Mom, teachers, friends… and a lot of hard work!

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Professionals who don’t treat teaching as “just a job”, and a mom who believes in him are two of the keys to Graeme College matriculant Tashin Patrick’s success in the National Senior Certificate exams in 2018. Tashin, who scored the top marks in the Sarah Baartman District, shared some of the secrets of his excellent academic record in an interview with Grocott’s Mail.

All except one of Tashin’s marks were in the 90s, with 96% for Physical Science his top score.

“You’ve got to set yourself high goals,” Tashin said. “Goals that some might think are unattainable – but you’ve got to find the will and determination to work hard to achieve them.”

Tashin has also clearly been very settled for most of his school career. Born in Grahamstown, he attended Oatland Prep until completing Grade 3, when he moved to Graeme College. There he found a “really amazing” support structure.

“The teachers at Graeme are really dedicated. It doesn’t seem like it’s ‘just a job’ to them. Also, the school is very good at facilitating your personal goals, so I had the space to do things outside the curriculum.”

His biggest gratitude, though, goes to his mom Lorraine Patrick.

“My mom’s been there for me throughout my whole school journey,” he said. “From helping me with my Grade 5 science projects to emotional support in recent years. She’s always been there to tell me she believes in me.”

His friends matter to him – and no, it wasn’t all about his books. Debating, Choir and cricket are just some of the activities Tashin embraced during his time at Graeme, and we couldn’t help asking how he fitted all that in. And did he have any social life at all?

“I feel the sporting and cultural activities helped me develop as a person and so they actually helped my academics,” he said. “First you need to really want to do those things, be aware of how much time they’ll take, and manage your time accordingly.”

It’s important, he says, to allow yourself to drop some of your activities in order to focus one one thing when necessary.

Keeping your friendships thriving can be more of a challenge, he admitted – but a lot of it has to do with having the right friends.

“I make sure to see my friends when I have a break – that’s really important. They’re very accommodating and we have similar goals – they’re just as focused.”

Tashin’s daily regime started with completing as much homework as possible during free time at school. He had a sporting or cultural activity most days after school and would usually be home by 5pm.

A rest and supper would follow, then he’d sit down to tackle more homework, or a project before bedtime.

“Weekends there would usually be sport or debating.”

Some words of advice?

“Dream. Don’t be complacent: you don’t have to conform to others’ expectations.

“There’s no substitute for hard work: it always pays off eventually, and if you’re doing something for the right reasons, it will be worth it.”

This year, Tashin will be studying Actuarial Science at the University of Cape Town. That done, he plans to get a Law degree.

“Then we’ll see – I try not to think too far ahead!”

‘Believe in yourself, no matter what’

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