Only five days after writing their matric exams, many pupils from Limpopo said they expect to have a bleak future.
They question the value of a matric certificate and doubt that it will make them employable in the competitive job market.
They said they were pessimistic because many of their friends who have matric certificates are still unemployed and the country has a high youth unemployment rate.
Sewela Molewa, 20, of Mohlatlego Machaba High School, in Tzaneen, wrote her matric examinations this year.
She said those who thought a matric certificate was a passport to greener pastures must think again.
She said many pupils became frustrated after completing their schooling because most companies demanded that anyone applying for a job have work experience.
"One has to have a senior certificate, a driver's licence and at least three years' job experience to find a job."
But Mathapelo Moloise, 17, of Lepato High School, in Phalaborwa, is more optimistic.
Moloise, who wants to be a pharmacist, believes that "good matric symbols" and hard work can make one employable.
"Some companies are more interested in one's performance and dedication than in experience.
"My parents are both unemployed, that is why I never dreamt of going to university or other tertiary institution.
"I have sent my CV to employment agencies and already I have received calls from companies that say they they need my services," she said.
Lazarus Mopai, 35, who passed matric in 1993 with distinctions in history and agriculture, said he has "knocked on the door of every company in Limpopo" without success.
"Now I have lost interest because I have have discovered that many companies employ people on the strength of a relationship with an insider," he said.
After failing to get employment, Mopai started his own farming business and has no cause to regret it - he is doing well.
Ndo Mangala, spokesman for the Limpopo Department of Education, said 109654 full-time and 18353 part-time pupils in the province wrote the matric exam this year.
Mangala said the province hoped to improve on last year's 64, 3percent pass rate.