With the end of Grade 12 comes the end of an era. There is no doubt that this is a bittersweet time: the excitement of a new chapter also brings the realisation of change. Are you prepared?
Grade 12: the end is near
The last year of school is (mostly) a blast – apart from the exam stress, you’re on top of the world…and the school. You’re the king (or queen) of your universe. But soon you’re going to leave this cosy cocoon and enter the big world. You suddenly realise that you have big decisions to make about your future and you have to say good-bye to all you’ve known for 12 years.
Oh dear. You may feel like you need a minute at this point. It’s okay – take a beat.
Onwards and Upwards from Grade 12
Despite the shock to the system this reality brings, it is a time of great opportunity. So instead of looking at it with panic and anxiety, see it as a chance to achieve your dreams and make the world your oyster. Some things to consider for your first year out of school could include:
- Studying your passion – explore tertiary education and studying what you love. As they say, if you love what you do, you’ll never have to work a day in your life.
- Gaining work experience – if the idea of studying full time makes you break out into a cold sweat, why not take on a part-time job? It would be even better if it is in the field you’re considering studying. Studying part-time is a great way to take the pressure off. Also: you’re young, there’s no rush. Many companies offer internship programmes that allow for valuable workplace experience which could lead to full-time employment.
- Traveling – if you aren’t sure you want to or know what to study yet, why not do a gap year? There are fantastic opportunities abroad – or locally – to work at summer camps, in wildlife conservation or even just working the bar at your local watering hole/listening to a stranger’s life story. You never know, you may discover you want to be a psychologist after that!
How to Adjust: Challenges and New Chapters
Of course, it won’t be as easy as it sounds. You’re leaving your comfort zone and entering uncharted territory. It’s hella daunting. Many still fear making the wrong choice. This is the rest of your life we’re talking about. But like we said before, you’re young. And if you’ve watched any teen movie worth its salt, you’d have heard it said that this is a time to make mistakes and learn from them. Just don’t use that as an excuse.
Making rash decisions is also not advisable. Try to get it right but it’s okay if you don’t.
If you choose to study, you may find in your first year that you don’t like the course. Should that happen, look at it as a year of knowledge gained, rather than wasted time. You’ll come away with more self-awareness and a better sense of direction.
Remember that you aren’t on anyone’s timeline but your own. It’s wise to ask for advice, but know that you don’t have to do what everyone else is doing. Once you’ve made up your mind, dedicate your whole self to making a success of the path you’ve chosen. Go forth, let go and embrace this change.