Ignore the Man in Despair

© J. Francois Barnard - 5 July 2022

Studying for an MBA can be challenging. Studying at the age of 58 is even more so. Studying at the age of 58 in South Africa in 2022, amidst electricity blackouts and internet failure while your body screams for tender loving care as it ages - you get the picture - it causes despair.

bibendum_in_blackI have now reached the last few weeks of a five-year journey of studying at the University of the People. I started with my BSBA in September 2017 and plan to complete my MBA by August 2022. During much of my BSBA studies, I took three courses in one term. For my MBA, I took two courses per term most of the time - even the last one I am doing now.

While all of the above slurps up copious amounts of my time, I am also full-time employed as a manager in a large church organisation. Yes, the pressure is on, and these last few weeks, I felt like I could no longer cope with it all.

But I do.

I cope because I choose to ignore the Man in Despair. I turn my back on him simply because he is bad news. I turn my back on him and write another assignment. I turn my back on him and add another walk in the neighbourhood to my consecutive daily walks since January 2022.

The Man in Despair reports on everything wrong around me. He tells me about the South African regime's failure to serve its citizens with essential services like electricity, clean water, sewerage, and proper tar roads. He points to the shortcomings of the broadband network and shouts, "Shame on you!" He sighs at the petrol pump when I fill up with heavily taxed fuel.

Like I said, he is bad news.

But ignoring him is good news because I can remind myself why I chose to embark on this road in the first place. I remind myself of the Guidance I had in finding a university to suit my circumstances. And it feels so good to ignore him because I can have my ocean experience instead of sitting in a fish bowl on the mantlepiece.

So long, Man in Despair! It was not good to know you, and I hope I do not see you again. Rest in peace for all I care. I have a life to live, a song to sing, and a capstone project to complete.