Wednesday, 4 January 2012


Today the matrics (Grade 12 in SA) received their exam results. It must be very exciting to find out your marks and if you got a distinction and, if you are going on to a tertiary education, whether or not your marks meet the requirements.

I matriculated in 2006, but because I was at a German school, there was the option to do Abitur, which is the German matric and would add a year to my time at school. My marks in matric were good enough to receive a bursary, so I spend another year at school. In any case, I would not have known what to study.

Somehow, it was always clear to me that after school I would continue my education, that I would go to a university and get a degree and a master's degree and do my doctorate and hopefully be happy with it all. Well, after getting my BA, I am looking quite forward to doing my honours degree ( here, you do a year of honours and then only a year of masters, whereas I know elsewhere in the world you do a two-year masters degree).

But to be honest, I still have no specific idea about where I want my life to head. The last years in school I was not a very happy person because I felt I needed to get away and see the world and experience something else. I just wanted to leave here. After a year away, and after three years at the university, I realised that I still want to leave and jump on planes and drift from place to place, but right now, being here in Pretoria is pretty good. I am fortunate to have a mother who helps me to continue my education, to be able to live in a nice house,  to have one remaining dog at home, to go to the coast during holidays that last for months, to have met people whom I would like to be friends with for a long time, and ultimately, to have  learnt so many new things. I think that although I did not study anything very specific, I have above all learnt to appreciate a more faceted and nuanced view on the world- perhaps I have learnt how to be more open, to be more considerate, to be more questioning and to see myself as rather lucky.

So, to the matrics of 2011, I hope that you choose carefully now, and that, even if sometimes you question your path, you will never have any regrets.

Here is a poem my Robert Frost that I have always liked (especially) for its last two lines:

The Road Not Taken ( 1915)

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference. 

via Bartleby

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