TURBULENT TWENTIES

An open letter to Form 4 leavers

Do not falter in your quest to follow your passions

In Summary

• Get out there and discover your truths. Do not let it be defined by parents or society

Students check books at the Zetech University library
Students check books at the Zetech University library
Image: COURTESY

Dear teenagers,

There is more to life than you know. You guys are still too young to understand this. But you will, soon enough. There is more to life than money, sterling degrees, trendy fashion, power, influence… and by now, you are probably beginning to think I’m just a rumbling, crazy dude who has lost it.

And maybe you are right. I mean, why do we do anything if not for money? And who wouldn’t want to have just half the power and influence, say, Elon Musk wields? If I had half of Musk’s money, I would buy TikTok and delete it. Or pay Eric Omondi to migrate to Papua New Guinea and never come back.

But you must also trust that I have been around longer than you and thus, know a few things you don’t. A lot of things actually, especially what awaits you after high school. If I did not know, I would have told you so. See?

I know how exhilarating it is to finally be rid of the yoke of high school. I have been there. The promise of campus freedom and so on. It is the dream. It has always been the dream. To finally be able to make your own choices. To become an adult and be recognised as so. I may be a mid-twenties old bloke who is no longer as cool, but that doesn’t mean I have forgotten what it was like to be where you are now.

The day we walked through those imposing campus gates, pulling on huge suitcases that carried nothing but fantasies of what we imagined campus life to be. Our faces beaming in anticipation of grandeur, with Min Jii a few steps ahead, turning every 5 seconds to ask, “Have you lost the pocket money I gave you already?” It was the greatest day of our life.

After scoring those As, we were finally here. The best brains in the country, ready to pursue some of the top disciplines society venerated: medicine, engineering, technology, law… We were going to change the world. But before that, I was going to use Min Jii’s pocket money to impress the first girl I saw who resembled Regina Hall the most. And then get that first-class degree in computer science.

Well, in between booze, boobs, one or two books, plagiarised assignments and all sorts of debauchery, somehow we managed to get through the four years unscathed, with degrees. And now, I’m proud to tell you that we occupy some of the most important seats in the STEM and legal departments…

No, we don’t! A few of us do, but not most of us. Because as you will learn, the purpose of college is not just to train you into a professional and give you a degree. Rather, college should help you discover your truth. Your purpose on this God’s Earth.

So what do I do now? I don’t know. Alright. I write stuff, creative stuff. This means I write ‘funny’ nothings on this third-rate column and anywhere else someone is willing to pay me to curate words. Of course, my enemies will tell you this is not a real job, and that all I do is write lame jokes about Min Jii and, sometimes, my miserable life. In fact, Min Jii herself still can’t believe I’m using my computer science degree to be funny on a newspaper that she uses to light her jiko. I have a career that literally has nothing to do with my degree. Like, my computer science degree is useless. But I’ll have you know, it takes brains to make money from words.

But that’s beside the point because the point is what I’m about to say just right about now.

With time, you will learn that the truth is not the truth, the truth is subjective. Your truth is not necessarily your mother’s truth, it is not the society’s truth; it is not in your grades or in your family name. The truth is much more complicated. The truth is who you really are deep in your person. It is your dreams, your ambitions and your passion condensed into a single word equity: purpose.

Finding your truth is recognising that just because you scored an A doesn’t mean you have to be a doctor or an engineer. It is recognising that your D grade does not make you any less of an intelligent being. The truth, dear boys and girls, is that a piece of paper that says you are smart at a thing will not simplify your life.

There are so many people who, by their grades and academic qualifications, should not be able to do what they do. And yet these people have gone ahead to beat the odds and dominate their various fields at the international level. It is only natural that people who follow their truth will always be better at whatever they do than the rest of us. I’m talking about discovering your purpose. I’m talking about following your passion steadfastly, and I dispute that those things are less important than academic qualifications.

So guys, get out there and discover your truths. Do not falter in your quest to follow your passions. And as you settle on your future careers, know that it is a gift to do what you are passionate about. To love it, feel it, enjoy it and let it flow through you. And then watch as your life morphs into what you dreamed it to be. This is worth more than all the money in the world.

Yours truly,

Knower of Stuff