“The excitement of dreams coming true is beyond the description of words,” Lailah Gifty Akita once said. We all had dreams and aspirations growing up but not all of us had the courage to pursue those dreams relentlessly.
The Weight She Carries is proud to present one of its own contributors, Tatenda Rungisa, 28, who nurtured her childhood dream until it became a passion and eventually a reality. Tatenda is the author of the recently published book “HOW TO GET THE BEST OUT OF COLLEGE.”
Tatenda took us through her journey as a writer, explaining how she strayed into human resources management for years until she finally found her road back to writing.
When did you discover your love for writing?
My first writing experience was in Primary School, where we would write in competitions that were set by Girls’ College. They would ask for poetry and short stories and I always entered and would usually get prizes for second and third place.
I went to college and studied Human Resources (HR) Management. I wanted to study journalism but I got discouraged by a close relative who highlighted the risks usually associated with the field. After graduation, I got a job at a consultancy firm working in HR Management.
I became friends (through my twin sister) with someone who was working for a certain newspaper company. I told her about my passion for writing and she said she could link me with a newspaper editor that she knew. She encouraged me to start writing and I took her advice seriously, back in 2018.
I started writing for a paper called the Weekend Post and I would contribute weekly articles every Friday. That was my first professional writing experience. I didn’t even have to push myself, I felt fulfilled actually.
I continued contributing in the Weekend Post, but I would only write short newspaper articles and I had the zeal to do more. I was looking for a step further. That is when I developed interest in blogging. I approached quite a number of blogging communities including the Lionesses of Africa, She Leads Africa and The Weight She Carries and they all took up my work, I enjoyed contributing.
I developed my writing skills and had the chance to interview people from different walks of life. This further fueled my passion for writing and storytelling. Once in a while, I would also contribute as a guest, in various publications and magazines.
Tatenda’s insatiable desire for the pen was the driving force for her to start writing a book last year…
All the while when I was writing for other people’s publications, I felt I wanted something that was mine, which had my name on it. I decided to work on a book and it wasn’t hard because it was something I already loved doing.
My editor and my twin sister were both supportive throughout. Time management was a bit of a challenge on some days. Though I could put in a few hours during the day, it was quite a challenge to juggle between writing the book, providing content for three big blogging sites and running a business. Sometimes I would go for two days per week without writing any content [for] the book.
I, however, enjoyed it all, being motivated by the fact that the book could make an impact on someone’s life.
Let’s dig into the book, what can we expect, what is the target group?
The book is titled “HOW TO GET THE BEST OUT OF COLLEGE.” It is about life during college and also prepares one for life after college. It goes beyond college life. Another focus area is on things to expect in college. We have expectations when we get to a new environment and usually for some people, when it comes to college life we are exposed to Western and Nigerian movies where people talk about college life in a certain way. When you get to college, you expect that type of experience but you are faced with something different.
College is not all about attaining a degree, there is so much more that happens. The book touches on all that: what to expect as a freshman, your life from college into the world of work and what to expect as a young person when you start a business after college. We think college is more of the theory that we learnt, but when you get out there, you may actually realize that there is more to it, it’s different.
College is also about the life skills that are necessary out there when you are faced with practical things, real life situations that you will need to deal with.
The book [targets] youth mainly or people who are aspiring to be in college, people already in college and even parents because you need to understand what is going on in college. Parents read articles in newspapers that tell a half-baked story about what happens in college, but the book gives in-depth information and a better understanding of what goes on in college.
It also goes beyond college life, what happens after graduation, issues to do with job hunting, pursuing your passion, applying for a job and how to conduct yourself during interviews and even at work, if you get the job.
So, what was the driving force behind the book?
My inspiration came from my passion; I always knew that somehow I was going to write a book. I desired to change someone’s life by giving them a book they [could] actually refer to. My experience also influenced and fueled the writing of the book. I would meet and work with a lot of young people in college and out of college asking for advice on the right career path. Being an HR practitioner, I have seen a lot of stuff happening, young people failing to get jobs due to lack of knowledge on conduct during and after interviews. It’s all in the book.
Who do you draw inspiration from?
I love the fact that Princess Noma Siziba is a female African author from Bulawayo. She is not only an author but also owns her own publishing house. I read some of her work and she has inspired me, I now believe that the sky is the limit. She didn’t end her passion with writing books but took it further by establishing WING UP Publishing. I love how she writes and the experiences she shares in her work. I love her work, how she conducts herself and relates to her audiences.”
Tatenda’s advice to someone who has a dream or passion and is hesitant to work on it: “Go for it! The sky is the limit!”
“HOW TO GET THE BEST OUT OF COLLEGE” is truly a toolkit, here is a sneak peak of what to expect in the book.
“There is always that risk associated with having bad company around – association risk – birds of the same feathers flock together and in most times if one is weaker, they are swallowed up in the bad acts and behaviors. The choices we make may seem simple and ineffectual but in fact every choice we make in every second or minute has a direct impact on our lives and future. The power within you is like a big giant ball of fire waiting to be discovered, perforated and burst out open releasing the powerful small sparks of fire that will spread and ignite different aspects of your life.” Rungisa, T. (2020) How to get the Best out of College.
To get your own hardcopy of the book “HOW TO GET THE BEST OUT OF COLLEGE,” feel free to email Tatenda Rungisa at firstname.lastname@example.org
Phoebie Shamiso Chigonde is a journalist passionate about gender equality, social development programmes and grassroots-based solution seeking initiatives. She has a passion for women and community development. Phoebie is also a radio personality at a regional commercial radio station, a platform that enables her to network with like-minded women, journalists and activists as she continues to document and tell the story of the ordinary woman from the lens of that very ordinary woman.