Dear Matriculant, there’s something I need to tell you.

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.

Dont give up

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!

18th January 2022 * UPDATE*

I left my job in corporate in November 2018 & started my own business called Conversation Station. I am now a proud & successful business owner. Never stop moving forward. It feels like my life has only just begun! XXX

24 thoughts on “Dear Matriculant, there’s something I need to tell you.

  1. Inspirational! I agree totally with your sentiments. I also failed math on HG and did a BA but I ended up the same place as you. That beautiful blue bank. And I think we’ve both been very successful. Well done to you Bron. Onward and upward.


  2. Pingback: 7 lessons on living a good life as told by me, the Librarian | Keeping up with the Walkers…

  3. Wow…what a touching story… see I actually failed my matric and I felt as bad as I’ve never felt before,I felt like my dreams where doomed but then reading ur blog uplifted me
    Truly speaking “yes it’s never too late”


  4. I didn’t quite fail maths (but I suspect that the marks had been adjusted because I should have failed!) and I didn’t go to university (did go to college though) but the interesting thing is friends of mine who went to university said the “introduction to maths” where they covered the school curriculum of maths made so much more sense the way it was taught at university.

    Anyway, I think there’s a lot better ways of doing eduction… this video is quite interesting:


    • Hi Eric! Thanks for reading my blog and your comments. This video is brilliant! It made me chuckle and shake my head a few times! So true!! I’ve shared it on Twitter & Facebook too. Thanks for sharing! Cheers!


  5. Great article Bron, and I do recall you being a consistent winner of the coveted Dawnview Top-15 badge every term! 🙂

    The sad reality of today’s matric results is that with the now ridiculously low 30% pass mark requirement, you would in fact have passed your HG Mathematics!


    • That’s what was so shattering! I always had that badge pinned to my blazer so why was I so crap at Maths? 30% pass rate today…I might have passed… LOL


  6. My final maths mark wasn’t great either – well enough for university exemption, but with a limited number of degree options. I liked movies and so did a year of film and media. I did well and was able to switch over to BSc, doing something I felt I would be better at, and would enjoy more. If I’d applied straight out of Matric I wouldn’t have qualified, but universities do give you opportunities if you can prove you can work hard and do well. Your matric mark doesn’t determine your future, it’s just a stepping stone to where you want to be.


    • Someone once told me that the only thing University taught her boys was to start something and finish it, considering how many people drop out. Thanks for the feedback!


  7. What an exceptional post — I also failed Mathematics HG and scraped through with Mathematics SG – I felt I was a failure and I had no idea what I was going to do with the rest of my life.

    This post should be a “must read” for all grade 12’s to assist them in getting some perspective about grades, and the future, and how things can sometimes work out differently to what we “expected.”


    • I remember in my day (ahem… matric 1992) that there was SO much emphasis placed on Maths and Science. It really didn’t feel like there was any other option available unless you did these subjects. Thanks for reading my blog. 🙂


  8. I can relate to this too. Didn’t fail something at school, but almost failed science. Did a Drama degree after school, worked in the industry for about a year, jumped from job to job and eventually starting my own videography business. Now I work for Discovery and I am getting amazing marks in all the tests they make us write! All of a sudden I feel like a career woman as I am doing good at my job and loving every second of it! And strangely non of my previous education (school and university) helped me to get here. It was the experience I gained along the way.


      • Yes, can you believe it! However, I am no actress. Did the technical part of the degree. Therefor the weddings I film during weekends. I know how to weld, make clothes, do stage make-up etc.


  9. This is a true story for many of us. People can’t believe that you don’t have a degree or went to Varsity. Experiance counts even more than some degree. “The School of Hard Knocks” is the best of them all.


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