Life is an ocean of trials and temptations that need to be overcome. To do that, you first need to know yourself and discover your ambition; for there is no sailor who has no compass and map; nor is everyone a pioneer. With lack of direction, we may travel in circles and never reach our destination. If you want your life to have any value, you must have ambition and determination to reach your goals. Don’t think that your personality can not change, it can change. But change is not realized because it happens as a result of influences over which one has no conscious control. Most personalities have been imposed by our surrounding environment. For example poverty, I did not ask God for it but it is there so the only beautiful thing is that changing my view on life can be the beginning of change.
During my childhood, I had a very discouraging personality and outlook on life. I used not to care about my grades because I not only didn’t know my true self but also believed in the saying, “What is to be, will be.” I didn’t know of the power that lies within me until an event happened in my class that changed my life. Life in poverty was not all that easy. Though my father managed to send me to school, I still faced hardships. I didn’t have enough money for breakfast like the other children and nothing to carry my books in. I ended up using a plastic bag or carrying my items by hand. My life was a life of perseverance up to the present date.
When I reached primary 7, I was a little bit mature. My mother gave me her old handbag to use as my school bag. I accepted it and continued using it until one day a friend made fun of me in class. He said, “Is this how terrible your poverty is that you are moving with a rag shabby bag? Can’t you buy a new one?” I just glared at him silently. I cried so bitterly within me but no one in class noticed. I remembered the last time I had a new bag was when I was in primary 3. That day, I myself was in great conflict and decided that I should change the way I live to overcome poverty. To get the best out of life I decided I should study people and study books. Not after some days, the school first term results were out, I was the 20TH and my friend was the 3RD in class. She started boasting in class that no one can do as she does. That in her lifetime this position had never changed. So because I was one of those students who underestimate themselves, I kept questioning myself and I thought that it’s time to analyze my imperfections and endeavor to overcome them; for it is said, “There is no battle more severe and no victory more honorable than when a man fights with himself and wins the battle”.
Time passed and I was gradually improving in my grades. I became the 7TH in class and her the 8TH for the second term exams. I came to believe that those who believe they can conquer, really can. I should have not underestimated the power I had within me because life is what you make it. Life is how you look at it. The number of opportunities I have in life depends not on how lucky I am, but on how well I have trained my mind to recognize them; success or failure depends on me. I kept reading books from that day onward until I came across biographies of famous people and seeing how they struggled in the face of difficulties and defeats. I was encouraged to keep striving and never to give up as Abraham Lincoln stated: “I shall study and prepare; someday my chance will come”.
Now I don’t undermine my grades but instead, work hard on improving them. I became one of the best female students in my secondary school because of my performance, conduct and smartness. Words that were to shutter my world in primary school have become words that led to success.
I came to realize that many people who are happy and successful in life, learned earlier on to look in the eye of their weaknesses and correct them. We should not just end in self-pity, it will get us nowhere in this cruel world. If you were born into poverty, you must seek a way to get out by your own effort; it may be that nobody else will help you. Everyone has downfalls, some overcome them and others don’t. Do not go about with the belief that “what is to be, will be”. This will indeed fail you. Habits, traits, and attitudes can be changed. Just as they are learned, they can be unlearned. I had a habit of not revising my books and underestimating myself and so I usually had low grades. But I came to know that I can do what others can do so I replaced those habits with new ones. It is up to me to be a leader or follower. Life is what you make it, if you give the world your best, the best will come to you. There is more in each of us than we have ever shown so far. We have powers and abilities that we haven’t even begun to discover.
In 2018, I won a three-week exchange program in the US for the Pan Africa Youth Leadership Program by writing one of the best essays in Juba. To conclude, at first I didn’t believe that I made all the achievements. Going to the US was a very great achievement; imagine someone who has never gone out of Juba has gone to the US. That was my first time traveling. I really became very grateful to that boy who insulted me. Because I took his insult positively, I am able to see the power which resides in me. Indeed we are greater than we know. We should think positively in all circumstances. To grow the best, we must sow the best. We should know that true encouragement comes from within ourselves. Do anything with a will and be confident that you will succeed.
By: BEATRICE DWOKI LEGGE