The period between the last exam paper and the release of Matric results are some of the most anxiety-inducing, nail-biting weeks of school-leavers' lives. What should be a period of rest and relaxation as young people make the transition between school and further studies, is often marred by questions about "what if".
"It's important to be able to use this time to reflect and look forward to future plans, but because there are so many possible scenarios that may arise from one's Matric results, this time is too often spent stressing – both on the part of learners and their parents or guardians," says Dr Gillian Mooney, Dean: Academic Development and Support at The Independent Institute of Education, SA's largest private higher education institution.
"Instead of stressing, now is the time to consider what you can control and to let go of what you cannot control. For example, the exams are over - you cannot change the outcome, or the exam results. What you can control is how you react to this outcome, and you can start to plan for a range of possible outcomes," she says.
Mooney says that there are established potential scenarios for which Matriculants can and should plan after writing their last paper.
"If you know what to do after receiving your results, regardless of what the outcome may be, you'll be able to relax and regroup so that you enter the new year refreshed and ready to take on the next phase of your life," she says.
She adds that parents and guardians in particular need to get in the right frame of mind ahead of the release of the results, so that whatever happens, they are well-positioned to either help their child make a successful transition, or deal constructively with any challenges that may arise.
"Parents who are concerned that their child may not have performed as well as hoped, need to be particularly cognisant of how their reaction to results may impact on the ability of their child to bounce back should results be disappointing," she says.
"For these parents and learners, it will be particularly helpful to discuss potential scenarios in coming weeks, and be ready with a plan of action on how to manage the situation if indeed the learner's results were below par. In addition, parents must manage their own emotions while remembering an over-the-top reaction may make an unnecessary but long-term impact."
So at this stage, it is helpful to stand back and objectively consider what options are open to both successful and not-so-successful Matriculants, Mooney says.
"Always keep in mind that there are indeed options, no matter what your results."
SCENARIO 1: OPTIONS IF YOU RECEIVE A FAIL MARK
SCENARIO 2: OPTIONS IF YOU PASS, BUT NOT WELL ENOUGH FOR DEGREE STUDY
SCENARIO 3: OPTIONS IF YOU PASS, BUT NOT WELL ENOUGH TO ACCESS YOUR FIRST CHOICE OF DEGREE OR INSTITUTION
SCENARIO 4: BETTER THAN EXPECTED RESULTS
"No matter what happens in January when results are announced, knowing now how you will handle any eventuality will make for a more peaceful, less stressful December, and will go a long way towards averting unhelpful tension within families and for young adults as the moment of truth nears," says Mooney.
DID YOU KNOW?
The Independent Institute of Education (The IIE) is a division of the JSE-listed ADvTECH Group, Africa's largest private education provider. The IIE is the largest, most accredited registered private higher education institute in South Africa, and the only one accredited by The British Accreditation Council (BAC), the independent quality assurance authority that accredits private institutions in the UK. By law, private higher education institutions in South Africa may not call themselves Private Universities, although registered private institutions are subject to the same regulations, accreditation requirements and oversight as Public Universities.
The IIE has a history in education and training since 1909, and its brands - Rosebank College, Varsity College and Vega - are widely recognised and respected for producing workplace-ready graduates, many of whom become industry-leaders in their chosen fields. The IIE offers a wide range of qualifications, from post-graduate degrees to short courses, on 20 registered higher education campuses across South Africa.