I REMEMBER WHEN … (JOB ADVICE TO STUDENTS AND YOUNG GRADUATES)

Intro:
The University of Nigeria graduates its first degree recipients today. Hurray! ????? I share the joy of the families of these young ones, many for whom this is is a dream come true. And in my musings, my mind went to when I earned my own first degree some … years ago (you’ll just have to guess when that was exactly, lol! ???). And I also thought of the challenges that lie ahead, hence this short piece written with maternal love to guide those still in school and our celebrants. ??)

I remember when as a fresh graduate I made plans to conquer the world. But my degree was in the wrong field for my dreams, so it was back to school to be properly situated, much like what happens to many a graduate today.

A first degree seems just a certificate of basic education in Nigeria. Most times, the course of study is chosen not out of passion but to stop further delay in gaining admission. Young people see themselves to be in competition with their mates who seem to be doing better because they’ve become undergraduates, so they take the plunge to study whatever they can be admitted to that their O’levels qualify them for.

Have you thought through what to study or are you just hurrying to get a degree? Click To Tweet

But a bigger problem is that many of these first degrees, especially in the arts and social sciences, hardly prepare the holders with employability skills to make them saleable in the labour market. Bear in mind that jobs are few while job seekers are in their millions. Nepotism is also rife. The children of the rich and famous who have had the privilege of studying in the Western world where facilities are better seem to be the preferred choice for the few available vacancies.

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Entrepreneurship courses in school and the regular degree programmes also don’t employ enough of the hands-on approach to enable young people effectively practice what they learn through self employment. So chances are that the majority of those who earn first degrees in this country will be back for a second degree sooner than later.

Supplement your school curriculum with self education in the area of your interest. Click To Tweet

But stacking degrees without relevant content to contemporary life in the outside world offers no relief to anyone. What young people need is to supplement their school curricular with self education in the areas of their interests. Many do the minimum in school already, so this advice will rub them the wrong way. You need to be more curious and explore things on your own.

Go for internship whether your degree programme requires it or not. Click To Tweet

In addition, seek an opportunity for internship (paid or unpaid) to learn some actual skills that would put you in good stead for when you’ll be seeking employment. It doesn’t matter whether there’s an internship in your degrree curriculum or not and it doesn’t have to be in a big or fancy establishment. Just don’t arrive the job market a complete tyro.

Don't arrive the labour market a complete tyro waving a certificate. Click To Tweet

Anyway, I wish all our fresh graduates the best that life has to offer and a stress-free placement in some position out there, be it in self or paid employment. If you need to, it’s not too late to develop yourself further using the counsel in this piece, you know! God’s grace all the way in Jesus’ name.
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I am a university lecturer. I teach Mass Communication, mostly writing courses like Feature and Interpretative Writing, Magazine Article Writing and News Writing, and let’s just say I’ve been doing this for a long time. As you have probably guessed, I am a born-again Christian.

92 thoughts on “I REMEMBER WHEN … (JOB ADVICE TO STUDENTS AND YOUNG GRADUATES)

  1. You have said it all. There is an ever increasing number of graduates who flood the labour market in search of jobs. After several trials, a good number do not get employed. As a result, they get immersed in certain acts that contravene God’s commands. It makes it pretty important for one to acquire skills with which to become self-employed.

  2. Self-education is definitely very important in today’s world. I suggest young people like myself should seek what they’re really passionate about, lay a foundation and build a castle upon it. If you’re good at something or you want to be good at something, the internet has really made it easier to pick up new skills or climb up the ladder on already existing ones than in the past. It’s as easy as searching a keyword on Youtube and opening millions of results that could put you on the right track.
    However, you need to know what you want for yourself so you could start organizing a blueprint of the life you want after graduation. And to all the naysayers and negative Nancys out there, it is totally possible to lead the life you’ve always wanted after graduation.
    Happy Sunday Aunty Edith!

  3. Well Anty u have said it all because most of us are just in school because of delayed admission to study what we want to study . if u study what u have passion for u get to be successful after graduating from the university

    • It’s sad, Nneoma, but it’s not a hopeless situation. You can get a good first degree in the area you’re studying now and still follow your passions later.

