The choices you make now, are so Paramount!

By APN Reporter

UACE results have been released, and as usual, the girls have performed slightly better than the boys, and we thank God for the gender mainstreaming efforts that are seeing girls and women pick up more confidence to pursue opportunities in equal measure as their male counterparts. Well, I congratulate all the young people upon their milestone because it is one of the key turning points in one’s life. 

If you are one of those that received your results on Friday, 20th, August 2021, or if you have a son or daughter, sister or brother, Auntie or Uncle who did, I wish to share my story with you.

In 2009, I sat my UACE at St. Charles Lwanga SS. Kasasa. I offered HEL/D and of course at the back of my mind was that once I performed well, I would go study law and become an advocate of the high court like my learned comrades refer to themselves?. After my final paper, (which should have been Literature, but I don’t remember which paper exactly), I went and joined my Auntie at her home in Mpererwe (Kampala). 

Two days into my long A-level vacation, we started talking about how my vacation was going to be, and I revealed to my Auntie that I was planning to get a job and make some money. We didn’t talk about the next step because we had agreed I would go to the National Teachers College to become a Grade V teacher (remember I had narrowly skipped Primary Teachers’ college when we abruptly changed the plan after my S.4) so the plan now was better because I would become a secondary school teacher with a diploma. The following day when she left me home, I decided to go looking for a job. While on Kampala road, I met Haruna, who had been my Deputy when I was Head Prefect at Kasasa. Haruna was carrying items for sale. Shirts, boxers, handkerchiefs, socks, name it.

So Haruna tells me that he now works with Link Garments and the head office was in Wandegeya. He convinced me that I would actually make money because once I was given merchandise (as he referred to the items) they would give me a lower selling price and anything I would get above that would be my money.

I went with Haruna to head office because he was returning the unsold items to head office. He introduced me to the supervisor and told her that I wanted to work. This lady told me to come the following day for interviews.

The following day, I dressed very smartly and went for the interview, and in the interview room, I found a gentleman who was stunned by my smartness and told me I was very smart and was therefore qualified to be a salesman. He told me to go back home and come the following Monday for orientation so I start working. He also asked me to come with a recommendation letter from the LCI Chairman. 

Hell broke when my Auntie came back home in the evening and I broke the news with excitement how I had got a job????. She didn’t seem confident about the job so she asked me a few questions to understand which job I was going to do. I told her because I needed her to take me to the LCI Chairman of the area. 
When she asked what I was going to do, I told her proudly, that I was going to be a salesman??‍♂️??. She asked what I was going to sell, I told her shirts, socks, boxers, handkerchiefs, etc. Now the question that brought problems was *How much are you going to be paid!?* And this is where I told her I would just sell and pay myself?
My Auntie looked at me and while holding her chin, she stressed a serious question “Mwana wangye, waaza kukora obutembeyi” loosely transilated “My son, are you going to become a hawker!??” This is when realty hit me. We immediately took a quick joint decision that I should go to the village and get a teaching job.
On the next Monday, instead of heading to Wandegeya, I got on bus and my next destination was Kabale.
The following week, I got a teaching job at Kabanyonyi Vocational School to teach English language and C.R.E. after two weeks, I got a second teaching job at Bishop Robert Gay Secondary school – Nyanja to teach English and Commerce. This is what occupied me for the rest of my vacation. By the time my UACE results came, they found me teaching, and I had somehow discovered myself. And this greatly influenced my decisions going forward and my next level of education.
I don’t know what you have been doing as you waited for your results, but my hope is that you have not been idle. My hope is that you now realize that at your age, 18, 19, 20 years, you are transiting into an adult and even the next level of education you are going for, will be characterized with a lot of Independence in your decisions and way of life.  You have the time between now and when you go to the next level, to prepare yourself psychologically, economically, socially, and monetary for independent life. 
The decisions you make now, ranging from what course you are going to study at University, where you will go, whether to stay alone or with others or with your parents while at University, how much to socialize and with whom, your understanding of the things around you, and how you start viewing the world around you, is Paramount.
I hope that you now know that you are nearing some of the most significant milestones in your social calendar. In my case, the time I was receiving these UACE results, was exactly 4 years before I could finish my Bachelor’s degree and start a family. I can’t say that I am the most successful, but I have very many valuable experiences that I can share with you and this is why I am writing this simple note to you. 

It doesn’t matter which grades you have scored, like I always tell you, it is how you are going to handle the next steps and your next experience that will determine your altitude as you get out to the world. 
I congratulate you once again, and bring you greetings from Kigarama!
Alexander Kyokwijuka,  Humble Citizen, Kigarama, Ndorwa East