On the eve of 2017 Matric Results we ask how important is academic success?
Matric Results will be released in the midnight; much to the anticipation of hundreds of thousands hopefuls around the country. Waiting to rip the fruits of their wonderful work in 2017. One wonders if there will be excitement such as in previous years when results used to be published on various print media. During those years Matric learners would camp on various News Paper Outlets to be the first to know the outcome of their 12+ years of school. With high rates of suicides that occurred during this time from learners who did not do well; various student bodies such as COSAS banned the release of the results on print media.
Now results released privately meant to protect individuals from friends or relatives who may torment them when they see the unfavorable performance. So how will the class of 2017 celebrate the good news? and if one did not do as expected how will they handle the setback.
In this opinion piece we look at many aspects of 2017 Matric Results.
The misconception of education
As a society we have over emphasized the importance of academic success. It’s almost like the message is: academic success or the end of you as an individual. The message drilled in our heads is that the only way to be successful is when you achieve academically. Therefore creating unimaginable pressure on individuals who may be less gifted in that area. The famous quote by our greatest icon in Nelson Mandela “Keys to success is education” sort of like drove us into this over exaggeration. Academic success is crucial in a developing country such as South Africa; however it is not the only key to success.
Our obsession with academic success has driven many learners to take their own lives when the opposite happens. We tell them it is not the end of the world they can still improve their marks or attend finishing schools. Not considering the fact that we are condemning them back to the very system that fails them. The glamorized University Lifestyle has thrusted many into depression upon realizing the Varsity reality.
Truth is academic success is not the only way to achieve your dreams or creating a career for yourself. Much to the credit of our Government, Further Skills Development Institutions have been made available; see our previous article on TVET Colleges. But it is not enough; the message on Skills Development has not been as aggressive as that of academic success.
Academic Success vs Skills Training
We have to start emphasizing the importance of nurturing the natural talents that individuals possess almost as seriously as we do with academia. When you look around the world, most successful people in their respective fields are either school drop-outs or have never set foot in school. At times the education system can disadvantage you in that it can limit you into a specialized way of thinking according to your academic achievement; going through life not having tapped into the fullest potential ability of your mind and what it can do if given freedom to express itself without academic limitations.
Don’t get me wrong other people thrive in academics; but what about those that do not? Shouldn’t we explore their strengths and gifting? Shouldn’t we find out what they are really good at and maybe natural at doing and so develop it? Why do we feel the need to impose academic success on people that may not be academically gifted?
For the class of 2017 who may have failed academically first ask yourself these questions: did you find school, learning and studying exciting for you? If not why? Is there anything that you feel alive when you do it? Something that is of value to you. Can it sustain you and your family for the rest of your life? If yes what has stopped from pursuing it? I would encourage you to find professional psychologists or life coaches that can assist you with these questions at no fee. TMS will assist in making information of such psychologists available here online.
Business World leaders with no Academic Success
In conclusion, academic achievement is crucial and extremely valuable, but should you not be as gifted academically find something that you may be gifted in like these individuals:
1. Ralph Lauren
“After studying business for two years at Baruch College in Manhattan, Lauren dropped out of school and joined the Army. Lauren made his mark going against the grain by designing wide ties in an era of skinny ties and started his own business, selling half a million dollars’ worth of ties in the first year. He’s now a fashion tycoon worth $8.2 billion, with a global empire consisting of menswear, women’s wear, jeans, fragrances, accessories and home-wares”
2. Bill Gates
“One of the richest people in the world is a Harvard dropout. Gates became interested in computer programming at age 13 and made his first $20,000 developing a computer program monitoring Seattle traffic patterns with Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen at age 15.The two founded the multinational software company five years later. He currently has a net worth of $86 billion”
3. Steve Jobs
“Jobs passed away in 2011 but the Apple co-founder’s impact on the tech industry will never be forgotten. He attended Reed College for six months and then dropped out and worked for a few months as a video game designer for Atari before traveling to India to find spiritual enlightenment. In 1976, when he was 21 years old, he partnered with Steve Wozniak to start Apple Computer. At the time of his death, his net worth was $10.2 billion”
4. Mark Zuckerberg
“While he was still in high school, Zuckerberg caught the attention of AOL and Microsoft by co-creating a Winamp plug-in that built customized playlists. He turned down job offers to attend college, and in February 2004, he launched “The Facebook” from his Harvard dorm room. The social networking site became an instant success, and Zuckerberg dropped out of school to run the platform that currently has more than 1.44 billion monthly active users.The 31-year-old tech mogul is worth $32.5 billion”
5. Richard Branson
“Branson dropped out of school at age 16 to start the youth-culture magazine, Student. The success of this publication led to the creation of a mail-order record company called Virgin. He eventually built a recording studio and founded the Virgin Records label. Since then, he has expanded the Virgin portfolio to include more than 200 companies in 30 countries. Branson’s net worth is $5.1 billion”
They are world leaders in their fields with no fancy titles. Eventually they get recognized and honored because of their natural ability and gifts not because of how successful they are academically! Your Matric Results do not at all reflect on who you are as a person. You have so much more within you that can be of greater value to this world. This period of your life right now is part of the journey in realizing your true potential. Yes you may feel left out as the country celebrates those that did well. You may feel like you have let many people and yourself down. If you can ask your parents or adults around you on how many times they have failed in life, they will wish to hide under the bed.
Yes it may seem like you are missing out on the excitement; it’s ok there are many more exciting moments waiting for you in the future, this is just a minor set-back of which life is full of set-backs. Welcome to the world where the real beauty lies in getting up every time you are beaten down; that is a true marking of a champion!