My Life After Uni shares life hacks from some of Ghana’s brightest business professionals on career success after University.
In this edition we inspire you with the story of a young and ambitious spoken word artist popularly known as Poetyk Prynx. He is an intelligent, confident and articulate creative who seeks to touch his generation with his craft and to effect very significant changes in society by championing mental health advocacy and awareness.
Prince Enoch Afful, popularly known a Poetyk Prynx is a spoken word artist. He is a graduate of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology who read Physics with Electronics as his major. He is endowed with amazing public speaking skills. A spoken word artist, a poet and a mental health activist. Poetyk Prynx is a Ghanaian born Nigerian raised, with incredible artistic skills, a saxophonist, graphic designer and one who is very zealous with his craft.
- Current role: Spoken Word Artist
- Location: Accra, Ghana
- University Attended: Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology
- Program studied: Physics (Electronics Major)
- One word to describe your experience of Life after Uni: Spontaneous
How will you briefly describe your university life and its impact on your life currently?
Urhm, So a lot of things happened in the University. I’m sure you are wondering how a science guy is doing a lot of arts now, it’s all because of a lot of things that happened while I was in uni. Initially, I had wanted to do engineering; it is my first love. If I get the chance to pursue engineering right now I am gonna drop everything and chase it. When my WASSCE results came out I didn’t get all the A’s I was hoping to get so I couldn’t get into a straight up engineering program so I ended up doing Physics. A lot of things started popping up; family, life, friends, personal problems when I got into uni so it kind of derrayed a lot of plans I had for university. Because my initial plan was that I wanted to make the best out of my first degree so that I can go do my masters in an engineering program and that was the bigger plan.
Before I got to Uni, I used to write poems and do lots of poetry but because of the personal issues that was happening in my life as earlier stated, I begun to have some issues on not being able to concentrate so it was a lot trying to balance school, the issues that were popping up, my health and others. In my first semester, I came out with flying colours and then things started going wrong at home and then my grades started going down. It later came down to me trying to save my face, trying to at least make sure that I don’t leave KNUST with really bad grades. That was when I started performing; doing spoken word on the side. For me it was more or less like a coping mechanism for me.
So briefly I would say uni was a bit confusing for me at some point in time because when we were in SHS they were like oh do all the studying and when you go to uni you will chill but hello! It’s even worse in uni. It takes a lot for you to have a comfortable life because at that point in your life there’s lots of freedom and there, 100% control of everything that could happen is in your hands. There is no one to come and tell you it’s prep time, lights out, no lecturer will come and look for you especially in a lecture hall where you are over 100 students unless you are special to the lecturer he/she will not come to ask you why you didn’t come for lectures. So it’s like you are solely responsible for everything that happens with you in uni and it means you are going to have to find a way of being disciplined to balance everything.
So a lots of things were disrupting this balance for me so it was kind of a struggle for me but someway somehow yuuno, we winged it; there was a lot of winging happening ( he laughs), you don’t know what you are doing but it’s working and there isn’t a lot of consequences so you’re just doing it so that you will come out of uni as a respectable graduate. That was how it was for me. Honestly, it was a mixture of a lot of things; meeting new people, excitement, confusion, taking care of my mental health and a host of others.
What influenced your choice of program studied in the university and is the choice still relevant in your career today?
My love for science is what led me to do physics. I could have done other courses but I really wanted to remain in science. I felt like if I can’t get the engineering with my WASSCE grade at least I can get my masters in engineering with my physics degree so that was the whole plan. Engineering fascinated me, creating things, solving problems, making robots and cars, those things are what I crave for. But I wouldn’t say my physics isn’t relevant to my career now because there’s a lot of things that I do now with this whole art thing that boils from my physics or science self. The methodology to which I use to approach my creative process is kind of drawn from my physics self or it’s like I treat everything like I’m in a lab experimenting, testing hypotheses, creating laws and others. So in a way even though I am not doing physics, I am indirectly drawing inspiration from physics. So I wouldn’t say it’s not relevant but I am not actively involved in it.
I would have gone straight to do my masters after school but these things are expensive to maintain. For me I feel like my arts craft is a bridge for me over the difficulties that I’m having when it comes to finances. Poetry is opening for me a lot of doors, introducing me to new people and I believe that one day if I get up and am like I think I want to go back to school, people will like to help and support me. Also, it will be much easier for me to apply to the university especially when they ask you to write these long essays about who you are.
How was your National Service days, what skills did you learn on the job?
I have always wanted to teach. One of the things that I’m gonna do at some point in my life is that I’m gonna teach. Also I didn’t want to do my national service in Accra, I wanted to move away so I got to teach in a secondary school; Akroso Senior high school ( Akrosec). I was teaching physics, integrated science and I also wanted to help so I ended up teaching mathematics and ICT and it was for me an eye opening experience. One thing I picked on the job was how to work with different kinds of people and how not to lose yourself while working with different kinds of people because in your line of work you meet different people with different backgrounds, some fast others slow learners so you need to be able to put yourself in a place where when you teach you cater for all their needs. That is one thing that has really helped me.
It has made me in a way always think about the kind of people I have in my audience anytime I’m working on a project and that is why I say physics and my science course is still relevant because it gave me that whole process of asking questions to be able to find a solution. All these things helped me to find a way to be inclusive in whatever I am doing. I need to be aware of the fact that in everything that I am doing, there are different kinds of people that are interacting with me, how do I make sure that;
- I reach out to those people
- I don’t say or do anything that will make any group of people feel marginalised
- At the end of the day everyone goes home satisfied.
It also help me improve on my public speaking skills because I constantly am in front of people as such you have to be confident all the time and also know what you are about.
How did you transition into the work world after school?
When I was done with national service the school wanted to retain me and they were ready to send letters to GES to make sure I was retained but I told them that I have plans and that my plans will require me not to be stationary. But when I was done with my service for a period of one year I kept going back to help out. For me after national service I realised that 9-5 might not be my thing but then I had parents at home and you need to be able to make them happy so I decided that am going to give it a shot. So I started looking for work to do. My first work was in a cyber security firm. During uni I never got the chance to do any internships so my curriculum Vitae wasn’t packed and the only work experience I had was national service and it was a teaching job as well so I kept asking myself who will want to employ a guy like that?. I went for an interview and they seemed to be impressed by what I was saying and they were like, we like you and we know you haven’t had any work experience so we want you to join on the condition that I will do some basic training with them so I accepted.
I think I was lucky a bit because compared to some of of my mates they struggled a bit to get jobs because the job market was kind of saturated and that’s why there are a lot of young entrepreneurs lately. So the training was going on and it got to a point I felt stagnant, it wasn’t really working for me. It was a nice job working in a cyber security firm, you troubleshoot problems. It was fun but I didn’t find it fulfilling. For me everything is about fulfilment. The teaching job was hard but I found fulfilment in it. I didn’t find fulfilment in my cyber security job so I quit within a year. So I say my transition into the work world was quite unexpected. Everything about me is unexpected.
What are the skills and tools you think matters the most in this current work life?
Discipline! Before you can really do anything you need to ground yourself. You need to tell yourself that this is what you want to do because you won’t really get the motivation, because you wake up and you don’t really want to go to work but you signed up for this so you need to get it done so discipline is very important. The next thing is “hunger”. You need to always be hungry, everyday you should wake up hungry and tell yourself that I don’t want to remain where I am today. It gives you a drive to want to learn to seek greener pastures and want to be better. If this hunger is there you will want to feed it and in that process of feeding you will be open to opportunities and if opportunities don’t come to you; you chase it.
Another thing I want to say is you need to have a sense of empathy. In the means of being hungry for fulfilment you should understand that your journey is somehow connected to people around you . You can’t go too far if you are constantly trampling on people, you can’t go too far if alongside your journey you are hurting people, taking advantage of people just because you are “hungry”. I personally believe in a lot of empathy, very necessary in this life. I realised that a lot of people lack empathy and so they lose employees and some lose their jobs. Also, you have to have a support system of friends around you. So discipline, empathy, support system and your believe in God; to me are the most important.
What advice do you have for students/fresh graduates about life after university?
Life after university is different. Whatever you already have on paper, the reality of it is totally different. So you need to expect the worst, I am not trying to be a negative person. What that means is that you should come out with an open mind, have your plans alright but come out with an open mind and know that it might not be the way you think it will be or should be because it can be different so come out with an open mind.
Be ready to explore all options, don’t be rigid, don’t hold on to that one kind of idea of life after uni. You need to be able to accept whatever that comes to you.
Who will you like to hear their story about life after university?
Paa Kwesi (Creative Consultant & Business Strategist)
Poetyk Prynx has performed on many platforms and also has worked with and for many brands. He has a spoken word EP out titled “Ethereal EP” available on SoundCloud ( SoundCloud.com/poetyk_prynx )
As a mental health advocate he together with his team “The Sanctuary” organise an annual event dubbed “Candlelight Vigil” in solidarity and to create awareness for mental health issues.