Unexpected Turns

“Oh my G-d!You were very smart. I thought you were going to be a doctor?”

“Weren’t you doing PCB - Physics, Chemistry and Biology, why are you studying Economics?”

Among of the hard time that many form six leavers in Tanzania always face, is the time to join universities and colleges. The academic journey is always bitter to many youths during this time.

 Many dissappointments come their ways. And sometimes they can no longer have faith on what they are going to do/study. This is really "Unexpected Turns"

Ms Joyce Mposi has shared her experience.

Flow with her......

 “How does it feel like being at Mzumbe from Cambridge?”

“Oh my G-d!You were very smart. I thought you were going to be a doctor?”

“Weren’t you doing PCB - Physics, Chemistry and Biology, why are you studying Economics?”

Well, I couldn’t think of a better way to start my story. My name is Joyce Mpossi, I am a third year student at Mzumbe university pursuing Bachelors of Science in Economics in Population and Development. I am so excited to share with you this story about expectations and owning your story. Like many other Tanzanian Youths, my academic journey didn’t turn out as expected and it was so hard to accept in the beginning. I would bother you with a lot of unnecessary details but if you are going through the university application struggle right now, or know someone who is, you would know how it feels. When you put so much work to become what you have always wanted and it doesn’t happen the way you want it to, or at all. It hurts. Does that mean the fight is over or you are now a loser? No. 

Speaking as a person who has experienced it, it would seem so but NO. When you are on the outside looking in as an external observer, it might seem like nothing much, but when you are in the midst of it, it is not. You question, how will my friends see me? Aren’t my parents disappointed that I didn’t get into the school they wanted me to, or the program they wanted me to? How will my colleagues see me now that I have to start all over because I discontinued? I know many people who usually seem calm, smart and composed and still, who when put through such situations they struggled.You start questioning your abilities and how far you can get or how much you can do in life. But here’s something I would say to my younger self. First, Joyce, you don’t owe anyone a certain kind of life. Just do your best! And that’s what I need most people to know. Just because you are not a medical student like you wanted to doesn’t mean you are a failure. Just because you were supposed to be a third year student but you started all over again doesn’t mean you are a failure. Just because your grades are really bad and you cannot make it to college doesn’t mean you are a failure. 

There’s so much more to life than labels that the society has put upon you and automatically they have become the only way you see you evaluate your worth. You may need time. You are allowed to take time to adjust and accept the new opportunities presented to you and the ones you have lost. You don’t have to hide away and be ashamed of the path you ended up on. You would just be depriving yourself of opportunities that come with being seen in your position. 

What society or your family expects of you isn’t necessarily what you have to be. You get to make your own path and forge your own place in the world. There is an increase in youth depression and suicide. Many are because people are scared of labels, and are ashamed of not reaching the expectations of family or those around us. It doesn’t have to be this way. Find the courage to explore life with its many unknowns. Albert Einstein once said, no defeat is final until you stop trying. I just hope as this story ends you have come to know your greatness isn’t compromised until you stop trying.

We believe that this inspiring and encouraging piece will light up your way.

Share to many friends for them to be encouraged too.


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  1. Great piece! The reader can feel the pain from the writer's words. The article is engaging, informative and inspiring...