DURBAN - TOP matric achievers from Durban schools were all in agreement that their final year of schooling was extremely stressful.
The pupils, who all obtained either nine or eight distinctions, told The Mercury yesterday that they had to come up with strategies to deal with an intense workload due to the disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and the July unrest.
Ria Sewsunker, 18, who achieved eight distinctions from Northlands Girls’ High School, said it was a stressful period but she was glad she was able to overcome the challenges.
“The night before the exams I used to get nervous but as soon as I got into the exam room I managed to calm myself and write.”
Ria is still undecided as to what she’ll be studying this year but is keen to pursue health sciences at either the UWC or University of Pretoria.
Samuel Soodyall, 18, from Star College, who obtained nine distinctions, also spoke about feeling the pressure of the final matric exams.
He said that to deal with the anxiety he talked to his parents, studied hard and hoped for the best.
Samuel said his passion to help people had propelled him to study medicine at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
Kaylin Naidoo, 17, also from Star College, who achieved eight distinctions, said he did not find the final exams difficult as he had prepared sufficiently due to the trial exams.
He said what worked for him while studying was remembering which topics his teachers had told him to focus on and doing papers from past years.
Kaylin, who will be studying computer engineering at the University of Pretoria, said one of the challenges was working on his own because of the disruptions during the year.
Another Star College pupil, Raylen
Naidoo, 18, who achieved eight distinctions, agreed that it was a stressful year.
“I think for most students it will be naturally stressful because it is the end of a phase of our lives and you are beginning a new chapter after this.
“So all of those stresses and worries come into play in your head. But I feel I managed it well.
“I had the right environment to manage it, with the support of my school, family and friends. It was not pleasant but it was not the most challenging thing.”
He said he would like to study mechanical engineering at UCT.
Another Star College pupil, Kailen Govender, 18, who achieved nine distinctions, agreed with his peers that it was a challenging year.
“Trying to put aside everything from our social lives for a whole year was very difficult,” he said.
Kailen plans to study actuarial science at Wits this year.
Mikail Kreuzer, 19, who achieved nine distinctions from Durban High School, said the school year started late owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, which made it more difficult.
“We were already behind, but we just kept working. We were writing from June all the way up to the finals, so it was quite stressful but we did manage to get through and I’m glad we got through it,” said Kreuzer, who is planning to study medicine.
Tusani Mthembu, 17, who achieved eight distinctions from Durban High School, said the workload for the matric year was tough.
“It was stressful due to the workload we had to handle. But I managed to get through that and maintain consistency in order do well with my studies.”
He said he would be studying actuarial science at UCT.
Jaedon Naidu, 17, from Eden College, who obtained eight distinctions, agreed that it had been a difficult year. “It was more challenging because of the pandemic but with hard work I think it paid off in the end.”
He said he would be studying either medicine or computer science.
Shraya Archary, 17, also from Eden College, who achieved eight distinctions, said despite the disruptions that occurred she had focused on enjoying her final year of school.
“It was very challenging with the civil unrest and Covid-19, but with the support of teachers and family I forged ahead. So I enjoyed the year.” Medicine at UCT is her preferred course of study.
Describing the matric year, Sejal Dwarka, 18, who achieved eight distinctions from Westville Girls’ High, said: “When you thought it couldn’t get worse, it did. Towards the end, everything came together and everyone played their part and it was smooth sailing, so I appreciate that.”
She said she wants to study medicine at the University of Pretoria.