Matric achiever Kirsten Prins, of Parow, says there were times during her matric year that she thought about giving up, until she remembered her motto, “Don’t stop until you’re proud.”
The 18-year-old matriculated from Milnerton High School last year with seven distinctions and was recognised as the top national Engen Maths and Science student for 2020. The programme offers extra maths, science and English classes for underprivileged children in Grades 10 to matric in nine locations across the country.
Kirsten scored a 93.5% matric aggregate, including 97% for both maths and science.
She says she always wanted to become a doctor because she loves helping people.
“Firstly, I would like to obtain my Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgeries degrees (MBChB) and then further specialise in obstetrics, focusing on pregnancy, or gynaecology.”
Kirsten says her matric year is one she will never forget. Apart from all the stress caused by the pandemic, she also lost her aunt to breast cancer.
It was a terrible blow to her family, she says, but it also drove her to work even harder to realise her dream of becoming a doctor.
When Covid-19 hit, it threw all the plans she made at the beginning of last year into disarray.
“I did not enjoy online classes,” she says. “I am fairly sociable, and I became disorganised because I had to work from home and stay home.”
But a to-do list, self-study notes and past exam papers helped her get through the academic year.
She encourages matrics to work from past papers and says time management and taking breaks between study periods are essential.
“Make the most of your matric year and work until you make yourself proud,” she says.
Kirsten’s mother, Lynn Prins, says her daughter has always been a disciplined and diligent child and is setting a good example to her two younger siblings.
“When she has her mind set on something, no one can change it.”
She suggested Kirsten look at other career choices but she already had her mind set on studying medicine.
“I am so proud of her levels of determination to pursue her dreams,” says Lynn.
Milnerton High School principal Paul Besener says he is “extremely proud” of Kirsten’s achievements and happy that 80% of the school’s matrics landed Bachelor passes.
The pandemic was hard on pupils “who needed a push”, he says, because they missed out on many classes and had to adapt to online learning.
This year the school is well prepared, and pupils will alternate between physical and online classes, he says, adding, “There are no off days.”