A “Proud Poppa” Week for Me

April 7, 2012 — Leave a comment

mtu whatsapp picMtuseni and I have celebrated some milestone moments. Like when he passed the national matric exams to qualify for entry to Boston Media House in Johannesburg. And when he rebounded after epically failing his first test and wanting to quit. (I’d warned him that college exams aren’t like high school exams, but he had to learn the hard way!)

Since then, he’s settled in to school and everything has been pretty smooth. Of course, I’m proud of Mtuseni every day, but there haven’t been many beaming, high-five moments lately.

Since he started at BMH, I’ve been trying to help him understand that college isn’t a golden ticket. Yes, he has an advantage over kids that didn’t get beyond high school. But now he’ll be competing for jobs with other college grads – so he needs to go the extra mile at school.

When I visited BMH in January, the administrator told me about the student committee – and how members get to work as campus guides during orientation, and get first crack at internships and job referrals.

This was a golden ticket! Mtuseni had to apply. But he’s a quiet, thoughtful kid who prefers to hang back and observe, sticking to his small group. We talked about it the day I left Johannesburg, and shook in agreement that he’d apply when the semester started.

Mtuseni sometimes “forgets” to do things I ask, and once classes started he needed a few stern reminders about promises and integrity and his future. I know where he’s coming from. I was a shy kid; I would never have applied for a student council. But he wrote his application – and the other day he told me that he was named to the committee as the school sports rep… and they’re having an induction! Then he changed his chat avatar to “Mtuseni is invincible!”

He made it. This opens the door to better opportunities, more responsibility, experience in teamwork, and a chance to leave his mark on the school. All from a self-proclaimed “farm boy” who a year ago needed Google directions from me on how to get to the campus. And from a shy, smart kid who says nobody has ever believed in him before.

Yeah… it was definitely a smiling, teary-eyed, puffed-chest kind of week!

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