After the GCE... why you should fear science, polytech and most elite schools and How it destroyed an A-student - Christian Hip-Hop Blog |Most Trusted CHH Blog

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Tuesday, September 11, 2018

After the GCE... why you should fear science, polytech and most elite schools and How it destroyed an A-student

You can either be a big fish in a small pond, or asmall fish in a big pond!
Out of the hundreds that embark on this career, only few get recognized. Many parents still feel it isn’t worth it; probably until a great manager appears at their doorsteps with a contract that seem very promising. Among the hundreds of Cameroonian players at that time, his career seemed more promising, fans raved at his presence, screaming his name and wearing his jersey. His results especially at the club level were superb, rendering him immune, enough to keep his critics dumbfounded.
Back in Arsenal, Alexandre SONG as many recall was a linchpin. A directing force that paved the way for his team’s success in different matches. Many Cameroonians thought he'd better leave Arsenal, to make a name elsewhere and why not win the champions league. Later in his career, he received a huge offer to go play for a big club. In football, such signings either bolster your career or quench it. He took the offer, to go play for the GIANT F.C BARCELONA. Wow! What an exploit. But many pundits did say, his rift with the Cameroonian football team’s captain at the time (Samuel ETO'O), galvanized this decision of his.
After this signing, his life was never the same again.
For the better ? So did many think, but it was for the worst.
Instead for his football career to blossom, it experienced a waterloo.

                                         Neba Christian

“There is no such thing as living your passion in Cameroon, our context doesn’t permit that.”

He is now so discouraged that all he says, seem to express a spirit of dampened enthusiasm. Neba is a worker at QUINET, a network marketing company based in Yaoundé. He pitches and tries to sale to anyone and everyone; from acquaintances to close relations.  Did you know Neba? If you did, What happened to him?
For those who don’t, let’s see:
Who was Neba Chris ?

Back in the days nobody equaled him, he was one of the few prodigies that existed. "His records are excellent" this is what all his classmates recall at the mention of his name. From his entry into secondary school to his exit, he knew just one exhilaration; the joy of always being the best. That is 1ST of the class.  Saint Rita's College still echoes his successes even till date; it’s hard to find someone with such exquisite academic footprints.
After excelling at the advanced level, given that Neba had quasi-perfect scores, he had 24/25 points. He was now faced with a challenge; what and where next? In Cameroon, with a science background, especially if you are among the best; two main choices are voiced to you continuously. Either National Polytechnic or Medical school (CUSS). He went for Polytechnic, to him this was the right choice because? that’s where the tough guys were. He was a guy who exuded so much confidence, that even contemplating failure was an odd he never gave room to. He made it in the entrance exams. He started school effectively, void of any hitches. BUT
Two years later, it turns out he is a dropout.
What went wrong during these two years?
What is the untold story behind these two and numerous similar stories?

The greatest mistake Neba and A Song did was to insert themself into a system where they were small fishes in big ponds.

                          The untold short story of Neba’s failure

Back in form 5, Neba was excellent in 10 subjects. He was the star of every award ceremony. He always collected all the end of year prizes and his parents never knew the pain of buying books because he always received them at the end of the year. Who didn't wish he were Neba?
Out of all Neba's classmates I could interview, one man did say"I would never have!" that was Beltus Nguefack now in the army. "Why?" I asked, and his reply was "Because the one thing that gave me much more pride and honour than Neba was that; he was poor  in French Language and I was excellent. also, I wasn't poor in any other subject, i could just be average.  Imagine it in 2004 being the only guy that knows French in an institution, the only guy who receives a best price before Neba". Yes! Neba was not only poor but terrible in French. He had a U-Grade in the O levels exams-- equivalent to useless.
Back to his choice of Polytech. He wasn't well orientated to understand that in Polytech 90 % of the lessons are given in French.  Hence, reversal of fortunes. Once there, he automatically became a below average student. While others (even anglophones) in the classroom grasped everything in minutes, he had to take hours, sometimes the whole night to catch up. The further they went, the more lost he was. No one understood his frustrations, why did he come to polytech in the first place?  Many asked. He regretted his choice, but determined to make the best out of it; he strived hard to be better. Only then, did he understand that all his past glories where just a qualification for the entrance into Polytech not a qualification for excellence in Polytech. At the end of the year, he had to repeat. The following year, while repeating, the same story unfolded. He was downcast, and after a lot of contemplation, dropped out of school. Never to return.
And that’s it.
Almost at the end of my long chat with Chris, I asked him what his passion had always being. He told me quite frankly that, "it was to make a difference". "How far with that?" I probed, he then told me what still pains me, even as I write this. "I lost my passion ace (leslie), life is just so cruel, Cameroon is not a country where you live any passion; Go out there and view the real world. It’s totally different from the ideal. Graduates leave SOA with a background in Economics and end up as technicians; others study Geography and end up as hairdressers. They never wanted to be that! All you can do is fit to this system. May be that’s how God designed Cameroon, differently from the U.S”.
That’s his description of the statusquo. But what really happened to this genius, what are we may be missing?

                         THE MAJOR MISTAKE HE MADE?


He had numerous choices, Polytech Bamenda and other polytechnic schools in the country, also, studying medicine would have even been better given that his goal was to make a difference. When you are someone in the 90th percentile and you mix with people in the 99th percentile, instead of seeing that  out of that environment you’re still a success, you view yourself as a complete failure. 16 average in a school where everyone has 18-19 average can make that person feel very dull which isn't true, just that he is in an environment full of more intelligent guys. Everyone feels happy when he has a pal or pals who are at the same level with him, facing the same difficulties and working twice as hard to improve. When you are alone at the end of the funnel. It’s bad!, Statistics in the US show that the dropout rate in elite universities like Stanford University, Harvard and Yale are very high nationally. These dropouts are guys with excellent SAT and tests scores. Given that a school like Harvard only welcomes the best, they all have great and successful histories but that environment kills their sense of accomplishment, their proximal peers are far ahead that they feel too dumb. Such guys, when they leave school and old comrades see them, the old classmates are quick notice that zeal being gone. Same with Neba in that environment, being a small fish in that big pond, killed him.
If he had gone elsewhere, his days of glory would have continued. He probably would have felt a sense of fulfillment as he wanted to change the world in the science environment. Now he is into business, trying to make ends meet. He is as humble as Mother Teresa, I enjoyed our chat.
I know of many who have still fallen into this trap. Some after form 5 go and do science when they are not so good at it, others do it without any clear objective and they all end up in the same pot.
Some chose schools that are elite schools, destined for the best and are unaware that failure here can be so catastrophic, that you never rise back. I’ve never feared for those who struggled to succeed, they know the value of failure for later success; I’ve always feared, for the outliers, that is the best. Because once they fail, after years of glory, it’s tough for them to rise back.
Hence, my wish, my intend and orientation is for everyone who made it successfully in the GCE this year, should realize that, they can become kings. You can be a king.  or a slave so please answer this question:
Do you prefer to swim in a pool full of people who make you see yourself much more terrible than you are at swimming, or Do you wish to swim where you feel as a king and will have the same outcome?
If you read this post till the end, THANK YOU...

It was a special request from my good friend clarise for those who made through the GCE.
Remember to like, comment on (what you like, disliked or on what you wish emphasis should be placed on) and  don't forget share...

Leslie Verberi ( Ace)


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