I was too academically busy; I didn’t explore, I thought It was all about good grades – Gabriel
What do I have to offer myself now, after those years in school? I feel empty. It’s like I don’t know anything – Alexander
I could have started small back then – Azeez
I should have acquired that skill, now I can’t go back – Chioma
I wish I could do more in my undergraduate years. I should have paid more attention to my passion – Ikenna
So many times, I’m dead broke, angry, discouraged and frustrated – Kelvin
These are some common statements of regret most Nigerian universities graduates spit out after the long, most times tough four or five years of study in theoretical educational institutions.
It’s so painful that after many years of hard work, sleepless nights and stress, many graduates have nothing to show for it.
So many first class degree holders on the streets out there with little or no hope of getting at least a job that will enable them cater for very necessary needs. The result? – Frustration at its peak.
Truly, most of these hard working graduates struggled to get good grades in the unfavorable learning conditions in school, but still grades are beginning to speak less. Grades are not enough.
To every undergraduate in Nigeria, pause for a moment and think about this question: “Why I’m in school (university, polytechnic, college of education etc.) in the first place?
I have asked many of my colleagues when I was still in campus and I get almost the same replies -“MONEY”. Everyone wants to get a good job with a good grade that will in turn, translate into reasonable salary.
One fact still remain undisputed; it’s the bitter truth – Not everyone will get a white collar job. Also, after years of being employed, we’ll all still come back to business.
Why Join The Jobless Graduates? May this question continue to ring in your mind throughout your undergraduate years as it will push you to give yourself the best before graduation.
Life begins a day after school, so I have put together 5 things you should be doing as an undergraduate:
Go for what you love
Some graduates have taken the wrong route, never listening to their own minds, and being pushed around by everything that comes their way.
For example, I’ve heard some graduates saying “I actually wanted to study Visual Art but my parents said, there’s real money in civil engineering, that’s why I’m studying to be a civil engineer” or “I really don’t like the course”.
Truly, many students were given courses they did not put in for after writing Post-UTME in institutions of their choice. This really affects, and not everyone is willing to go through the stressful process of changing courses and issues that comes with it, but that investment is worth it at the end.
Knowing who you really are won’t allow for making anything get into your way. In fact, it will help you study what you love and when you do, you’ll bridge the gap between what’s being taught in school and whats required out there.
Focus more on applying knowledge
In whatsoever you choose to study, focus more on the application. Ask yourself; how exactly can I put this to use?
Bridging the gap between the learning and earning is how well you can put to practice the theories you’ve read all through the undergraduate years. Don’t wait until you graduate before you start to put to practice what you’re learning.
What about these?
If you are an accounting student, go out there and put that simple double entry principle you’ve just learnt to use, go to small shop owners, offer a free service to help them keep their business records.
At the end of each month, balance the accounts, do that for a whole semester, analyze the financial position of the small business, interpret, and see what the difference between theory and practical could teach you.
(That’s if you chose to be an accountant, you’ll be willing to take it a step further because you love what you’re studying)
If you are an engineering/science student, you shouldn’t be an engineer in the book, what you create or manufacture will manifest. There are thousands of basic ideas you can start to work on, if you truly understand the basics.
Currently a young female abroad has taken the very basic physics knowledge – Kinetic energy, seriously and could generate 50 watts of electricity from someone walking at a regular interval for about an hour. She calls it foot power.
If you multiply those 50 watts by the foot power of hundreds of thousands of people walking on busy roads, malls, offices, etc, that is power generated inexpensively.
She is an inventor and research companies have invested in her idea. I’d say that a postulated theory comes out of what has been practiced.
So, start to practice what you’re learning, you’ll be surprised that through your research you have developed yourself more than you can possibly imagine.
Loosen up and get social
Never live a triangle life when you’re in school, it’s an investment that doesn’t pay much dividend.
This is a model for some graduates when they were in school: “From hostel to class, class to church/mosque and then back to the hostel”.
The side effect of this so called “safe life” is really telling on graduates who have lived this way back in school.
“Most people live life on the path we have set for them, too afraid to explore any other, and people who later realize free will as a gift never knew how to use it until someone, or obstacles gets it out of them”
I used to be so shy that I can’t ask questions in class. I was so shy about meeting people, expressing my thoughts to my colleagues was tough and in most cases I don’t just talk. All these changed when I loosen up and took a step to get social.
Join a club and you’ll be glad you did. Clubs are a platform for some people to overcome being shy. For some, clubs are their training ground to become personally developed.
Some people are just too boring. Don’t be too academically busy, you won’t learn about everything you need to know reading school books. You can learn more important things by getting out of your own comfort zone, and that’s beyond the 4 walls of a class room.
Create time for sport and games, Interact with people and build strong interpersonal relationship skills. This leads to the number 4 on my list.
The value of real friends – your best network
A friend is someone who brings out the best in you, someone you can trust upon. Real friends are one of the greatest assets you may ever have, they influence our lives positively or negatively (I’m sure you’ll love the positive influence), they affect and play a major role in determining our sense of self direction.
Whether you’ve realized it or not, your friends have shaped who you are today. You are even the product of friends who are no longer your friends.
Friends give you a reality check. They are best at describing who you really are and what traits you have because they know you so well and can see things you can’t.
Having a network of real friends shows your worth, they sharpen your mind and enhance your skills and help you effect social change.
Most graduates have what I call “school friends”. They do things together in school be it registration, collection of documents, and they try as much as possible to sit together during examinations.
One funny thing is, during semester break, they never get in touch and during school session, things go on the normal way. What happens after graduation? They realize they had no real friends from the unset. Friends now become just a name on Whatsapp list.
Birds of a feather flock together. When you move with the right people in school, you will have someone to inspire you after graduation even when things are not moving fine, they’ll remind you of your capabilities, motivate you and give you unending support like you would give to them as well.
There’s still a chance if you got this point all wrong in your undergraduate years. During your NYSC service year there are other things you can do and having a network of friends is one of them.
Real friends will give encourage you, they support your contributions, they challenge you and most especially, you’ll have lovely memories.
The network of friends you have will show where you’re heading to, so take my advice: “move with the right people keep your friends close and you’ll keep your memories closer”.
Stop blaming, take personal responsibility
In the word “responsible”, there’s an “I”, a “response” and “able”. Do you always respond to things you’re able to do? Let me put it this way: do you at all times respond to your abilities?
I could go on and on to talk about being responsible, responsibility, and responsibilities but I’m sure you do understand what it all means. Being responsible doesn’t come naturally; it is something you decide to do and start to do.
Everyone has to be responsible for one thing on the other in life but the situation we find ourselves (most times harsh and unfair) makes it hard on us.
Everyone’s got challenges to tackle and you’ve got yours too (personal or family financial incapability, etc), but if you continue to give excuses and start blaming other people for your predicament you’ll surely get nowhere.
You’re not the first to face these kinds of challenges and you’re surely not the last. Until you stop blaming other people or the unfortunate condition you find yourself and stand up to reality with a way to improving the situation, then you have a chance to make a change.
Those are 5 things I could put together and I’m sure you can also add more to the points above. Your candid comments are welcome.
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