Walking away from my college hostel had never been so hard. For years, I awaited the day I would be done with college: the cafeteria food prepared with minimal effort, the small dorms requiring innovation to find space for my guitar. I was finally done with the cold showers and low water pressure resultant from the overload of students in my hostel, done with the hustle and bustle of college life. It is no secret that going to University in Malawi comes with its challenges-but it had become my world: a world I had adapted to…a world I had grown to love. The day had come for me to say goodbye to all of this, and as the last item of my luggage was being packed into the trunk of the car, my heart cried. Walking away from my college hostel into that car which would carry me away, I crossed the invisible line between college life and the working world. I wanted this, right? A new beginning: excitement….fear.
My mind was set on getting to know and love my new world. In college it was easy; I knew where to go, who to see, and what buttons to push to get things done. I was familiar. Work was new, but I was not left unguided. The leadership and social justice training given to the 2013-2014 cohort of fellows came as a valuable resource. Training helped to address things that we were inevitably going to face: one’s role in an organization, working in the health sector, and how to handle workplace drama. I was ready to go.
Starting at my new organization was quite an experience. I had to develop, dare I say, “work ethic.” No more waking up late or skipping days as I pleased, no more copying work from the smart kid, no more deciding I’m going to do my work in bed all day. I now had to be at my desk, in the office, during working hours. I had to deliver on my work, with no immediate risk of a lecturer threatening to deduct ten marks if I did not meet the deadlines. Indeed it has been a time of growth. I had to be responsible. I have been entrusted, as a leader, on the frontlines of the promotion of health equity, and I had to give it my all. Some days it’s hard, some days it’s scary. Thankfully, I have such a great network of people to get me through this-the whole GHC family, my AGHC family, my family, and friends.
I may not know much, yet, and I am learning something new every day, but I couldn’t have asked for a greater start to my career.