By Precious Nthukwa

Growing up, I went to school aimlessly. I would hear people talk about university, but that was a far-fetched dream for me.  No one in my family had made it past secondary school. This background forced me into believing I was destined for doom.  I got myself into alcohol; I did not have time for studies.

Though I lost interest in school, my age and peers still demanded that I be in class, anyway. Thus I enrolled as an open school student at Msalura CDSS.  Every time I was in class, my eyes were stuck on the clock, ready to knock off. At times, I would sneak out of class to take a sip of an alcoholic drink.

Even when I eagerly wanted to keep my illicit behaviour, it did not take long for my father to notice. As a solution, he enrolled me at a private boarding school in Dowa. He thought changing my learning environment would change my attitude. On the contrary, things got worse. I was summoned for disciplinary hearings where one of the teachers said; “You are an intelligent boy but what you are doing is spoiling your own future. Which university do you want to go after here, and what are you going to study?” I did not respond because that thought never crossed my mind. At the end of the lane, I scored 39 points; a harvest for my recklessness.

My parents encouraged me to rewrite my Form four exams, but I was done with school.

I then decided to enrol in a mechanical training course despite several people encouraging me to rewrite MSCE. Suddenly, my interest in mechanics started fading away. I was envious when I saw youths my age well-dressed going to school or working in offices.

I convinced myself that mechanics was not for me afterward as I pondered on going for formal schooling. My sister urged me to continue with my technical training, but the vibe was long gone. My heart still told me to make a U-turn.

With a new determination, I returned to school in 2014. I worked hard in all subjects, even those that seemed challenging to me. My English teacher motivated me to become a teacher. I once approached him to inquire about how one can become a teacher. He took time to share his life-journey with me, a story I related with so well. A story that confirmed my desire of becoming a teacher.

After writing my final exam, I got 22 points.

The grades enabled me to enroll for a Bachelor of Education at Nkhoma University where I am now in my final year.

Precious: I deem mentorship to be very significant to secondary school students as it helps learners to realize their goals and their potential

The moment I heard about the mentorship program run by the Youth Empowerment and Support Initiative and its objectives, I decided to join the team to share my story with those who might be going through a similar phase in life as I did.  It took other people to make me realize my goal, I also want to help other youths change and become responsible youngsters.

I deem mentorship to be very significant to secondary school students as it helps learners to realize their goals and their potential. Through stories from fellow youths and the various tips that we share, the students are able to develop study schedules as well as ways of managing their time to reflect on what they want their lives to achieve.

Everyone has a story, a story that can illuminate new light into somebody’s life somewhere. Share your story. Change someone’s mind-set, change the world.