Life is a matter of choices, and every choice you make, makes you. Some choices we regret, some we’re proud of, some will haunt us forever; the message is ‘we are who we chose to be’. The decision I made, although it may seem small now, changed my life for the better. To have options within our education, is something we should be extremely grateful for. To a large extent, we have the power to control the outcome of our future through the choices we make today. This article reflects the importance of options within our education, and how we have the ability to make our own decisions, without fearing the judgement of others and only looking forward to the changes that will come.

My entire school career took place here in Grahamstown, during which majority of my time was spent at Victoria Primary and Victoria Girls High. I was an average student in primary school and at the beginning of high school I will confess that I was quite a disorganised and uninterested student, I didn’t see the point of going to school and my grades reflected my attitude.

In Grade 10 we had to pick our subjects. I chose History, Drama, Biology and Pure Maths because at that stage Pure Maths seemed like the more “socially-accepted” choice. I thought that my grades would start to improve because I felt  more interested in my subjects since choosing them specifically but, this wasn’t the case. I enjoyed History, Drama and Biology but Pure Maths did not peak my interest and I once again found a subject, which I believed to be be pointless, taking up majority of my time doing homework for. My grades therefore, didn’t see much improvement.

Towards the end of Grade 10, on a normal, boring school day, I was sitting in my maths class, not paying any attention as I drew random doodles around equations I couldn’t be bothered to try understand, let alone try solve. It was then that our Head of Grade, Mrs Richards, walked in and announced, “If anyone wants to switch to Maths Lit, now is your chance. I’ll be in the passage,” and then she walked out.

I never even considered doing Maths Lit because everyone had just expected me to do Pure Maths but that morning I found myself standing up from my seat, the sound of my chair screeching against the floors causing everyone to look in my direction. I ignored their judgement and the stares that were boring holes in the back of my skull and walked out the door towards Mrs Richards.

That day changed my life. After discarding the one subject that I had despised, I was able to put more time and effort into my other subjects, all of which I enjoyed and found interest in. Thanks to Mrs Richards’ intrusion and my spontaneous bravery despite fear of disapproval from both my friends and family, I proved them all wrong as I finished Matric second in the grade and with distinctions in all my subjects.


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