I REMEMBER WHEN … (JOB ADVICE TO STUDENTS AND YOUNG GRADUATES)
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 to be 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.
[bctt tweet=”Have you thought through what to study or are you just hurrying to get a degree?” username=”edithohaja1″]
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.
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.
[bctt tweet=”Supplement your school curriculum with self education in the area of your interest.” username=”edithohaja1″]
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.
[bctt tweet=”Go for internship whether your degree programme requires it or not.” username=”edithohaja1″]
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.
[bctt tweet=”Don’t arrive the labour market a complete tyro waving a certificate.” username=”edithohaja1″]
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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