Life after matric: What happens now?

MATRIC class of 2020 take a bow for you have completed your final year of high school and that too during a pandemic. Photo by Keira Burton from Pexels.

MATRIC class of 2020 take a bow for you have completed your final year of high school and that too during a pandemic. Photo by Keira Burton from Pexels.

Published Feb 23, 2021


Durban - Life after matric is quite interesting as one experiences a plethora of possible opportunities and is able to evolve as an individual.

For some, the expectation or desire to study at a tertiary institution has become a reality and the pressures of ‘what-to-do-next’ is not a major concern at this point. However, for many others, the reality of not knowing what to do or where to go after matric is a disconcerting feeling.

I remember when I received my matric results. I was told by my family and friends “Congratulations, you’re now unemployed. Welcome to the real world!” I just shrugged it off but I guess they were right in a way. I was 18 and considered an adult.

It can feel scary and overwhelming at the time, but life after matric can be a beautiful life learning experience only if you see it as that – a beautiful learning experience

American actress Kelly McGillis once said: “Life is a journey and it's about growing and changing and coming to terms with who and what you are, and loving who and what you are.”

High school is your familiar safe space. You may outgrow your high school habits and lose contact with friends – which makes leaving a bit of a challenge. However, leaving high school means that you are now an adult and are ready to face the real world.

Here are six helpful guidelines on what you can do to prepare for life after matric.

1. Find a mentor

Having a senior and more experienced person guiding you in life will help you in the long run. You can either choose to have a mentor in the career field you want to pursue or someone who has vast knowledge and experience in life itself. A mentor will help you grow as a person in understanding and decision-making. Choose carefully as this person’s life habits will rub off on you.

2. Further your studies

Most matriculants will choose to further their education after high school through a TVET college, university or correspondence institute. Studying after matric will give you the opportunity to work towards a qualification that will help you land your dream job. You can study full-time or study and work part-time – the choice is yours.

Studying straight after high school also helps you maintain the momentum and discipline of learning and studying for exams.

3. Work experience

If you are still deciding on the career to pursue or are saving up to further your studies, you can gain work experience in the career field you are thinking of pursuing and earn money. Working after high school also allows you to refine your soft skills and learn the hard skills needed for your future career.

4. Gap year

If your matric year was stressful and you feel like you need a break before committing to a job or a four-year degree course, then a gap year would be best. It’s the perfect opportunity to do whatever you want. Travel a little, work abroad, volunteer for the year, discover your passion and talents – it’s all up to you. However, when travelling or working abroad, you must take all Covid-19 safety protocols into consideration.

5. Take a career quiz

If you are unsure about what career you should pursue or in doubt about whether it would suit your personality, you should take a career quiz to determine if your personality is a match for your dream job. You don’t want to take up public speaking only to find out that you are an introvert who dislikes having to confront face-to-face live audiences. These career quizzes are freely available on websites of tertiary institutes or career websites.

6. Do what makes you happy

It’s so easy to be influenced when you're young. We tend to cling on to the popular beliefs of the world that if you're a doctor, engineer or lawyer that you have made it in life. That’s not true. Covid-19 has taught us not to take life for granted and that means living life on your best terms.

Do what makes you happy even if it's not approved by society. If you want to become a deejay or travel the world and write about your adventures or even become a fitness instructor – do it and never regret living your dream.

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