By this time next week, I will already be off, stepping into a new chapter of my life: college. Considering this, after much deliberation, I have decided that this will be my last article.
Writing for Guyana Times has been a transformative experience. When I started some two years ago, I could not have imagined that one small column every Sunday would eventually become such a part of my life. Foremost, the column provided me with a platform with which I could articulate my thoughts on things that I was passionate about: whether it was art, science, or social issues.
My initial intention when I started this column was to provide a perspective that might not be represented much else – that of a student. I tried to centre my articles on school, CSEC and CAPE examinations, and careers in the Sciences. There were two major reasons I wanted to do this. The first was to humanise myself, and other “top students”. I, and they, know that we are just normal teenagers. Yet, it appeared to me that the public perception was one far from the reality of the situation. We were seen as unapproachable, as “robots”, and we were accused of being one-dimensional. I wanted to show people that top students were people just like them, that we had normal social lives, and that we faced the same anxiety and uncertainty when it came to examinations and results.
This leads into the second reason I tried to centre my articles on school. I wanted to provide advice for those who were facing examinations. I know that the time can be incredibly stressful, and I think we have become obsessed with the “secret to success”. Every time there are examinations, reporters rush to the houses of the top students eager to learn of their habits to report to others, as if you the reader were to follow this exact regimen you would have the same results. I wanted to speak directly to young people to remind them that everyone is different, and that they shouldn’t necessarily get caught up in what everyone else is doing or did. Essentially I wanted to explain that what works for one person might not for another. This is a point which I think is not stressed enough. You as a student need to take the time to figure out what works for you and stick to that. If that’s studying one hour every day of the week, or if it’s studying five hours straight on the weekends, it’s your process. Young people need to take agency and responsibility over their future. They need to be working for themselves, and not to compete with others or to please their parents/society.
Of course, there was only so much that I could write about school. And after time, as my audience grew, I began to become more confident in writing about social issues. I became I suppose, in some ways an activist. Writing this column forced me to become more attuned to societal problems: both in Guyana and the rest of the world. Ultimately, I think this helped me to grow as a person. I had to begin to read more widely so that I could develop an informed opinion. Having a platform to present these thoughts made me feel even more empowered, almost like I had some ability to effect change.
The idea that I, at 19 years old, have the access to effect change; to make a difference in people’s lives is astounding, and humbling. I am so grateful that a few hundred words published in a paper on a Sunday could make a difference in someone’s life. Even if it is just one person, I am happy.
During the next few months, I will dedicate myself wholly to University and adjusting to living in a new country. Perhaps I will begin to write again, but for now, this is goodbye. Thank you all so much for your support, and thank you to Guyana Times for what has been an amazing two years.