I can remember the day I received my Matric results like it was yesterday. I was standing outside the gates of the school staring at the words on the piece of paper. I had passed Matric but with conditional exemption to University. I had failed Maths. I had failed it so badly that even though they had pushed me down to lower grade, I had still failed. If I wanted to do any degree at University, I would need to re-do Maths.
I was 17 years old when I matriculated. How the hell anyone at that age is supposed to know what they wanted to do for the rest of their lives is beyond me!
My parents did not have enough money to send me to University. My dad handed me a cheque for R2000 and wished me well. Whatever I had planned to do from that day on was solely in my hands.
The pressure to do something weighed heavily on me and so, I took the R2000, registered at Technikon SA for the first 5 subjects of the Library Science National Diploma. I figured that I loved reading and I loved books so why not study something that I love. I also started working at the Public Library in Bedfordview. Studying through correspondence was tough but as long as I passed, I got reimbursed for the money I had spent which paid for the next year’s subjects. It took me a full 6 years to finally obtain my BTech Degree in Library Science. By this stage I had also managed to get a job at Anglo American Corporation and a couple of years later, I moved to Standard Bank.
With my library and information background, I have managed to use that skill to not only do information centre work, but competitive intelligence, environmental analysis, strategic analysis and media. You see, it’s not the degree that mattered; it was the skill that I had picked up along the way. I was like a sponge and ensured that whatever I did, I was brilliant at it.
But more than that, the people I met and the mentors I chose right from day one made all the difference to my success. Added to all that has been my attitude and will to succeed. Today I regard myself as a highly successful career woman with a stunning CV with my name on it.
I feel really bad for kids when I see how low their marks are. I was there. I was not a stupid child. In fact, I was getting B’s and C’s for all my other subjects. But Maths was just not my thing.
The lesson is that it’s not the end of the world if you have bad marks. It’s what you choose to do now that will determine your future. And believe me, there is a future. Don’t get caught up in what other people think. Find a skill. Do something you enjoy doing. Even if it’s as simple as reading books. The world out there is nothing like school. It’s better!
I wish you all the best!