The Senior High School system in Ghana is one of the major transit points in our educational system. Thousands of students are churned out every now and then either onto the streets or into public or private universities and other tertiary institutions. The entry point that receives majority of these SHS graduates is a discussion for another day. Some 12 years ago I was in your situation, and some of the lessons, I learned the hard way. Below is a list of the 5 things I wished I knew before graduating from SHS. and if you’re still in SHS you better learn them quick.
- YOUR LIFE WAS HANDED DOWN TO YOU
About 90% of the students who enter SHS for the first time are ignorant of the fact that their lives were hand down to them at the word go. The average age of students who enter into SHS for the first time is 15years. At this age, the student is still not mentally matured to understand the new life he or she has been contracted by mum and dad to pursue. They enter into a whole new environment: new people, new buildings, new life! This transition of neophyte is the most sensitive time of his or her life. The journey begins with socialization and sense of belonging. In the attempt to socialize and feel accepted, first timers, as mentally immature as they are, end up making friends who take steps to set the academic contact they and their parents had originally signed aside. Friends are the most powerful resources at the SHS level but sadly enough, a majority of them are architects of destruction. 95% of the unfortunate stories of rape, stealing, death, threat, pregnancy, alcohol and drug use, fraud, homosexuality, lesbianism, truancy, etc. can be attributed to wrong association: friends period!
The story is recounted of an SHS graduate who after years of engaging in lesbianism, is now seeking help to stop the behavior. According to “PONCHO,” ( not her real name) she entered SHS in 2001.
” I was a well-trained Christian girl from a modest home. On my first day in boarding house, a pretty, innocent-looking young lady, a senior, approached me and offered to be my friend. She promised to show me the ropes during my stay in the school. As confused as I already was, I accepted the offer. This lady became my “school mother” and eventually, the one who introduced me to lesbianism.
One night, while I was asleep, she sneaked into my bed and started touching me in a sexual way. Initially, I thought I was dreaming, but I was totally wrong. I woke up gruffly to see this lady, fondling my breasts and inserting her index finger into my “thing”. I was shocked by the sight and jumped up immediately.
“My school mother” begged me not to scream, and that she won’t repeat the shameful act. This was far from the truth. She kept pestering me till I gave up. The lesbianism thing is a whole syndicate on campus, properly networked. When I got initiated, it was so addictive that it took all my time. I couldn’t wait for night time. At times, we have to sneak out of class to the urinals and toilets to have “fun”. Fun indeed! At least so I thought at the time. I lost focus and the purpose for which I was enrolled, was thrown out of the window.
Eventually, I FAILED my final exams. When I came home, I immediately got onto the streets to sustain my habit. I’m 31 years and still a lesbian. I want to stop; I want to reconstruct my life. I’m now going through counseling and I hope it comes off good.”
Most students don’t realize the senior high level is really a critical stage where they actually have one foot in the door of potential success and one foot-two hands in the door of potential failure. The day your parents waved you good-bye at the gates of the senior high school, was the day the choice of success was handed down to you. What you did with it was entirely your responsibility.
2. YOU HAD LESS TIME THAN YOU ORIGINALLY THOUGHT
The number one deception of every SHS student is the deception of time. Time is such that you don’t know you don’t have enough of it. If you happened to live outside time, you would have pitied humanity. Only few know the mystery of time. The bare truth is everything under the sun is under the influence of time. The Holy Bible of the Christians has a verse that says “There is time for everything…”
Normally, SHS students see their 3 years stay in school as a hell lot of time. “FOOLISH!” I thought same and paid the price dearly. This erroneous idea is established in first year. The idea sinks into the sub-conscious mind and begins to entrench itself. After that, caution is thrown to the wind. Prep hours are sacrificed for “honey chats” and letter writing. “Sports deception” goes into the over-drive. Entertainment nights hypnotize the mind, and all these take the place of the one main thing…STUDY! STUDY!! STUDY!!! Now let’s subject these factors to some analysis and see if they merit the time we allot them during our stay in SHS.