  4. Thanks ma. Pls can you help more on the story of how you scale through after your first degree. Knowing fully well as you said that there are limited jobs for unlimited number of job seekers.

    • Hi Mary! I’ve mentioned the things that matter. I went back to school to study what I was passionate for. I performed far better than in the previous case and got a job on that basis. Bless you, my dear!

  5. You have said it all indeed. I always wonder what a person would be doing in school for so much number of years; and on graduation, the person would have no interest in practicing what he or she studied back in school. One should choose a course for no other reason than because of the passion you have for the profession that comes after the study of that particular course.

  6. You are right, aunty. Most university students today are in the university simply because their friends are getting admission and they don’t want to be left out; and not because they have a passion for the particular course they are studying. I remember a guy who studied marketing in the university, he graduated and went back again to school: this time Accountancy. When I asked him, he told me that he took the marketing because he has no other choice, that his friends are all in school and he doesn’t want to be left out. All i’m trying to say in essence is we should not be too anxious to make a decision. most decisions we make today may cause us regrets tomorrow.

  7. I’m really glad I read until the end. Though I’m not a graduate yet, I find these tips priceless. I will like to say that until things change, I’m afraid graduates will have to decide for themselves whether an unpaid internship is a good investment for them. This will depend on the calibre of the company and what they’ll be doing while they’re there. Finally, I love that you harped on self-education. A self-educated individual can aim to learn a little bit about everything, or they can work hard toward mastering a single subject

  8. congrats to the newest graduants,i pray GOD gives them the strength to achieve greatness.having a degree is nice but like u recommended enterpreneurship is also important because it make u self dependent instead of waiting and relying on white collar jobs. Nice one Aunty Edith.

  9. This is really true Aunty. I love this piece and it has opened my eyes to some things that i need to handle at this stage of my life. Thank you ma

  10. Thank you so much ma for this wonderful piece…I have learnt a new word(tyro). Also, going for internship will be an opportunity to bridge the gap between theory and practice, and the experience will make one ready for the labour market.. This piece is timely and encouraging.

  11. Good day MA,I must say that is a nice one for the graduates and under graduates.I also encourage youths to get engage in one or more self employed business.

    • Meaning you already have something doing. Good for you! But the advice in the post is to help young people either get a job or become self-employed. That is not to deny other benefits of education, Victor! You are blessed!

  12. I refuse to accept the saying that “when the desired is not available, the available becomes desired” should be considered when it comes to our future. Come to think of it, what you never wished for as a profession, you can never be happy doing or practicing it or even do it with the love and patience it requires. This means that to find happiness anywhere will be so hard…

    • It comes in handy when we least expect and can open more doors for us besides those our formal education opens. Bless you!

  13. Internship and self Education pays alot but the problem we have is that we are not ready to work especially when there’s no money involved.Let’s turn a new leaf before it’s too late. Well-done Aunty

  14. makes sense to seek knowledge in areas of interest but the system of education we operate here in Nigeria is not really providing the chance..ten courses in a semester of five months where is the space… not an excuse anyway

    • I see what you mean and I sympathize but I guess you can make the best out of the bad situation, as they say. Abundant grace in your studies in Jesus’ name.

  15. Ma i like you so much you may not know it, but I want to ask you something that has been bothering me so much… Pls can i be your school daughter???????

    • Awwwww, that is very sweet of you. See me soon so we can talk. And yes, I’d very much like you to be my school daughter. You are awesomely blessed in Jesus’ name.

  16. What a motherly advice indeed, of what use is the certificate if you have not the knowledge? Thanks so much ma, God bless you!

