By Edikan Udoibuot
What are your plans after school? Almost every finalist has been asked this question in one way or the other. But unfortunately, only a few have a concrete answer to such questions. The transition from being an undergraduate to becoming a graduate is kinder funny and scary to most students. The thought of being independent, no more frequent pocket money from Daddy and Mummy, Uncles and Aunts, Brothers and Sisters… is something we all have to deal with. It is a period when every decision you make counts and are very vital to your future because everybody now looks up to you.
After spending four, five to six years in school studying one course or the other, the question is what did you gain? What did you achieve? To some, those years were years of reformation, to others, they were years of purpose discovery, while some see the years as wasted years borne out of frustration or disappointments, no thanks to the education system of the country. Particularly in Nigeria and Africa at large, we have poor orientation of career choice, most students choose courses either because of the name or because they were forced by parents to study such courses (living another man’s dream). Also, some study because they want to work in big firms. For instance, back in our secondary school days, the three major courses most recurring among the science student were “medicine, engineering and pharmacy” while those in the commercial and arts are more concerned with “law, mass communication and accountancy”. These are nice courses per se but there are many other great courses to study which students don’t know about or neglect thinking that such courses won’t be of relevance to them.
Back to our question “what next after graduation?” the truth is that many students don’t have plans for life after school because they were either carried away by activities of their studies or didn’t just bother to plan ahead thinking that every plans made initially will fall in place. Most students’ mindset is to graduate, go for NYSC, get a good and safe job and life a happy life, but there is more to life. Unfortunately, we find ourselves in a country where the economy is dwindling; there is no job security, and many other challenging things happening in the country. To survive in an economy like Nigeria’s, one has to be independent, not waiting or depending on the government to feed you, it is only one without skill that cries out “no job”. To this effect, some questions pops up, what skills do you have? What’s your passion? What do you have to offer? If you have concrete answers to these questions, then you are good to go.
John F. Kennedy the 35th President of the United States of America once said, “ask not of what your country can do for you ask of what you can do for your country”. After graduation it would be time to give out what you’ve learned so far. Think of something to do; be different, be innovative, be creative, be industrious, and be versatile, surely you will be able to sail through the stormy sea outside school.
Perhaps you never had concrete plans while in school, the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) should be seen as a blessing in disguise because it should be a period where you can sit down and plan your life for the future within a year. It fully transits you from life as a student to life as a graduate. The government on their part should help matters by making the environment conducive while it is our duty to create opportunities. But if the government is doing nothing about it, that shouldn’t warrant us to sit idle and keep blaming the government.
God created every man in a unique way, lying inside of you are great potentials yet to be unleashed which by discipline, doggedness, and determination you can make a difference. We should bear in mind that the era of civil service is over. Before as a civil servant, you are entitled to a car and house but that is not the case in our own generation. That is why one has to be versatile. If you were not able to learn one or two skills aside your chosen discipline, there is still an opportunity to do so during the one year of NYSC. In our generation three things will push you to the top, they are your talents, your skills and your discipline.
Always remember, your network apparently determines your net-worth. You can study medicine in the university and become a stylist later in life; that doesn’t mean you wasted your time in school. Rather, your being educated exposed you to many things and also changed your way of thinking. Your packaging will be totally different from the normal stylist because you’ll think in a more modified way.
Finally, you were born to win, to dominate and to explore nature. Key into nature and life will be easy for you. Remember education is the key! It is not just about the certificate; there is more to it.
Take a bold step!
Make a wise decision and stand out of the crowd!!
God bless your efforts.
This article was first published at www.nigeriascholars.com