Matric motivation: A dream delayed is not a dream denied-By Nthabiseng Lekgetho 

The matric farewell is a night of glitz, glamour, happiness, excitement, anticipation, and a tinge of nerves. After 12 years or more, small children have become competent young adults, ready to enter the world and contemplating their next steps. 

I was privileged to attend one of these special events as the keynote speaker at KP Toto Technical and Commercial Secondary School in Batlharos Village, Kuruman. 

My name is Nthabiseng Lekgetho. I am the Human Resource Officer at Tshepa Basadi, and sharing my story with these youngsters is an honour. I believe my story is one of courage and perseverance, and if my story can inspire just one or two of them, I will have achieved what I set out to do that night. Here is what I shared with them:  

Overcoming adversity 

I started by telling the matrics a little about my biggest challenges when I was their age. If I have learned one thing, it is that life doesn’t always go according to plan. In fact, it rarely does.  

One of those challenges was when I fell pregnant during my matric year. Having a baby during this crucial period meant I had to put my study plans on hold, taking a two-year gap to be a mom and upgrade my marks.  

However, with the support of my father and late grandmother, I eventually entered university at the age of 22, significantly older than my peers. 

Academic achievements and my career 

Once I got into varsity, I am proud to say that I excelled academically. In my first year at NWU, I was honoured by the Golden Key International Honour Society as one of the top achievers in my faculty. I graduated from the University of North West with a BCom Degree in Human Resource Management and Industrial Psychology. 

Then, I needed to enter the working world. Initially, I found work that was different to my professional qualification. My big break came when I joined the wonderful team Tshepa Basadi. They recognised my determination and passion and welcomed me into their HR department. And the rest, as they say, is history.  

Your current situation doesn’t determine your future 

Each of us has a unique story, and we all have difficulties. Let’s not allow those challenges to dictate our destiny. When the road gets tough and you stumble, get up, dust yourself off, and fight for a better future.  

Study, study, study 

After sharing my story with the matric class of 2024 at KP Toto Technical and Commercial Secondary School, I shared some practical advice. I hope it gave them a few more tools to succeed. This matric year is all about testing your knowledge. Below are a few of the strategies that helped me in matric, as well as the years beyond: 

  • Past papers: Practice past tests and exam papers to familiarise yourself with the format and types of questions. 
  • Active recall: Write down what you remember about a topic without looking at your notes, then check your notes to see what you missed. 
  • Test your knowledge: Set an exam for yourself to test your knowledge under timed conditions. 
  • Use objects: Create associations with mirrors, teddy bears, or even songs to help remember information. 
  • Stop procrastinating: Stay disciplined and stick to your study schedule. 
  • Study groups: I found great success with study groups for support and motivation. 

A final word on study groups: The study group I belonged to in matric is still used as an example at my old high school. Our deputy principal still tells learners that if they are as serious as our group, they will make it. We have all done very well for ourselves, and one of us achieved his Doctor of Law (LLD) qualification at the age of 25. 

Choosing your course (and future career)

I reminded students to follow their passions instead of succumbing to external pressures. Research your chosen course or career thoroughly and don’t choose based on what your friends are doing or what your parents want for you.  

Regardless of your financial circumstances, there is always a way to make things work. For example, our mines offer bursaries every year, especially for engineering qualifications. Consider NSFAS, Funza Lusaka, Service SETA, and Thuthuka, just for a start.  

Getting used to “varsity life” 

Going into university is a huge transition. You’ll have new freedom, and varsity life can be full of temptations. I can’t emphasise enough the importance of reminding yourself “why” you’re there. Make the most of your time at varsity by setting personal goals and maintaining self-discipline. You will find power in knowing and understanding yourself. 

My final words: A dream delayed is not a dream denied 

“If you want a sign to keep studying, HERE IT IS,” I declared to the hopeful matrics. Life didn’t end when I had to repeat a grade or take a two-year gap. I graduated in record time, worked hard, and became independent. 

Dreams become more rewarding as they become more challenging. One thing is sure: You will not make it if you give up. Use the obstacles in front of you as stepping stones to success. Any obstacle can be overcome with determination, hard work, and self-belief.  

To the matric class at KP Toto in Kuruman and every other Grade 12 student facing this big, exciting year, good luck. You’ve got this. 

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