The maze to intellectual growth: part one


With Lorraine Lusinje:

I did my secondary school education at Bwaila in Lilongwe. Bwaila was one of the schools in the country that was well equipped to prepare students for the next leg of their intellectual and professional development. It had all the necessary laboratories and also had wood work, metal work and technical drawing workshops.

I enjoyed technical drawing from Form one to Form two and I passed when I sat JCE. Most of my passions began at a young age. Technical drawing was always an exciting challenge topped with getting the right dimensions, the right pencil, and the right arcs. Of course, that voilà feeling you get sitting at that high desk after viewing finished work was the highlight.


I started believing my career would advance towards that direction; architecture seemed to be a probable option.

But come Form Three, I was pained to learn that I could not continue with the subject as there was only one teacher, Mr. Gama, who could teach the subject and he could not manage to, teach all four classes on top of the other subjects heal so taught at the school: mathematics and the other interesting subject – woodwork.

He tried for a few weeks to once in a while, give me an assignment but it was just too much work, and just like that, the two upper classes at the school could no longer continue with technical drawing or woodwork or metalwork. So I explored other passions. I did very well in English, Literature and Social Studies. I scored high marks in these subjects. And this was at the time considered an avenue for a variety of professional options which many of us students at the time thought we had.


That was when I considered social sciences.

I applied at both the Catholic University and University of Malawi and the results came concurrently. I was picked at both: Catholic University for social sciences and Polytechnic for Journalism that worked well with my love for reading and writing and literature. I couldn’t apply for pure social sciences at Chancellor College because I did not have a credit in mathematics. After deliberations with parents, the choice was the University of Malawi. This was over 10 years ago.

Interestingly enough, Journalism had subjects like Statistics and Economics throughout the years which involved the same mathematics and I did fairly well in them on top of social science related subjects. The mind of a well nurtured intellectual is able to learn and adjust to new avenues especially in a university system and definitely when they are passionate about the path they seek to take. This always has me thinking: is the need for a credit in mathematics too restrictive for those choosing to pursue courses like social sciences? economics? architecture?

I rest my case.

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