This week’s interview features Temba, a student whose university application was aided by Our Moon. He will be starting at Swarthmore College, Pennsylvania this year.
What was the main thing you benefited from during last year’s Tomorrow’s Leader’s Forum (TLF)?What really struck me during last year’s TLF was hearing about the students that Helen had worked with previously. I had no idea that so many students like me were studying at some of the best universities and colleges in the United States. That was what gave me the “I can do it” feeling which stuck with me throughout the application process.Meeting Helen was also a huge plus. She helped me continually over the next few months by suggesting places to apply, putting me in contact with people at the colleges I was applying to and reviewing my essays. Almost all of my essays went past her at least twice before I submitted them.
Did you enjoy being part of the TLF tutor team this year? What was the highlight for you?I really enjoyed being a tutor at this year’s Tomorrow’s Leader’s Forum. It felt great to give back to OURMOON and to Hillcrest at the same time. When I was in Grade 12 I had very little idea about how to go about applying abroad and so speaking to the Grade 12s and giving them the basic pointers that I wish I had been given was very gratifying.What I enjoyed most about the TLF were all the things that weren’t about applications and academics. There were presentations by the students, a debate and a movie. The prom at the end of it all was really amazing despite the fact that I still can’t dance. Though, I would say going to dinner on my birthday without anyone at the table knowing it was my birthday was the best experience. It was a little cheeky, but that made it more fun.
How are you preparing for university in August?I am trying to brush up on my calculus online as I haven’t done any in several months and don’t want to freak out on my first day in math class.I spend quite a bit of time on Google maps trying to get used to the geography of Swarthmore College and some of the city around it. It’s not the most useful thing I could be doing but I find looking at stuff on Google maps oddly entertaining.I have started writing a packing list, but I haven’t started packing. I’ll get to it soon.
How are you feeling about moving to the US?I can’t wait to start using my brain again! Not having any academic challenges for half a year has been painful and I’m so glad it’s almost over. That is what I’m looking forward to the most. The next thing that I am really looking forward to is the independence of being miles and miles away from anyone I know and buying things I need with money I earn. Meeting people like (and not like) myself will also be fun. Honestly, there’s not much not to be excited about.
How do you hope you will contribute to Zambia’s development once you have graduatedAt the moment I’m rather interested in transportation and education in Zambia. The intra-city and intercity travel in Zambia has quite a bit of room for improvement. I might venture into something that helps sort out that problem like an electric vehicle transportation company. As for education, I would like to find a way to improve preschools and primary schools. That is where good students are created – not in high school or university. There is a massive lack of high quality education at the beginning of the chain. At the moment I have close to no idea how to fix this, but it’s on my to-do list.
What advice would you give to students who are in the same position as you were last year?
- Google everything. Doing my A levels, essays and SATs would have been a lot harder without constantly referring to the Internet. Generally speaking, if you think more than one other person in the world is having trouble with whatever you’re having trouble with, Google it.
- As great as google is, don’t forget to talk to people. Talk to people who do better in class than you. Talk to people who tend to know about things before you do. Talk to people who are what you want to be. Talk to lots of people! This is vital especially in the case of college applications because there are so many things that ‘nobody tells you’. The more people you’re in communication with that are applying the same time as you, the better.