After a hectic academic year that climaxed with the supervision of the national examinations, I decided to relax with some good music; in fact, I felt compelled to turn the volume up a little on a particular tune.
The late, great, Bob Marley was sweetly singing one of the songs that made him a legend, ‘Caution’; he had the knack of creating a song for every mood and moment. And more so, in his songs he was always appearing to talk to someone.
In this particular one (‘Caution’), he seemed to be talking to those students who had just completed their high school exams and, in a way, had closed the chapter of secondary school life.
On the last day of exams, I sat in a taxi with one such student. He was wearing a T-Shirt and was holding his uniform shirt in his hands, probably because he did not want to be perceived as a student anymore.
There are thousands more who must have felt the same way after completing their last examinations. To them, school life has ended and it is now time to move to the real adult lifestyles that school regulations had for long impeded.
They are like a caged animal that had been let free. The end of secondary school life is often a turning point. Some go through the post-secondary period unscathed while others may not be so lucky.
Caution is the word I would borrow from Bob Marley for these young lads and lasses. The world outside the classroom walls is full of opportunities but is also full of numerous dangers waiting to derail or even cut life short.
After finishing school, many former students find themselves in a rather experimental mood. They want to try out this and that, especially because they have ample time on their hands and little or no regulations to slow them down.
Those who have often been on the wrong side of the school laws may wish to use this chance to perfect their ill morals while the rest who were good in school but harbouring a lot of curiosity about certain aspects of life may try to use this opportunity of new found freedom to experiment a lot on things like alcohol, drugs, and sex.
The vacation period ought to be used in a manner that is not only developmental but also with a lot more caution. There is no need to indulge in acts that are bound to cause regret despite their perceived lure. You should utilise this chance to learn new but beneficial things that will help them in future or that will simply make you better people.
Many of you are anxious to visit discotheques and bars but I wish to caution you about these places. These places certainly offer lots of entertainment but it is important to visit them in the company of an older person to guide you.
This is because these places are always full with people of ill intentions especially men wishing to take advantage of naïve, young ladies.
Even those intending to experiment with alcohol and cigarettes ought to do so moderately but more importantly, you need to know that these intoxicants do offer temporary pleasure, but in many cases leave you with permanent scars like cancer or liver complications.
As for sex, it is very crucial for you to know that HIV/Aids is a reality and unprotected sex is a sure way of contracting the disease or even unwanted pregnancy.
For this particular case it is wise to simply abstain till marriage but where that fails then you need to make sure that you use protection, such as a condom.
School is a long and tiresome period that prepares us for the world outside, it will be sad if you cut your life short simply because of you chose to be reckless during the vacation period. You need to take heed of Bob Marley’s Caution message because Rwanda still needs you.
By Allan Brian Ssenyonga