Hi, I am Tijani Omolara and I am going to be talking, well more like writing about Life After School – The after University life challenges and the how-to tackle these challenges.
A big misconception has been sold from ages past that one needs to first finish University before facing the next stage of one’s life…the stage of ” life after University”. This stage of “life after school” begins right there in the University, while still schooling. It does not begin after your final year (nope). It does not begin after your defense (nope), and certainly not after your convocation ceremony. It begins before all of these steps in your life.
You know just as life as a human, does not begin from when the child is born but begins immediately fertilization has occurred, so also is tackling the life challenges following your being done with your first degree.
What does anyone really want from life?
To sum it up in one word. It’s SECURITY! Security can further be divided into job security, marital security, and social security.
1. JOB SECURITY
One of the challenges faced by most students after school is securing a well-paid job (financial security). How do I beat this?
Say at 18, you gained admission into a four (4) years program in the University. With the Nigerian education system of strikes and everything, at 23, you are now in your 400 level first semester.
Your 1st, 2nd and 3rd year in the University are enough for you to build your CGPA to landing between 3.50 and 5.00. Those 3 years are where you build your CGPA to getting that CGPA working for you. And with these GPAs, you can access a lot of scholarship money. Money, you can save up for use, later.
These grades 3.50 to 5.00 are power grades. They are like laying the right academic foundation on which you can erect any structure! So working hard to attaining a grade within this range is advantageous.
In your 400 level, while studying to crown all your effort from the other 3 years, that is when you begin to think about life after school in the aspect of job security.
Say this program is accounting. At 400 level 1st semester, you should know about the different professional exams needed for you as an accountant to excel in your career path. I’m talking about ICAN and the rest.
With the scholarship money and bursary from the last 6 sessions, you should have enough to sit for one of those exams.
Some of these exams come in stages. By the time you will be through with NYSC, you would have successfully completed all levels. Audit firms and other financial institutions would be looking to employ you.
My point here is that skills are an added advantage, needed to beat this financial/job security challenge. Be it that you are at 400 level or you are preparing to go for service or you are even back for your Masters, skills are very necessary.
Skills you acquire from sitting for professional exams required in your field of profession, skills in learning a machine language and mastering it, skills in learning software for data analysis, skills in proposal writing and Grant sourcing, skills in Business management, Project Management, