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23-year-old Clayton Allen recently copped a degree in Forestry from the University of Guyana (UG). He hails from Ann’s Grove, East Coast Demerara. He attended Ann’s Grove Primary School, where he placed 5th when he wrote the National Grade Six Assessment (NGSA) and was awarded a spot at Hope Secondary.
Allen grew up with his parents and siblings.
He mentioned that he is still figuring life out, however, he enjoys helping others.
Allen is a member of the Friends Assisting Individuals Through Hospitality (FAITH) youth group. Through the youth group Allen and his teammates usually host back-to-school drives, Christmas drives, amongst others.
He joined the FAITH youth group because he wanted to make a difference in the lives of others. He further added, “Being a member of the faith youth group showed me the importance of giving to others, especially the less fortunate. It also shows that one’s deed can make an impact on someone’s life and that genuinely makes me happy.”
Clayton enjoys graphic designing. Even though he’s not a pro, he sometimes assists his relatives and there are times when he uses it as a side gig, making promotional flyers or invitations.
He initially wanted to begin his career as a forest ranger.
Owing to the fact that he has a degree in the field of forestry, he believes that would have taken him to a supervisory position. However, he believes that God has the final say.
Currently he is employed at Courts Guyana. His short-term goal right now is happiness while his main goal is to gain a job within his field of study (Forestry).
He said, “I graduated over 10 months ago, and I haven’t gotten even one job interview. My struggles weren’t just in the university, but it’s still ongoing. It was hard enough to push myself through UG.”
Allen graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Forestry. He initially registered for the Applied Geology course, but it was a challenge for him, as such he switched to Forestry.
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He said, “It was a battle for me owing to the fact I had just come out of high school and went straight to the UG and had no science background. However, I switched to forestry, and I enjoyed everything about it. There were many days where I wanted to quit but I persevered. “
He mentioned, “I’m not ashamed to say I failed three times which caused me not to graduate with a credit. I had no idea about the rule until my last semester of my last year. However, I was devastated, because I had the GPA but they didn’t give me the credit.”
He worked multiple jobs while attending university. He added, “I worked at the Giftland Mall, at a call centre, and even assisted my lecturer with his part-time gig, there I did data entry for him. It took me two buses to get to him and to date, I’ve never been paid for my services, even though I was promised a salary at the beginning.”
He said, “My mom is big on education, she ensured I completed high school. She even wanted me to pursue CAPE, however, I didn’t pursue that, but rather went off to UG as I was unsure of my career path.”
Further, he added, “Though I was unsure of my career path, I wanted to ‘feel’ and ‘see’ my way around, as such I wanted to pursue engineering, but today I’m thankful I did forestry, I enjoyed that class. It was so much fun. However, I feel as if I wasted four years of my life at the University, as I’m unable to get a ‘proper’ job within the field I studied.”
He noted that one of his future goals is to attain a master’s degree, within the field of study, however, he had to put it on pause as he does not work within his field of study.
“You will face many defeats in life, but never let yourself be defeated,” is a quote by Maya Angelou that keeps Allen motivated.
He believes that his time to shine is coming, he just needs to practice faith.
“Slow progress is better than no progress!
Don’t compare your path to someone else’s. Staying motivated is very hard, just try remembering why you started!” is Allen’s advice to youth.