Contributed by: Jenifer Nesi

Jane was a high school student, who was not so book smart but good in designing. Her parents never thought Jane’s talent was something since her grades were not as good as her brother’s. Her mom was more understanding than her father; who kept calling her useless and dull. Even Peter, Jane’s elder brother made life miserable for her by calling her Retard. In the eyes of her family, Jane was nothing since academic excellence was the only parameter they used in judging worth. This familiar attitude caused Jane immense pain and suffering.

The only person who believed that she was not totally worthless was her friend Sorrel who would always try to cheer her up with kind words.

“Look Jane stop sitting around crying and wallowing in self-pity because it will not help your situation.” she would often say.

“Sorrel you have been my friend for a while now and you know how difficult it is for me to get a D grade in school and my parents are not making things any easy for me. I think the best thing for me to do is to drop out and stay home, instead of wasting my time going to school knowing fully well I will never get a pass.” Jane would lament.

“Lookmy friend, I totally disagree with you. You can get a pass mark if you want, the only problem is you have allowed what people say about you get into your head and define you. Try studying differently. Even if you don’t understand, keep trying before you know it, you will leave from a D to a C grade and in less than no time you can get a score of excellence.”Sorrel would insist.

This perp talk did not make Jane to believe in her abilities. She thought her friend was only trying to cheer her up. Later that night when Jane got home, she sat in her room and gave a thought to what her friend told her. She made up her mind to do her utmost best to make it in the advance level exams so she could go to the university and study what she loved most DESIGNING. Jane started by keeping asidethe subjects she mastered most then paid more attention to those she had less mastery.She equally had issues as she will constantly sleep off while studying. She did not give up but kept pushing until it became a habit and subsequently she could not go a day without studying. Upon resumption of a new school year, she pleaded with her parents to be sent to a different school considering she had repeated lower sixth thrice.Her father was not willing to spend an additional dime on her education. Jane’s mom pleaded with him to give her one last chance but he refused. He said he wanted Jane to get married and start having kids. After a lot of pleading he ended up accepting and sent her to the government high school in Limbe. At school, Jane did not socialize because she thought she will only end up losing those friends when they realize she is not intelligent. She equally wanted to avoid any distractions. At the end of the first term she had a 10\20 average. So happy, she ran home with the excitement only for her father to ignore her saying a failure will always be a failure.“You will get myattention when you become better than my son.”he reiterated as he refers to her brother. Her father’s words broke her until she almost lost all self-esteem but thank God for her mom who stood by her and convinced her that her father did not mean the things he said.

After that encounter with her father she made up her mind to keep her failures and successes to herselfand her mother who stood by her. During the third term, she improved her grades which made her mother very happy but her father still did not pay any attention to her. He kept insisting she was old enough to get married. He went ahead to getting a husband for her but after her mother’s refusal to let her daughter get married forcefully, her father refused to pay her fees any further. It was then left on Jane and her mother topay her fees from henceforth. Her mother was jobless and finances were unsure. With her determination to go to school and obtain a bachelor’s degree, she started hawking fresh groundnuts in the course of the holiday. Before schools resumed she had saved up 150000 which she gave her mom to keep.After paying her fees and buying her text books she still had a little aside. This continued until after her advanced level. She made it in three papers, an A grand and two Cs. While she was struggling to save up for her fees, her father was spending ridiculous sums of money on her brother who claimed to be studying engineering in the University of Buea.He supposedly just started a Master’sprogram.Jane choose to study designing because she felt she was good at it. Her father insulted her saying she could never be like Michael her elder brother.As the case with Jane, it is ok to be different from everyone else. After her first year in the university she came home and told her parents Michael was never going to school but her father would not listen and rather called her jealous.

Jane tried advising her brother with regards to his studies but he would not heed so she simply concentrated on hers.She graduated with a second class Bachelor’s degree in Designing and also got a job with one of the biggest fashion houses in Buea.She did not inform her dad considering his lukewarm attitude towards her but called her mom who was very happy. Her brother on the other hand was still roaming about unable to get a first degree because their parents had run out of money to send him. He therefore could not fraudulently buy marks or even forge his results like he was used to doing back in the secondary school. Her father regretted abandoning her and asked for her forgiveness. The friends she lost all wanted to renew their friendship but she had learnt to be content with her best friend’s company.

If you are reading this I want you to know that the only person holding you from succeeding is yourself. People will only tell you what they think of you and those who are kind enough will try to encourage you. It is thus left on you alone to wake up and push yourself. Stop wallowing in self-pity. Because people say you can’t do it does not mean you can’t so take Jane as your example and keep fighting till you achieve your goal.