"It’s only when you take responsibility for your life that you discover how powerful you truly are."
Upon seeing this quote by Allanah Hunt at the start of her matric year, 18-year-old Bianca Odion, from Parktown Girls, knew this would be her mantra to see her end off her school career on her best foot.
The Parktown learner said she barely had any references for the final year as it went by in the blink of an eye; one minute she was entering matric smiling and the next she was putting her pen down after writing her last exam.
"One hears quite a bit about matric and how it’s going to go. I expected the amount of stress and having to put in the extra effort, but I did not expect it to go by as quick as it did," she said.
Odion said one thing she was shocked to discover was that the workload was unrelenting, and they were still busy with the syllabus a week before the final exams.
"I barely did past papers for the preliminary exams as managing the little time I had after school wasn't enough to study and do past papers," she said.
Despite this, Odion, who hopes to become a Chartered Accountant one day, said she was motivated to keep going by focusing on her short- and long-term goals.
The youngster said her short-term goals were to obtain at least seven distinctions, ensure entry into her desired university and get a bursary.
"For me, passing matric on a high note was the first stepping stone to setting myself up in my dream career, which is all I want.
"There really wasn't enough time because there's school, extracurricular activities, household chores and, somehow, you still need to find time to rest. I feel like one cannot truly prepare as much as they want for the exams due to the limited time," she added.
Odion said even with the limited study time available she was pleasantly surprised that she managed to obtain seven distinctions in the prelims, which was a first in her school career.
This, she said, spurred her on to push to ensure that she achieved the same result in the finals, even though the Afrikaans second paper was her worst exam yet.
"All in all, I'm nervous about the results and the new environment I am heading to, but I am ready for it. Because just as Hunt said, we are truly responsible for our lives and there's a lot we can do to achieve results. Yes, there are limitations, but there is also room for progress."