Upon resumption during midterm break in my SS1, I needed to go to the guidance and counseling department to assign me to a class (Lost? Refer to my first post with this same title). The practice then was to get all the children together and move them into different arms of classes depending on their performance in Jss3. The best students were most likely to get into science classes. Most of us accepted it. The world sold us a lie, our parents bred us in the lie and we bought it. We believed Science students were smarter than Arts students. The years have since proven us wrong.

So I still remember the day I met the counselor lady. She told me she didn’t think I could cope if I joined the Science class. She suggested me joining Arts or Social Sciences. That was when my dam of tears broke. I remembered how my parents could not afford my school fees; I was almost blaming them. I was afraid my life was about to be ruined if I went along with her suggestion. I was about to be sentenced to the Arts. That was worthy of eliciting tears. Well, I cried well and she gave in. I had won the battle of her mind. She allowed me to join SS1 Gold. I was now in the sciences. Yipee!

But as I would discover later, that was one of the worst decisions of my life. I should have just gone to the Arts because I am a man of the Arts. Society forced me into her mould and I allowed it. This message of career choice, purpose etc. were not known to me then so I acted based on what I knew. The result was that I came 7th to last that term (35th out of 42). Interestingly, I was the best in English language. That was my strength.

That decision affected my life a lot and I struggled all through Senior secondary school. I was just average.

I want to speak to those reading this today. Whether you are a parent or guardian, please encourage your wards along their strength lines. It is better to build their career around their abilities. Don’t force your Child to read the Medicine JAMB did not allow you read. You need to be futuristic in your thinking. Who would have thought years ago that Programming, ICT, music, comedy, public speaking would be money raking today? Talent never fails. Just be trained to monetize it.

I have had to live with the scar of the injury my wrong choice delivered to me. I have been empty knowing I was not in my place of assignment. About 17 years later I had to go do a Masters degree in Communication management. I just had to fight back. It gave me a sense of fulfilment, but the truth is I still lament for the wasted years. I am a lot wiser now as a father of two boys so, yes, I can speak as a father to the younger ones: Get it right the first time. It will save you a lot of pain.

However, despite my wrong choice, in spite of my failings, I’m glad to say I am not a failure. I have failed, but I am not a failure. Each time I look at my scars, I get a message that will prevent others from failing.

It’s okay to fail. But when you do, fail forward.

I am Michael Nwangwa and I care about you.

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