends helped him relax while doing his school work.

Ryan said the most important thing for this year’s matric pupils to remember was consistency and to work from the beginning of the year.

“Work hard, but also have a balanced lifestyle and not just solely focus on academics. Have a rest, get some exercise, it'll help,” he said.

Ryan will be studying medicine at the University of Stellenbosch.

Ishan Jewnarain, 18, from Northwood School, said the final matric exam was not that stressful as he too had worked consistently throughout the year.

He said that the lockdown was a blessing in disguise.

“It's allowed us to become more independent with online exams, and to prepare us for university. I think that was the best that you could take out of it,” he said.

Ishan’s advice for this year’s matric pupils was not to stress too much.

“It’s not as stressful as people say it is. You have to keep calm, exercise, eat healthily, keep a cool head, work hard, keep motivated and work diligently and you’ll be fine at the end of the day,” he said.

Ishan plans to study actuarial science at the University of Stellenbosch this year.

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The Mercury

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