‘Education is the key to success’ was the most common saying in my school. Everyone would slip in that statement each time there was a conversation about the future and what it holds. It became a cliche that I got tired of hearing. This was mostly because it kept ringing in my head each time I thought about quitting school and training to become a professional dancer.
At that time, I did not know that in order to become a professional dancer, I could go to school like everyone else, choose to major in the arts and specialize to become a dancer. Every afternoon, immediately the closing bells rang at school, I would be the first to run out of class and dash off to the house. I had to hurry to catch up with the boys in my neighborhood and practice some dance moves. I had joined their dance crew months earlier; my mom tried to stop me but she couldn’t because the more she complained, the more stubborn I became.
In primary six, I did not like school. I was not interested in the ‘gibberish’ that my class teacher would talk about all day. For that reason, I was always sleeping in class and that got me into trouble many times. Honestly, I did not want to be in school, I just wanted to dance and be free.
I was an average student and could have become a good student if I had worked harder, but I did not care about education. It was not a surprise that my performance at the BECE was abysmal. I failed miserably. Nobody was surprised about my results and I wasn’t surprised either. All my friends at school had made good grades and gotten admission to some of the best schools in the country but I couldn’t care less. After all, I did not need a certificate to help me build a strong career in dancing. In hindsight, I was a bit worried but I shrugged it off. I did not proceed with my education after Junior High School.
I went into dancing full-time and starting getting some attention. About eight years since I abandoned school, a lot of my former school-mates have completed the university and are either unemployed or working some kind of job that they never dreamt of.
Everything has been going well for me financially and the future looked bright. The moment when it all came together was three years ago when an entertainment company in the UK decided to engage my service for a period of 3 years (at least that’s what I thought).
I was excited about the opportunity, the exposure and the money that would come out of the contract. My manager, Sam (a former school mate) who was the smart one always engaged in the negotiations, represented me and did the paper work. All I needed to do was to show up and sign the contract. It was a good contract and all went well.
My contract was supposed to end this year and as God would have it, an even bigger offer was put on the table by an American company to feature me in a Netflix series. I was very excited and looked forward to ending my contract in the UK and proceeding to America to take up this big job.
On the last day of my contract, I walked into my manager’s office to thank him for being a wonderful boss and giving me that opportunity to work with the company. The look on his face shocked me.
”Charles, you still have seven years to go”, he said.
”What? What do you mean? ” I asked.
Apparently, my manager, Sam had made me sign a deadly deal. The deal paid four times the amount Sam made me believe I was being offered and the contract was supposed to last for ten years. Apparently, Sam was giving me just a quarter of the amount I was due and diverted the rest of the money which he asked to be paid into another account which turned out to be his private account. To add to the pain, I paid Sam from the amount I was being paid.
As expected, Sam hang up the phone on me the moment he realized that I had found out about his betrayal and he has been unreachable since then. I was shocked and deeply hurt. My old friend took advantage of the fact that I did not have a good education to play me. God knows how many of the contracts I had taken in previous years had been compromised by Sam.
It turns out that per the contract agreement, I could not leave the company until I had exhausted the ten years contained in the contract.
Now I sit here, restless and pondering on what to do next. I am expected to let go of a huge offer from the United States, one I had always dreamt of.
Meanwhile, I remember my mom’s words and the words of my primary school teachers, “education is the key to success”. After all these years, I have felt the pain of what they meant by those words. If I had taken my education seriously, I wouldn’t have needed Sam to help me in the first place and all this could have been avoided. I have decided to go back to school no matter what, while I figure out what to do with the situation I find myself in.
Whoever you are reading this, I hope you do not take education for granted. My experience has been a terrible one.
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