“After having spent an inordinate amount of time on my social life, it is now time to focus on other areas of my life that needed to be nurtured as well.” These thoughts and many others were passing through my mind on a Monday evening, standing outside the Pharmacology department door, looking at my CAT marks for a ball busting exam that we had done a few weeks ago. I wasn’t expecting greatness. I hadn’t prepared enough for the paper. I could feel the chill running through me, and it wasn’t because of the slight drizzle and the cold wind gushing through the place, as if nature itself was warning me of what was in the offing. I had missed my target by six marks. There was time to undo the damage. I left with a smile on my face. Things weren’t so bad after all.
I was walking back to my room, watching cars on the road, trying to spot drivers in their element, observing my fellow pedestrians. My mind was far away, in the clouds, thinking of VISK. VISK is the name of my own Berkshire Hathaway. I have not breathed life into it yet. I don’t even have a proper name for it. VISK just popped into my head and I’ve been calling it that for a long time now. I have come to realize that this is the only strategy that will give me what I have always wanted: control over how I spend my time.
I remember taking a bucket and sitting on its bottom in the toilet when I was in boarding school. The bathroom area was the only one where the lights stayed on for the entire night. It is with fondness that I recall perusing the pages of Harry Potter, Wilbur Smith and Christopher Paolini novels till late in the night, long after the matron had switched off the lights. And in case any teacher came looking for noise makers,sleep walkers and night runners, I had plausible deniability: I was helping myself. I finished many a book seated on a bucket, inhaling the stench of ammonia, listening to the rain beating on the roof, my mind transported into another galaxy. Oh, such joy! I continued in High school. I loved (still do) reading books, real books. Not textbooks. Those were instruments of torture wielded by notorious adults who were bent on turning me into a cramming-regurgitating machine. They got their way, but only for a short period of time.
I have lost a lot of appetite for school work. Don’t get me wrong, I won’t drop out just because other people living in a different world have done so. I don’t have the next big thing in my pocket. But I won’t stand by and watch my mind be transformed into a simple foot soldier in the grand scheme of things. There are so many opportunities that I can tap into and create beautiful businesses. Beautiful cash machines that will not demand a lot from customers yet churn out enough money for me to divorce my time from money, allowing me to finally go back to that young boy who sat on a bucket in the dorm toilet and read works of fiction for hours, forsaking the warmth of his bed for the warmth of worlds conjured out of thin air by skilled wordsmiths.
School is important, if only as a plan B, in case our visions for grandeur and success in the business world do not succeed.I say this because no one can teach you how to survive in the world, how to conduct business and interact with other people. It is not something that can be put down in an academic paper and be graded. Once I discovered this nugget of truth, my interests shifted and started focusing on what really mattered. In case you’re wondering, my grades have not suffered as a result of this. However, I can’t deny that I’m not that interested with grades as I once was. I have moved on to more exciting things. I honestly can’t wait to be done with school and pesky exams and lists of marks posted on the noticeboard. As if a number could decipher the knowledge and power that lies in our brains. You’ll need more than a simple multiple choice test that is prone to bias (examiner bias) to measure the capacity and ability of any human being.
I live and breathe through contingency plans for almost every little thing that I do. I believe that is my best talent, a talent that I will use to turn VISK into a multinational conglomerate, and show people that Africans are not just beggars. They can be innovative too. They can build their own factories and manufacture their own syringes and medical supplies. They can fend for themselves. Whether this is possible in a country that is rife with corruption, in a country where the national psyche has been riddled with mistrust and a ruthless competition that does not care about your neighbor is another story altogether.
I hold a lot of regard for the knowledge that is imparted to us in class. However, I have increasingly began to feel that the path of academia is not the path for me. As soon as I meet my degree obligations (three more years to go), I doubt whether I will come back for more grueling schoolwork. VISK, building companies, solving pain points, taking over corporations. That’s the blueprint. That is the key to having control over my time. That is the future.