  17. Frankly speaking what you have just said is true. Most of us in school, especially those who are doing the course which is not their dream course, are just there to fulfill all righteousness, get the certificate and face their real life. I pray DAT God will help us oo. Because it seems I fall d victim, but God must help us

  18. I have a friend, who told me about her her desire to be an actress. She told she would like to study theatre Arts in the university. But, lo and behold she’s in the university studying medicine. When I asked why, you can guess the reply: her parents were against her dream. they threatened to withdraw their sponsorship if she chooses any profession other than that which they chose for her: medicine. What I’m trying to say is that parents constitute greater reason why students go to the university studying a course that is not their heart desires. They have greater influence on students than anyone else. they are the one to sponsor you. Supposing they decide not to sponsor in your chosen course of study, what will you do as a student if not dance to the rhythm of their dictates? Another reason why this problem still persists is the “plan B” mentality on the side of students. Well, I don’t think I need to talk much about that. Students ought to know.

  19. What I mean by that is that students (most students actually) always have a “plan B” in everything. In other words, they have alternatives to everything, even their chosen life-time career. Ask a student today what he or she would like to become in future, you can always guess the response: I would like to be this, but if it doesn’t work out well, I can go with this. This is very bad. a student who always considers alternatives to a chosen course of study may not have the zeal, the patience or the determination to pursue a particular course ( especially when that “particular course” seems to be so hard). This affects the future performance of students. For example, a student who had wanted to be a medical doctor, but decided to consider an alternative and went into nursing may not be happy discharging his or her duties as a nurse. All I’m saying is that this may lead to regrets in the future, and to avert such regrets, students are advised to think deep (if not critically) before choosing any career.

  20. We are in a world where youths are careless of their skills. All they want to know is ‘how they can get that money fast’. And I kept on telling my friends that if you are not ready to ‘sacrifice’ at this stage of your youthful age, you won’t be able to accomplish greater things in the future. What I noticed about most of these successful people is that they sacrificed their time at a tender age – planning for their future and that is what students of this epoch lack. Thanks ma for this piece!

  21. Right now in this country, your certificate doesn’t matter to an extent. we just want to see that man or woman behind the mask, what you can really do, the thing inside of you that keeps you going. most people end up having a different occupation aside what they read in school just like I wish to go into acting despite that am studying mass communication today…

  22. Skill acquisition is very important in one’s life because you don’t know what tomorrow holds for you, especially in this our country where these two acronyms IM (imara mmadu) and IOMM (imara onye Mara mmadu) are the order of the day.

    Secondly, our parents should be allowing us to do what we like the best not forcing us into what we don’t like. Just like Henrietta said that she wants to become an actress. Though she’s on the right track, but sometimes our parents totally change our plans and try to frustrate us.

    I too wanted to become an actor because I have the talent. Acting is in me, I love doing it. But my parents never accepted that.

    Thank you ma for this piece.

  23. An extra skill acquired outside school activities would be very handy after graduation since having a job in Nigeria has now turned into a herculean task.

  24. Very useful advice, ma’am. The world is changing especially in the aspect of technology nd those that are ICT-compliant have more chances. It is very good and important to engage in other activities that can enrich our resume and give us better chances out there. God bless you, ma, for this piece.

  25. This piece is challenging, life after school is something we must not forget to plan and prepare for.

  26. Absolute truism! a lot of people just pass through the higher institutions of learning without plans for the future that awaits them after graduation.

  27. I really like this piece cause it is timeless… just as relevant today as it was at the time it was published! Thank you

  28. Thank you ma. This is and advice worth giving especially to undergraduates who take their holidays for granted..is not about being a slay queen or miss fassa.. even to me this is a well done advice to me cos am currently learning hairdressing. God bless you ma.

  29. Thank you ma for the advice. It has worth and it focuses mostly on undergraduates who think that holidays are for relaxation. We should learn to make use of any opportunity we have now that will be of use in the future.

  30. Learning a skill is important these days.skill acquisition is no longer seen as a thing of degradation but enablement in pursuance of certain human needs.This holiday should not be for relaxation but for doing something that will profit us later in life thanks for this advice ma.

  31. Thank mum for that piece.
    Many thought getting a degree will be end of their problems concerning job, neglecting skill acquisition of different types.
    Education is no longer the way/bedrock of success but rather a step to success.
    Get a wonderful degree with a wonderful result and then hustle like a drop out.

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