Lights out for the matrics

2014-11-06 00:00

THIS is probably the toughest time of the year for matriculants, as they spend long hours studying and preparing for their final exams.

I remember how stressed I was when I wrote my final exams. The pressure of knowing that everybody in the country had access to my final results freaked me out, and the fact that my aunts and uncles would know just how good or bad my grades were by simply looking in the newspaper made my stomach turn.

I spent many mornings at the local library trying to study as much as I could, and spent hours trying to cram facts into my brain before an exam sitting.

It helped that there were many pupils from other schools on the same mission and some looked a little more focused and driven than I was at the time.

I guess the local mall, which was within walking distance for me, was a slight distraction as it was filled with all the wrong things, from clothes to food and even the occasional hunks who made their rounds in the centre — all that can be very distracting for a young pupil.

That year, I could feel the pressure in the air and even the environment at home was extra quiet as everyone tried their hardest not to distract me and give me all the support I needed. It felt strange at first, but as the weeks went on I got used to it. I would never want to relive the stress I went through in my final school year, but the matric rave we had is definitely something I would do all over again.

A matric rave is when all the exams are over and a group of pupils plan a trip away and go completely wild, and we did so at Sun City. It was epic.

For matriculants today, things are a little tougher, or some might say easier, with the lowered percentage required for a matric pass. But if they are not waiting for the delivery of text books, Eskom throws a spanner in the works and is load-shedding in the middle of exams. If the power had been off while I was trying to prepare for exams, I would have been doomed, as studying by candlelight is extremely challenging and tiring. If you are a pupil who prefers to hit the books as the sun sets, you are going to have to change your way of doing things so you can study using natural light. If you are very unlucky, you already have a study area that is not well-lit even on the sunniest of days. If that is the case, then the grumpy KZN weather we have had over the past few weeks could make your study journey even more challenging. Some could argue that Eskom has sent out a roster and is only load-shedding for two hours at a time, but I have also heard horror stories of people being left in the dark for over 10 hours.

To add insult to injury, my load-shedding did not happen as per the schedule and was way longer than two hours.

The Department of Education has come out and said that the exams being written this week do not require electricity and so all exams set for this week will go ahead as planned.

I wish all the matrics the best of luck. I guess you will all have to plan your study times a lot better. Parents, try to invest in a generator if you can; otherwise great big candles or battery-operated lights would be great.

Remember to eat loads of brain food such as fish and chicken, and drink lots of water. Good luck — and remember, you can’t enjoy a rave if you didn’t put in the work that yields great results.

• Catch Carol Ralefeta on East Coast Radio, Saturdays and Sundays, 10 am to 2 pm.

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