Sharlyne Eri completed Grade 12 at Marianville Secondary School. Her Grade Point Average (GPA) was above the cut-off mark for entry into UPNG, but she missed out on the selection. ‘Wrong SLF Choices and Second Chances‘ is a story about a mother’s support that made a world of difference when things go wrong.
Dream of every student
Making it to University or tertiary institution is the dream of every student. I was one of those students. I completed my primary schooling at the Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School in Port Moresby, in 2005.
My class teachers described me in my report card as a quiet achiever and an average student. Maths was not my greatest strengths. My English and writing skills, on the other hand, stood out.
It was not until I made it to grade 9, that I actually started thinking seriously about studying at a university.
Most improved student – Sacred Heart Catholic Primary
At the end of Grade 8, I received an award for the most improved student in English.
It was a great deal because I had never received an award for the 6 years that I was at Sacred Heart Primary School. The awards usually went to the students who got first, second and third placing and the most improved student in a particular subject.
The award in English made a world of difference. It boosted my confidence.
Marianville Secondary School – Grade 9
Anyways so, the grade nine results came out. I had made it to the Marianville all-girls Catholic Secondary School, also in Port Moresby. The school had boarding services at that time.
My mother wanted me to live on campus so that was it. It was something that I also wanted because it would give me enough time to study.
At Marianville Catholic Secondary School, I maintained my performance in English. I found out that my strength was in story writing.
Our English teacher introduced us to keeping a diary. This grew my writing skills.
Interests vs talents
In 2008 I did Grade Eleven. I grew a sudden interest in Economics. The interest evolved into an urge to take up business studies at a tertiary institution in Papua New Guinea (PNG). The marks I was scoring in economics supported that urge.
My talent in poetry and fiction was shadowed with my intriguing interest in the fluctuations of demand and supply.
My mind was set – I would apply for business studies courses at a tertiary institution.
A balancing act: SLF choices and GPA
And so, when it came to filling out the school leavers form (SLF), disregarding everything else, I recklessly put down all the choices for business studies.
My higher institutions of choices were the University of PNG, Divine Word University and Port Moresby Business College.
The result of my reckless choices was devastating. I did not get a placing. That was it – I lost all hope. Regrets took the best of me. I stayed at home for two years doing nothing.
In 2012, a second chance for an opportunity at university came knocking on my door.
My mother encouraged me to submit my papers to the School of Humanities and Social Sciences Department at UPNG. I hesitated, dreading the lengthy process of upgrading my marks before being eligible to get in.
My mother was stubborn; she collected my papers and passed them to a staff member at the registrar’s office.
Second chance to study – UPNG
Mum’s help was working. I was requested to go down to the campus and fill out an application form the next day, which I did.
Some weeks later, my mother brought home an envelope for me. I scanned the envelope before opening it. It had the address of UPNG on the outside. I opened it, my eyes caught the writing in bold, ACCEPTANCE LETTER.
My heart was pounding so fast, I thought it would jump out of my chest. I came out of my room, eyes watery, I looked at my mother. She knew how it all came together.
Wrong SLF Choices – lesson learnt
I did so well in English at Marianville Secondary School but it seemed my Grade 12 choices on the SLF denied me a placing at university.
In 2011, I applied for the Literature and English Communication program. (the current name of the program is now changed). There were many Grade 12 school leavers who also applied for the same program at UPNG.
My application was under the category of a non-school leaver.
It so happened that I did not have to upgrade my marks because my marks were within the GPA mark of the Literature and English Communication program.
All of this, I had not known. I knew about the process of upgrading my marks before getting into university but never knew that I could apply as a non-school leaver.
Anyways so in 2012, I enrolled under the Literature and English Communication program at UPNG as a first-year student.
I made it two years after
My classmates from Marianville Secondary School who had made it to UPNG were in their third year. They graduated and left the following year and I stayed on and completed my studies in 2015.
Now I am a colleague with some of them, working as a journalist for the country’s oldest and most followed television station.
My story can be yours
So this is my story of how the wrong choices on my school leaver’s form denied me a placing at a university.
I was given a second chance, and this time, it was the right choice. If I had applied for the Literature and English Communication program on my secondary school leaver’s form, I would have got into UPNG the normal way.
Either way, my dream as a student to get into a university was accomplished when I graduated with my degree in 2015.
Second chances are for everyone. You just have to have hope.
Sharlyne’s experience shows that second chances do exist. After two years out of school, she attended UPNG and studied Literature and English Communication, graduated, and now works as a journalist.
We are delighted to publish her work in the PNG Writer’s Corner. We hope it will inspire the Grade 12 school leavers who missed out on tertiary institution selection this year.
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