Husnaa Choonara, a Roedean Senior School matriculant achieved eight distinctions even though she expressed mixed feelings about how the pandemic affected her and her studies.
The top pupil said at first, she found the flexibility of online learning beneficial as she studied and worked at her own pace, however as the lockdown progressed she felt exhausted and unmotivated.
“Learning alone in the same spot everyday takes a toll on one’s state of mind. Being in charge of my own learning forced me to adjust the way I learn. This turned out to be beneficial in the long run as I spent less time revising sections and more time on past papers.”
Choonara said identifying different strategies helped her cope in the previous academic year.
“Recognising the flaws in my study methods and understanding of concepts made my study time productive and beneficial, sleeping early kept me energetic and focused and ensured that I did not reach burn out before finals and prelims and lastly, crossing out dates on my planner and having the end in sight motivated me to keep working.”
She added that, she doesn’t think anyone could get through matric without a mental breakdown or two.
“When things became too much, it helped to just cry it all out and move on,” she said.
The matriculant said she participated in MUN (Model United Nations), SACEE debating and equestrian throughout high school.
“I enjoy thinking critically and equestrian which was calming, refreshing and a lot of fun.”
Her newfound love was sewing and enjoys the outdoors.
The matriculant concluded and said she hopes to study medicine and specialise in trauma surgery.
The advice she would give other pupils would be for them to go after subjects they genuinely had an interest in.
“Pursue subjects and topics you are passionate about so that your education extends further than your classroom. Give everything your best shot and focus on self-improvement. Be your own competition and set healthy personal goals because distinctions, marks and awards do not define your learning or hard work.”