Sigh. Writing the title of this blog almost drained me of all my energy and dried up my mouth. I am officially lost for words! Right, first of all, I am a 20 year old girl who is currently on a gap year, awaiting the start of her first year at university in September. To not beat about the bush, I am what most people would call “young”. As a young lady, I’ve been told many times that I’m “too young” to do this, “too young” to focus on this; basically, I’m constantly reminded that I am young. Unfortunately, most young people live up to the standards people set for them e.g. “You’re too young to achieve such a huge task”. Sound familiar? Well, fortunately for me, I choose to ignore such negativity in my life, well, 90% of the time it is plain negativity to be honest, and allow myself to let my being determine just how far I can go, how much I can do with the “little experience” that I have of life. When I decided to take a gap year, many voices told me it was the biggest mistake ever and that I should just go straight to university. The whole purpose of this gap year was to discover myself, discover my capabilities and discover what I really want to do with the rest of my life. Plunging straight into the university hype with little to no knowledge of the real world seemed (to me) a greater risk than taking things slow, one step at a time. So I went ahead with the gap year and I experienced so much in just 1 year. I moved out for a job for 3 months and lived on my own, a time during which I got an idea of what being independent is all about, I went on an adventure teaching in Tanzania, I climbed Mt Kilimanjaro and went on safari: I can truthfully say it was the best decision of my life so far. I just wish more young people would feel the same way and not limit themselves by setting goals so low; afraid of failing because society says they’re “too young” to achieve anything great.
The reason why I am writing this post right this moment is because I’ve been inspired. Yes, who hasn’t, you may say, but I haven’t been as inspired as I am today. On Saturday the 14th of June, I had the privilege of attending the first ever Zimbabwean International Women’s Awards (ZIWA) ceremony at the Macdonald Burlington Hotel in Birmingham, courtesy of Simba, a man who believes that young people like me can achieve great things if they put their mind to it. I met many women who have achieved phenomenal things I couldn’t keep my excitement in! At the ceremony, a young girl of 16 called Maud Chifamba received an award for her academic achievements and how inspirational she is to young generations; she started university in Zimbabwe at the fresh age of 14! I was mind-blown. I mean, at 14 I was more concerned about “Do I have enough food in my trunk? When is the next visiting day?” and all kinds of trivial issues most teenagers think about. But this girl, (You can read her story here or here), against all odds, worked so hard to achieve great academic achievements, such that they made her carry on to higher classes and eventually end up at university at just 14. Many people might have possibly told her something like, “You’re too young to go to university, who do you think you are?”, but she showed them and the rest of the world that age, poverty or lack of support is never a barrier between you and your dreams; it is your attitude towards life and your capabilities that stands between you and your goals. If you’re passionate about, work hard for it. If you work hard for it, you will always find a way forward! So if you’re a young person reading this, what excuse do you have for not being awesome? You are never too young to make a difference; the fact that you exist on this planet means that you are an integral part of a great network – without you, society is handicapped. Don’t limit yourselves, guys; go on and be awesome!
Have a great week