#MEET WINNIE RUGAMBA A SPOKEN WORD/POET HER POPULAR PIECE ENTITLED, “TO THE KID WITH POTENTIAL“ When Potential Isn’t Enough “Winnie, you’re going to do big things in life.” If I got a dollar every single time this was said to me, hey, I would not be sitting in Wiley Col- lege trying to get a degree, I’d probably be somewhere in the gorgeous streets of Venice, living life, but alas! Here I am. I request you to read this with a very open mind. A lot of it will sound like I am bragging, but just stay with me and you will understand where I am going with this. Fortunately for me, I never had a rough time in school; from primary school to high school, I was able to place first to third in class. With that being said, you might think I was smart, but I just think I have a remarkable memory that was able to memorize every single detail the day before a test or exam, but please do not dare ask me a question about what I read right after the test (yes, I am one of those people). So, ac- cording to someone that I do not know, some- how if you have always done well in school, you’re automatically going to do well in life just because “education is key.” While that is a lie, it isn’t too far from the truth, either. A lot of people that did well in school do end up doing well in their adulthood, excel in their jobs, and there is nothing surprising about it because “they’ve always done well since a very young age,” which makes it a valid assump- tion, I guess. Well, today, I’m in college and by God’s grace, it hasn’t been the worst. I am still able to get a couple of A’s and B’s as well as C’s whenever I forget to turn in my assignments, but apart from that I was also involved in other stuff: debate team, poetry, acting, writing, and other things that exposed me to different peo- ple and places which could be considered “im- pressive” considering where I’m from, I guess. Basically, I had it going for me, people told me I was going to be great, do big things, some predicted that I was going to be the minister of foreign affairs in Rwanda or the minister of gender and family promotion; others said I was going to be an amazing actress, probably walk on that red carpet one day. I’ve been told that I will publish books and many more things that were meant to be encouraging, or sometimes just people voicing their dead dreams, but whatever it is I am thankful for the hope that everyone had in me but what I got to figure out along the way is that it is easier for people to talk about the lovely parts about life but nev- er the ugly parts. Nobody really spoke about the barriers, hopelessness, loneliness, confu- sion, self-doubt, headaches, sleepless nights, the burden that comes with knowledge; no one ever told me that there will be days I will not want to wake up in the morning. In fact, I have the desire to forever be in bed. No one talk- ed about the nights that doubt will creep in your bed and cuddle you till you fall asleep to the sound of your shattering confidence. No- body talked about the pressure, the pressure that comes with everyone expecting you to do well—not even expecting, really, but more like watching to see where you are going to mess up even though they are your loudest cheerlead- ers; nobody talked about the uncertainty that comes with all the options or “opportunities,” the fear of choosing the wrong major, career, job, partner or just anything good that comes your way. Nobody told me about the reality.