“Preps for honey chats and letters” studies have shown that less than 1% of the love relationships started in school ever end in marriage or something worthwhile. That means over 90% end in regret and unnecessary heartbreaks. YOU are the best judge. Did you marry your SHS sweetheart? I never did. How many relationships have you had so far eh? Tell me! ooooo, come on dear, don’t leave me out of this one. How many times were you heartbroken, or how many times did you break someone’s heart? And that opens a big can of worms right? Think about it. Time time you wasted in nurturing this relationship, the resources you spent could all have enured to your academic benefit. You lost it; you failed some papers; you wrote NOV/DEC once or twice, and now you’re in the university or somewhere. But when you look back, you’re like “merrrrn”, I wasted time. You would have been in the skies by now. Not so?
“Sports season deception” Tell me, how many of those footballers, runners, basket ballers, etc. you were out cheering and using the opportunity to further the course of your love relationships ever become a professional. If you can name a dozen, I’m wrong on this one. Sure you can’t. You wasted time. When ever you meet them some day, you’ll tell your friends, “He was such a great footballer back in school.”
“Entertainment nights” you wish you knew this was another time waster. How many of them have their own music albums? Those “too known” boys and girls who called themselves rappers and dancers or niggers. They ended up snatching your never to be future wife from you…lol.
Before you know it, you’re behind your final paper! 3 years up!
3. YOUR SUCCESS IN SCHOOL DOESN’T YOU’LL BE SUCCESSFUL IN LIFE
Education will never give you money or even guarantee a success life. Most people think, ” I’ll study hard, make the A’s, go to university, and halelluyah, here comes money”. That’s nothing but wishful thinking. There’s another school outside the school called, “THE SCHOOL OF LIFE”. There are not textbooks for this school. In fact, it will take creativity and ingenuity to be enrolled in such school. There are millions who were brilliant in class. They made the grades but I tell you, all that did not guarantee a successful life for them. Out there, we play by different rules. Education will only present you with information. That information will create opportunities for you. But what you do with the opportunity is entirely different and up to you. The fact is, the most successful people of our generation, were not the brilliant guys in class. A-STUDENTS will always end up working for C-STUDENTS. This assertion will be discussed later.
4. YOUR PARENTS WILL NEVER BE SURPRISED WITH YOUR RESULTS
A lot of students have this erroneous idea that since they’re in the boarding house, it’ll be difficult for parents to monitor their progress. Let me admit that we were very smart in hiding our end of term report, relationships and love letters and what have you from the “old pals”. But don’t be deceived, your parents are “sorcerers”. They sent you to school to be better than they are. Maybe to get the education they never had. Truth is, they pick feeds from your behavior every now and then when you’re on vacation. They form their own theories about you afterwards. You can’t hide for long. Don’t you realize how difficult it is to study when you’re on vacation? Bottom line! You don’t do it in school so you can’t do it at home, period! When you eventually bring home the result you can’t hide—the final one, then your parents will read to you your “academic biography”. It’s not easy here in Ghana. It comes with a venom! Don’t underestimate the power of your “old pals”. They’re wiser than you think!
5. YOUR LEARNING NEVER ENDS
Your learning does not conclude at the end of SHS or the university, or even when you land your first job. Rather, that’s just the start. The journey ahead of you, will be full of twists and turns. You might make decisions that may affect you in ways you never imagined. Don’t despair, you’re still learning. Most of you will never use any of the things you learned in SHS. Some will find themselves in totally new courses and occupations they never dreamed of. The issue is, at age 15 when you entered SHS, you were mentally too young to know what you want. And even at age 18, when you are set to leave, you’re still too young to know what you want. The road to your destination will not be rosy. At times, the road may be clear. At other times, you may feel you’re just going in circles. There will be opportunities and missed opportunities. These are all tools for knowledge and experience. The road to the top is not a one-way road. There are many roads to the same destination so don’t be afraid to explore.
This is the school of life and you’re most welcome!