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The Grade 12 class of 2020 was hailed for their adaptability and perseverance in the face of an unprecedented challenge that they – and the whole world – faced. But now, over 600 days since we first learned of the coronavirus, the Grade 12 class of 2021 is sitting for their final exams, having survived two years of Covid-19 disruptions. If we had to ascribe one word to these learners, it would be RESILIENT!

Year-end exams are hugely stressful, and this class has had to write both their Grade 11 and now Grade 12 exams under a cloud of uncertainty. Remote learning, resource challenges, limited face-to-face support and the constant threat of Covid-19 are just some of the pressures faced by this class, their parents or guardians, and teachers. It’s a unique set of circumstances that few can fully understand.

But, even through all this upheaval, these matrics have adapted to new ways of living and learning. They have endured the instability of their final school year, while facing an uncertain future, and they have done so with courage.

A significant part of managing the year has also been how learners have coped with mental and emotional difficulties. Even while you’re busy writing your exams, it’s important for you to reach out to your support system if you feel overwhelmed. Parents, guardians, teachers, counsellors, family and friends are all there for you. You aren’t alone, and it’s essential that you get support when you need it most. SADAG is Africa’s largest mental health support and advocacy group, where you can find mental health information, advice and practical tips to help you confidently navigate these exams.

With the end in sight, it’s time for all matrics to refocus on the final hurdle. And, even though the pressure of good marks is ever constant, learners shouldn’t discount the skills they’ve acquired by surviving a pandemic while finishing their school careers. From adaptability and flexibility, to time management and tech savviness, this year has also been a valuable learning and development experience that has prepared matrics for life after school.

For those learners who will be celebrating after their final exam has been written, please do so responsibly and safely. After 12 years of school, you should take the time to enjoy this milestone, thank those who helped you through it all and appreciate your accomplishments before the next chapter of your life begins.

We at Nelson Mandela University wish you well for your final exams and we look forward to seeing you next year.

Posted on 05 November 2021 09:47:51

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