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Motalatale S. Modiba
 
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No shame in ‘failure’ – a message to the class of 2012

03 January 2013, 07:26

With the 2012 matric results out this week it is perfectly normal and expected that there would be a high level of anxiety among learners who can’t wait to find out if their hard work has finally paid off or not.

The hype and social pressure that usually accompanies the release of the results has in the past seen learners falling into depression and others pushed to the edge of suicide after realising that they did not make the cut.

I still remember 13 years ago the feeling of disappointment and regret at realising that I barely passed my matric. Looking at my statements of results there was nothing to write home about, especially for someone who has been as socially active as I was. A lot was expected of me and I knew that. Unfortunately, besides the fact that I had chosen a wrong combination of subjects I clearly did not prepare as well as I should have.

There was no excuse. I did not do well, period!

Reflecting on that dreadful moment of being surrounded by jubilant fellow students who after receiving their statements were now confident that the future was within reach, I am grateful I embraced my lot.

I decided to accept that I had not done well and that my strategy towards matric did not yield desired results. I consoled myself that there was no shame in having put an effort and still falling short.

I cannot deny that I had a good support structure in the form of my family who though they were disappointed at my results made it a point to encourage me to look forward. Also I had friends some of whom had done so exceptionally well, with their only headache being which bursary to accept, yet they never made me feel like I was a failure.

Coming to terms with my reality helped me realise that not doing well in matric was not necessarily a judgement on my potential but rather that I overestimated my capacity while underestimating what it really took to do well at that level.  

From that day I determined that should I get an opportunity to study further I would amend for the shortfall in matric. Indeed in 2002 I graduated top of my Journalism class from Tshwane University of Technology. In hindsight I sometimes jokingly say to myself it was necessary that my matric result were what they were otherwise I would probably not have pursued the kind of career I am pursuing today.

So, to the class of 2012 especially those who like me back then have nothing to smile about despite having given it their best shot, as the saying goes failure is not the falling down but the staying down.

Yes, you have not done well and have let yourself, your peers and your family down. Can I urge you to do the following as you regroup to pursue your dreams;

·         Accept that you did not do well

·         Realise that your poor matric results is not a judgement on your potential

·         Do not fall into the comparison trap (everyman has his race)

·         Consider the options available to you (re-writing, bridging courses, different career perspective etc.)

·         Dust yourself up and channel your energy towards your new course of action

To those whose results are what they anticipated and are happy to have done this well, congratulations, matric is but a bridge to cross over to the other side as you continue with your journey.

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