Every week a class is held at the YMCA office in Kumasi for youth in transition. This week the YCI team was invited to speak to a group of young women who had finished Senior High School and were preparing to continue on with their tertiary education. Having just completed university back home, the three of us were asked to share our experiences and knowledge with the girls who were transitioning into this major (and nerve-wracking) life event.
On our first day in the YMCA office we were presented with a list of all the topics the girls were interested in learning more about. What surprised me the most is how not surprising the list actually was. The girls had the same fears that I think everyone who is about to enter post-secondary education has. For example, they wanted to know about the difference between high school and university, about life on campus, how to understand lectures, how to best manage their time, and how to get the best experience. Of course, there’s that one thing that all girls seem to constantly think about: relationships. No matter where you are in the world, girls can’t escape the complications of relationships. And they seem to get even more complicated once you enter into post-secondary education.
Although we were expecting 15-20 girls, because school starts in August for many the majority of them were out preparing for their first day, we ended up with 3 participants the first day. The next day we held the same workshop and 7 people showed. I’ve heard that this is a common occurrence in Ghana and was not thrown off by the low attendance. It was actually really nice to be able to talk to the girls in a more intimate one-on-one setting so they could feel more comfortable asking us questions and discussing their thoughts and feelings.
On the first day we talked about time management skills, lecture survival skills, campus life and the importance of getting involved, and how to manage relationships during post-secondary education. The next day we recapped what had already been said, discussed how to best choose your classes, and got to touch more on the relationship side of things while providing info on safe sex. I hope what we said made an impact on the girls, and that we were able to settle a lot of the fears they were having. University was one of the best experiences of my life and I wish it to be the same for them.
-Whitney Beaver, Youth Ambassador, Ghana 2012