That night my mother told me that I was not going to continue my studies, I must have felt how heaven must feel on a night without stars; all my constellations lost their charm and in the galaxies – where there was a sidereal glow – now hung the shadow of a career that was seen to fulfill a great disenchantment. But as I told you yesterday my little star shone in the immense darkness that was provided in the celestial mantle and I got an unprecedented opportunity: to study at the prestigious Colégio São João de Brito through a scholarship. But how did this happen? It is a case to say that the effort always pays off: in that year, after the conclusion of the final exams, my priest Abel Bandeira (who was my teacher of Religion and Morals) took my exams to the College in order to be given special attention the intellectual talent emanating from my black genes; as a final result of this appreciation I got a positive endorsement and the opportunity arose early the next morning where all my stars came back to shine. As I also put forward in the article yesterday it was not an opportunity welcomed with all the enthusiasm.
THE NEW WORLD
As Abel told me about the details of the College, the panic arose inside my confused and prejudiced head: what is going to make a ghetto nigga out in the middle of a bunch of spoiled boys? I’m sure I’ll be discriminated against! When I feel so distressed in making a decision I talk to my mother. Her pragmatism is the balm for my wounds. As any mother would say, my progenitor advised me to accept the proposal and that prejudice was being generated by my fear of running through unknown field. I ended up saying an apprehensive yes! But I did not venture on this journey alone; I would join my best friend from childhood – the formidable and fantastic Inês Pereira (currently a flight attendant). I felt protected; while my face was frightened, my friend had her usual face – Whoever gets in my way is done! Should not men protect women? Well, in this fairy tale Ines was the prince and I was the princess. “Oh, my friend for goodness sake” – she would always say when my neurons began to collide like small asteroids. I remember the first day of school: I felt crushed by the proportions of the College, in my head everything was too big – a huge chapel, runners losing sight of, equipped labs; auditoriums, tennis courts, swimming pool, everything and more a pair of boots as they say. I stood looking at the College like a donkey for a palace! The differences for our basic school were abyssal: the conflicts and the beating did not exist (it was all a peace taking away the own grinding of the youthful ages); when the students misbehaved they were kindly invited to leave and they complied with the rules (where were the crooked and boring answers?); the rascals asking for money were replaced by children paying for fifty-euro banknotes – when I most often did not have the money to pay it -; there were two responsible for each floor… Could continue the list of differences all night …
BREAK THE ICE
All my preconceived ideas fell apart: I was never discriminated against, there was a natural interest in the students to approach me (but I would put a stop to these attempts until the end of 10th grade), the teachers had a genuine passion for teaching and provided extra classes whenever I missed classes (otherwise it would have been impossible to reconcile my studies with the high-competition career; my Physical Education teacher would let me lose weight during class). All the conditions were met for me to achieve my goals. I left the College writting better, reading books and more communicative and expansive – contrary to my more introverted nature. It was a passionate and enriching experience at all levels and gave me a different know-how with regard to the ability to work and demand.
Whenever an opportunity knocks on you, do not be like me. Take a confident stance and believe in your abilities. You will be challenged but it will ultimately be worth it. Do not forget – It’s all in You!