“The school you attend is a catalyst, but you are the deciding factor.”
âRemember that the exams are unbiased, your grades. . . will not depend on the school. . . but on your performance.
âMan-upâ, âmen’t cryâ are notions put forward by society, which could be harmful.
The advice was given to male students at two high schools, St. Leonard’s and Coleridge and Parry (CP) by leaders of CIBC FirstCaribbean as the world marked International Men’s Day.
Former St. Leonard’s student and now chief information officer and general manager, technology and operations at CIBC FirstCaribbean, Esan Peters and her colleague, Kerry Jordan – who attended CP and is currently director of trade finance at CIBC bank – held interactive virtual sessions with students from their alma maters.
Peters joined the fifth and sixth students towards the end of their high school life, while Jordan welcomed the first students at the start of theirs.
Jordan spoke about positive practices, including saving habits, telling them the story of how he sold newspapers and how this effort was successful for him.
To their delight, Jordan entered them into a contest that saw two students win $ 50 each, either to add to their savings account or to open an account.
Jordan used the example of him selling newspapers to teach them important principles about saving, managing money, and managing themselves.
He talked to them about managing themselves and their money and talked about goal setting and planning.
Stressing the need to get involved in several aspects of school life, the trade finance manager recalled having played cricket and football as well as having run at school.
He also told them that in life they would make mistakes; that as a schoolboy he got lost sometimes, but that’s where mentoring helped.
âI played cricket and there were older guys who helped me a lot.
Jordan told students to expect society to attribute to boys behaviors that could lead to psychological problems such as “act like a man,” “the tall man,” “men don’t cry” because this causes boys to stifle their feelings and cause fear to admit that they were in pain or that they wanted help. Instead, he urged the former to express their true feelings in a non-threatening way.
âBe loving and caring, there is nothing sweet about it,â he added.
At St Leonard’s, the conversation with the Fifth and Sixth Elders took a similar focus, but at their age appropriate level and included many more career discussions.
Peters reminded the students that he was once where they are now in their academic careers, adding that his progress was proof of the possibilities available to them. St. Leonard’s, he said, nurtured and shaped him, and like them, he was fortunate to have good teachers who were positive mentors. He added that he had never felt inferior in his attendance at this school.
âThe school you go to is a catalyst, but you are the deciding variable,â he said. âAt St. Leonard’s, I prided myself on doing my best. It doesn’t matter what people say about a school. I hit an A every time. Remember that the exams have no bias, your grades. . . will not depend on the school. . . but on your performance.
So he encouraged the students to study hard and read widely. Reading, he said, would help them make better decisions and spot opportunities, noting that in life one comes across many paths with different branches that require proper preparation and decision making.
The IT specialist has used his career path to demonstrate some of these habits and principles. Peters explained that he enrolled at the University of the West Indies (UWI) to study mathematics in order to fulfill his dream of becoming a math professor and eventually a math professor at the university. However, said Peters, the UWI broadened his outlook considerably and when he took his first computer course he knew that was the direction he wanted to go.
His first job was in an offshore company, which prepared him for the future, as among other useful experiences it involved working with people from many countries and cultures. Today he supervises people in many countries including the Caribbean, India and Canada.
Peters also spoke of a previous job at another Caribbean institution which offered a very attractive salary and many benefits, but at the end of his contract he did not apply for a renewal as the work did not put him in the spotlight. challenge. According to him, he then learned a critical lesson about himself. âMy biggest takeaway. . . was that I had to challenge myself.
He encouraged the students to find something that they were passionate about.
âBe curiousâ¦ Success is never a destination; I had a boss who told me to try and improve myself every day, âsaid Peters, highlighting some of the principles he followed.
He left the students with the recipe for success which includes practice, lots of reading, listening and not being afraid of making mistakes, but seeing it as a challenge.
He advised students, who were nearing the end of their high school education, to work hard at this point in their lives. He drew their attention to the amount of free online courses offered by reputable educational institutions, which they could sample to see if they would benefit them and allow them to be exposed to a wide variety of topics. (RP)