Most of us have heard that cliche old adage, “When one door closes, another one opens”. For most young people, we brush aside these sayings and toss them aside in the box labelled “Old Wives Tales”. For many of us, this compartmentalization and dismissal of sayings our parents swear by, have nothing to do with the fact that these sayings happen to fall into all categories “old”, “archaic” “not digital”- they also seem to be meaningless and disappointing. At least that’s what we think.
For me, there have been many times that doors of opportunity slammed shut in my face- I sought earnestly for the other that would open- only to realize I was sealed shut in an iron room with just this one door and one window, which always seem too high for me to reach. Everything resembling a key seemed to have been swallowed up by a magnet of “Let Young People Suffer” and my attempts to create my own door using my resources often seem futile. Gosh, it’s depressing!
Thankfully there are other times when these adages are fulfilled and gives us hope as young people. Petrina’s story is one of those. After realizing a few years ago that her talent was in the area of Visual Arts, she decided that she would complete a degree at the Edna Manley College of Visual and Performing Arts. After finishing high school, she was forced to take a gap year since finances were low. After the year ended she worked tirelessly in completing the application for Edna Manley College. She was ecstatic when she was contacted that she was shortlisted and needed 20 pieces of art for her portfolio. To complete 20 pieces of high quality work in a week, was quite a task, but like everything else, she gave it her best. The good news came weeks after- she got accepted!
She shared the news with us here at the Clarendon YIC and we were equally excited for this new journey she was about to embark. She was seeking funding for school, reading notes relevant to her programme, seeking a place to live and even buying pencils and other things needed. A family member offered to help with tuition and everything was working out just beautifully.
Just 2 weeks before school, she visited the centre. She was as quiet as usual, but something about her quietness oozed disappointment and sadness. I went over to ask her if all was well and it was then that she told us the news. Someone in the family had died, and her hopes of attending school in the fall seemed to have died with them. The relative could no longer help with school. With that major source of funding gone. That door of opportunity was shut!
I decided that a young person this talented and driven should not be forced to stay home because of finances- so I scoured the internet for any available opportunity that she could utilize. I saw a flyer which mentioned Digital Animation- Free- Youth and the community she was from and thought, how timely!
I sent the flyer to her and six other young persons. She was the only one to follow the instructions, get a ride to the Centre and complete the process. In a week, she called and told that she was accepted and that the programme was basically free for her. She just needed to find food and fare. Last we spoke, she was assigned a mentor and is doing extremely well in Visual Arts and Digital Animation which are growing fields which yield great revenues.
School and the internship are going well and Petrina is persevering through it all- even when the work gets difficult. Looking back, sometimes some opportunities don’t work out since there is better in store for you. Sometimes, when the other door or window opens, most young persons aren’t dedicated and tenacious enough to do what is required to fully open those apertures and make the best of them. So before getting frustrated that your resources aren’t working and you are forced to use plastic to cut through a metal wall- keep your eyes open for other opportunities and be willing to put in the work to achieve your goals – even if it includes climbing up to that high window. 🙂