By Lester Munthali

I believe failure is part of learning; we should never give up the struggle in life. You fail not because you are destined to fail, but because there are lessons which you need to learn as you move on with your life.

When I was a junior secondary school, I had bad grades but my wish was to be an above average student, in the long run, I wanted to get distinctions. I realized that my failure was from self-doubt, the lack of belief in my ability to attain good grades came in because I was at a Karonga Community Day Secondary School (CDSS).

The frustration came from not being selected to go to a national secondary school, this made me think that I was in no position to be a star student among my peers. The mindset I had kept me away from even being in the top 30 of my class, this made me feel bad but comfortable at the same time.

With support from my mother who was a primary school teacher at that time, she helped me realize that it was all about the limits I set for myself and that if I decided to have good grades and work towards achieving that I would make it.

 I transitioned into Form 3 with a mindset that I wanted to be among the best students the school. I put in the effort and hard work. I sat for the MSCE examinations and I got 9 points, this enabled me to get selected to study Chemical Engineering at the Malawi University of Science and Technology where I am currently in Second year.

Lester: I hope someone gets encouraged by my story and never gives up in life.

Through my story I learnt that mentorship is important to help those in environments that are of no hope like I once was. Through mentorship anyone, especially youth can change their mindsets to be achievers and get the guidance on how to create the right habits for them to attain academic excellence.

My story motivated me to join the YES-Initiative Secondary School Mentorship Program. I developed an urge to be a role model to those I can reach other young people who are in a situation that I was once in. It is an opportunity for me to help students that are struggling with their studies in secondary schools. In writing this story, my hope is that someone gets motivated and never gives up on their dreams.

Lester’s story is the first in a series of write-ups from our mentors who share their life stories and why they joined our program. Our mentors are college students and graduates who volunteer their time to hold talks in secondary schools across the country. Make a date with us every Tuesday for inspiring true life stories from our mentors.