There are some words that can change your life forever. Those words that changed my life came from one of the best lecturers I have ever met; Mr. Joseph Akowuah. My name is Selasi Dzikunu and this is “My Teacher Story”
Growing up, I was never really the cool kid. I would consider myself a late bloomer. Going to school for me was more about meeting people and cruising through. I wasn’t the most academically gifted, especially in Secondary school. But I loved school because boarding school was the perfect opportunity to escape the strict atmosphere at home.
University was a very serious environment. I was a student of the Agricultural Engineering Department, KNUST with over 70 students, 10 being female and no one had the time to treat you specially. I don’t think I was ready for the whole independent adult life and my laissez-faire approach to studying didn’t make matters better. My first year was horrible and my grades were not the best. I was pretty much dejected and had given up on myself, but someone had not given up on me yet.
Mr. Joseph Akowuah for some reason believed in me. He wasn’t the strict type, he was very welcoming. I remember he would share a whole tray of bananas among the class, sit with us and have conversations. He gave room for mistakes. He was very down to earth and practical. He made us feel comfortable to question the status quo and probe further.
He would always call me and ask me if I had any challenges with studying or if there were any lecturers I would like to talk to for extra tutoring. He would give me deadlines and timelines to complete assignments to keep me on my toes. Although I went out of my way to complete his assignment and deliverables, I honestly could not understand why he would bother with someone like me who didn’t bother with herself. I had resigned myself to the fact that there was no helping me as I had fully formed into an adult with a fully developed personality; that is until I had an epiphany.
“Selasi, there is greatness in you. You just don’t know it yourself” Those words came out of Mr. Akowuah’s mouth to me one day. That was the first time anyone had told me anything like that. I laughed it off initially, but at the end of the semester, I had my “AH-HAH!” moment! A light bulb instantly lit in my head and I began seeing life differently. I saw the greatness that was in me because my grades had gotten better. I began to see the impact my little decisions to be intentional about my studies had caused, and I was determined to take myself seriously moving forward.
With my change of mindset came changes like waking up early, being time conscious, planning my day, setting deadlines and timelines. It all made a huge difference and before I knew it I was class captain. Mr. Akowuah’s setting of deadlines made all the difference. I became very intentional and conscious and stopped giving excuses. Interestingly, you could have a conversation with my mates and they would tell you how serious and strict I was. What a turn of events! The statement he made was enough to let me know I could do anything I set my mind to. Mr. Akowuah and I stayed in touch even after I graduated from KNUST. He even wrote my referral for my Master’s program application, which was successful.
To anyone reading this, enjoy your youth, but always remember there is a leader in you somewhere. You don’t have to be the most popular leader in the world. Just believe in yourself and you will be fine.
To Mr. Akowuah, He is now Dr. so I will call him that. “Dr. Joseph Akowuah, thank you is the least I can say. Thank you for believing in me, putting me right and letting me see the power I had in me that I didn’t even know existed. For being that teacher who held my hand through those trying times in school with my academics. Even though I may not have graduated as the best student, I think that I am the best student you have ever had in your teaching life, and I am so proud to know you as my teacher”
Selasi Dzikunu completed Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST). Did you attend KNUST too? Were you a student of Dr. Joseph Akowuah? Share your experience about how he impacted your life in the comments section.
Also, don’t hesitate to let us know what you think of Dr. Joseph Akowuah. Do you have a teacher who motivated and impacted your life in a way that made you who you are today? Share with us on “My Teacher Story” Whatsapp https://wa.link/dzccey