“I shall be telling this with a sigh somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” ~Robert Frost
I have been sitting for hours (really days) trying to write anything at all to express the overwhelming feeling of gratitude and joy I have felt in the last few weeks. This is a rarity coming from someone who has (more than enough) words most of the time. But then again some things just shock you into numbness. So this is what I decided to do: Just about this same time, eight years ago, I had the privilege to speak on behalf of my class at our graduating ceremony. As usual, it took me a long while to write the speech and reading through it again, the emotions are really the same. I will therefore reproduce an adapted version to convey me feelings currently.
“…In October 2010, when I said goodbye to my family and left the only country I called home to live by myself miles away, I was nothing but excited and the last few years have been nothing short of my expectations. As a child I always dreamt of becoming a chemical engineer perhaps to follow in my father’s steps. Interestingly he was the one who convinced me to study Pharmacy, a decision I took and will hopefully never regret.
Pursuing a postgraduate degree in science research especially (really because that is all i know) comes with too many challenges to list: lonely hours in the laboratory, seemingly fruitless hours behind your computer; failed experiments, rejected papers and grants etc… Even though I thoroughly enjoyed my research and the teaching I was privileged to do, there were also many difficult days. The ones you throw your hands in air, frustrated and full of tears. There were also the times when I felt like giving up and tried blaming my Dad for convincing me to study pharmacy and ‘enabling’ my postgraduate dreams. I hate to admit but he was right and he hasn’t at all failed to rub it in these last weeks.
The few times I have been asked to say something to ‘inspire’ people, my mind boggles; why me? A regular girl trying to take each day at a time while living her life as best as she can. But then I am reminded; we meet no ordinary people on life’s journey and we learn best from the people we least expect to. The more I think about what to say (or write) the more I realise I stand the chance of saying utter nonsense if I think too hard. So I believe; Don’t tell people what you did, tell them what you learned while doing it. I hope this extract from a book I once read proves helpful: ‘Well, you must first believe you can, let no one tell you differently- it’s your life and it’s in your handsThen turn your dreams into goals and see what you need to satisfy the requirements- the why, the when and how. At first you will be overwhelmed of course because there is so much you don’t know. But keep your faith, be strong and sure. Take careful steps and do them right.
Take pride in each thing done. Don’t look too far ahead of yourself. Before u know it, your dream will then be real. And you will be standing where I am now telling others how good it feels. You will tell them not to quit and to have faith so they know it can be done.’
In an attempt to express my gratitude, I would want to paraphrase Bernard of Charters- I am like a dwarf on the shoulders of giants, so that if I have seen more and things at a greater distance, then it is not by virtue of any sharpness of sight on my part, or any physical distinction but because I have been carried high and raised by their giant size. The Almighty God who gave me life and sustains me has been my driving force throughout the years and he deserves all my praise. The shoulders that have carried me highest are that of my family, friends and the women who have led me to believe I can be all I dream and the only limitations I will have are the ones I set for myself. (hint hint: another entry for a future blogpost).
Finally I want to end by saying, You never know when you are making a memory, I have learnt firsthand that every person holds limitless potential waiting to be unleashed and I am living proof that goals can be achieved. Truly anything is possible if you believe. The sky is no longer the limit…”
Dedicated to my late Granpa who went to be with The Lord just too soon. I would give anything for him to have seen 18/07/2015. RIP SAA