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BWW Blog: I See Stars

You truly are one fail away from your success

BWW Blog: I See Stars
Art by my friend, Georgia Kent (@gkent01)

If someone told me last year, when our final matric results were released, I would be getting A's today; I would not believe them.

I used to do fairly well in junior school with the poor exception of my mathematics mark which decreased as I increased in age. I honestly thought it would get easier but it didn't.

Despite my hatred for mathematics, I ended up taking three subjects that involved maths as my matric subjects, Physical Sciences, Information Technology and Accounting. In addition, I had to take maths, which is the combination of algebra, trigonometry, calculus, geometry and whatever else we learnt in maths.

As the final three years of my high school career progressed, my grades decreased in those subjects. They went from average to bad to a disgrace. In January 2020, with the release of my results I felt so relieved to have passed everything. Even if I passed maths and science with only a government pass and not the well-known 50% pass.

Cut to - finding out I only got into one of the three universities I applied to. The only university that was outside of my hometown. I was terrified about moving and I was disappointed that I didn't manage to achieve enough to get into the university with my dream degree.

But life goes on and I moved to Makhanda, Eastern Cape to attend Rhodes University.

It was really refreshing to be in a place where no one knew me. No one knew me as this overachieving, national debater's little sister. I was simply another first year.

Side note, I was in a new place and I hadn't been in a new environment since I started school in 2006. Yes, I was at the same school for 14 years of my life and yes, it was horrible.


I struggled at first but soon became so happy and grateful for having been able to construct my own degree and meet some of the most amazing humans to ever live. I was only on campus for seven-ish weeks before the coronavirus overtook our lives and we were placed into a lockdown. But they were really the most amazing seven weeks.

The university may have closed and the country shutdown but education proceeded, remotely.

Learning online is both rewarding and challenging.

For reference, my first-year courses were Sound Technology, Journalism and Media Studies, majoring in Drama and Linguistics. These courses most likely will change in light of the new year.

I was fortunate enough to do subjects that only required online, open-book quizzes, endless essays and describing practical work. I basically just typed out every single thought and idea that corresponded to the course material for eight months straight.

Yes, eight months - straight. We had term and semester breaks but they were unfortunately five days long excluding the weekends. I know sounds gruelling. Which it was. I was exhausted for the better half of the year and not just because of the pandemic but being overworked.

But despite all the odds, I managed to thrive. I don't want to brag but fam - I THRIVED!

Doing things that were more of an interest to me was really helpful, I learnt from my high school mistakes.

And so, a little over a year since I found out that only one university accepted me and finding out a barely passed two of my seven subjects - one being a core subject. I found out that not only did I succeed in completing my first year of university, I passed with flying colours.

I miraculously managed to obtain three first class marks, I guess it's called a distinction and one almost first class, like off by 2%

Landing me on the Dean's List of Academic Merit, whatever that means.

The moral of this story and the motives behind me writing about this isn't to brag but to tell you, if you're like me and lived your high school life as being below-average to average student or at least that's what your marks say.

Know this.

Your marks do not define your hard work or your worth, trust me. It took me being voted for the Responsibility Cup at the end of Matric to figure that out. But if you are still at that stage in life let me tell you that you are capable of doing whatever you want.

Marks do not measure your worth and if you are stuck doing something you do not like or enjoy, persevere or make a change because enjoying something really makes all the difference.

In the words of the great and wise Uncle Iroh:

"Failure is only the opportunity to begin again. Only this time, more wisely"

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