A student like no other

I visited a relative of mine a few days ago, at her hostel room in a university in Kampala. This visit was shortened because I had another appointment that I was running really late for, and because she received a call midway our chat, from her lecturer who was calling her to go pick her report from the university grounds. I found that interesting a lecturer has your number and heshe can call or even (gasp), send you a text message on how to handle that piece of coursework! This was never the case in our times.

Nevertheless our chat was fun. We caught up, laughed at silly jokes and generally enjoyed each other’s company. What struck me the most was the attitude this young woman had to life, especially academics. She told me about her internship, where she did the first stint at a soft drink bottling company’s depot in another district.

It was nice because she got to get a few bottles for free every day. Of course the important thing was that she learnt a few basics. The next year, she asked to intern at the company again and this time she was taken to the headquarters. Now this she really liked because she got to do more hands-on work and see how things are done at the start of the chain, not the end.

It was the way she spoke about her experience that I admired. She talked about how she kept trying to learn something from her supervisor but because he was so busy, she realised it would not happen with the short amount of time she had there.

So she insisted on taking documents home to read, internalise and come back to work not so ignorant about the way things were done. He relented. She read. And days later, both of them saw an improvement in her work.

Towards the end of the internship, she had to write a report for the company, which she did. After that, it hit her that all she needed to do for her class report, was rework the company document and hand it in. She did not wait for that time when the lecturers start reminding the students and giving deadlines. She got to work early, handed the report in and got feedback on how to improve. By the time she was handing in the final draft, which the lecturer liked by the way, her classmates were just working their first drafts. She was clearly ahead of the pack.

Having now interned for the bottling company for a while, she is now a self-made ambassador for them. Their drink, only, is what she offers you if you visit her, with an explanation to go with it. She is keen on going back to do something with them when she is done with school. And from the looks of it, they are eager to take her on. But that is not where she is stopping.

In fact she is toying with the ideas of trying something different at another organisation. Meanwhile, when she is done with mid semester tests, she will be helping a friend get students to open accounts with a certain bank. She is sure she can win some people over so why not?

Now you can see why I was struck. Here is a young woman who grabs every opportunity with both hands however small it looks, who works hard at whatever she is given even though it is not her favourite thing to do, who has big dreams and who is planning for life after university. How could I not be impressed?

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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