University of the West Indies student asks for Words of Inspiration


Dear Barbados Free Press,

I’m a struggling 21yr old. I read your blog daily and I’m intrigued, yet saddened, by the amount of bullshit we, Barbadians deal with.

I believe more so than ever that the approach to economic stability isn’t through traditional policy but through a reinvigorated industry…of sorts.

I’m a student at the [soon-to-be] defunct University of the West Indies.

Quite literally, I find no solace in the idea of investing so much resources in a degree from the institution. As a young person, I believe that I need to go against the norm in order to sustain a comfortable living on this island.

I think I’m going well so far but I seek to challenge the diverse faculties of your readership.

How do I maintain a good thing without fucking it up?

James (last name withheld by BFP)

BFP’s Robert replies:

Dear James,

I am hardly the person you should be asking for advice, but Marcus is gone somewhere better and Cliverton is probably still hungover at 2pm, so I am the one who opened your email.

Your frustration comes through, but I would encourage you to try and take the high road with your language. Gutter talk does not elevate you in the minds of others no matter how common it is with your peers or in the entertainment media.

You’re on to something though when you doubt that your ‘investment’ in higher learning will be returned. This entire island is proof enough of that. We are supposed to have one of the most highly educated populations in the Caribbean, and perhaps we do in a very narrow sense of the word ‘educated’. Barbados has the highest educated shop clerks anywhere. Every one of those shop clerks was lied to – told that their education would enable them to buy a nice home, support a family and raise their children to have better lives.

Meet 20 people on the street in B’town and (I say with tongue in cheek but in truth also) it is likely that of those 20 people:

  • 7 are economists
  • 3 are bankers
  • 3 are teachers, professors, consults or somewhere in academia
  • 4 are unemployed
  • 2 are unhappily underemployed in the private sector
  • Only 1 will be able to build a wall, install a toilet, wire a home or repair a motor car.

Be the one person who can build or repair things. Work hard for someone else first. Be reliable. Break the island-time syndrome that infects about 90% of the people on this rock – who couldn’t hold a job in London or New York if their lives depended upon it.

When you have your knowledge and your good reputation established: go into business for yourself.

Or… you can get your degree in creative social issues or whatever other nonsense they teach at UWI and spend the rest of your life wondering why you can’t afford to travel and are always living hand-to-mouth.

That’s my advice to you James. I’m sure some of our readers will disagree, and some will agree. In the end though, you are your own man and you will decide.




Filed under Barbados, Culture & Race Issues, Economy

15 responses to “University of the West Indies student asks for Words of Inspiration

  1. Party Animal

    Dear James, at 21 your arrogance and behavior will not get you very far in life. You say you are a struggling you person, how do you think many of us started out in life ?, we did not have Universities to go to or could not afford to. How many big business men 40 or 50 years ago had more than a Secondary Education? personally it is all the University Grads that are running Business’s today that are sinking them,

  2. Robert Ross

    Most of us fuck up the good things that come our way. Deal with it..

  3. Wily Coyote

    Listen to what Robert said, truth that most Bajans do not want to hear.

  4. Cycles

    Bullshit seems to be the norm in most places. You just have to be smarter, to know better, and see through it. Ideas are regurgitated from place to place. A new idea! The cycle repeats.

    Globalization and rapidly growing technologies are what is hindering and enhancing us at the same time.

  5. sith

    Take the time to read and learn about Ernest Shackleton, – Ernest Shackleton’s failed quest to reach the South Pole is still a management tutorial in how to face repeated crises. ; In short, he had to travel 1500 km in a row boat in the Antartic to execute a plan to save the crew of his boat stuck and besieged in ice. There was a book written about his accomplishment called Leading at the Edge : Leadership Lessons from the Extraordinary Saga of Shackleton’s Antarctic Expedition. Get the book and read it and face each challenge in your career with Shackeltons vision of “never give up. there is always another move”. It should be mandatory reading for all university students. Your first challenge is getting the book. If you cant find a way through this blog for me to bring a copy for your library,

    The only test from the reading is a test of your ability to develop the Shackleton style to solving problems in your career.

  6. Blackman

    Good advice from Robert. Consultants are a dime a dozen: the guy who installs your toilet charges $300 per toilet and installs four a day.

    He’s the guy with the new truck and the happy wife who stays at home with the childrens.

  7. D Oracle.

    Get out of University and learn to build or fix things…you will get further.

  8. Robert Ross

    “The happy wife who stays at home with the children”

    Yeah! We really are in 2014.

  9. Pat Harris

    You have to hold your head high and continue to feed your body with all the good things, I worked at the University Faculty of Law Library for many years and know that it was a great place when I was there, don’t let anything or anyone bring you down, study hard and you will see good results, forget the haters, you won’t let yourself down either.

  10. Serial Entrepreneur

    Become an entrepreneur.

    There is lots you can do with your education and brainpower… with hardly any cash… provided you already have:
    – a work ethic (a fire in your belly)
    – a computer and internet connection
    – friends with computers and internet (your ‘workers’) and
    – a mentor to help you focus and figure out your new business(es).

    Just like the plumber example, you need to provide services that people need, want, and are willing to pay for. “The world is flat” (Tom Friedman). Your customers may or may not live on Bim. What could be better than living here and working from here?

    This is not the forum for more details. Ask BFP to send me your email address.

    All the best in the new year !!

  11. Jeri

    “The happy wife who stays at home with the children”

    The vast majority of women want to stay at home with the children and would do so if they could. This is the natural way of things that 100 years of counter-family economics and ideology has not and cannot change.

    The slavers of the 1700s and 1800s took the children from the parents so the females could be productive too. No difference today with the banksters who arranged everything so that it takes two incomes just to survive. No difference at all.

  12. lexicon

    Jeri, I’ve made more than enough attempts to try to convince my wife of what you’re say and she just ain’t buying it. You’re quite right in your analysis and I can’t help but to share your point of view.


    Blackman /Jeri/Lexicon
    Misogyny truly alive and kicking still in it’s virulent Bajan form on the flying fish isle…………….
    Would do you to try and engage your brains before you articulate dumb, dumb comments.

  14. lexicon

    Manjak, think about what you’re saying before you give people here the impression that you’re two -cents short of a dime. The two individuals you have indicated above, including myself, actually believes in the woman’s right to make her own decisions.


    David, there is obviously no limited to your madness? Because, you’re obviously insulting our intelligence with your pretense of being a young person who seems to be dismay with the current economic situation in Barbados. David now let’s be serious here for a quick moment Sir, what benefits would a young person derived from reading load of Bullshit you and you troops of Nincompoops writes daily on the BU blog?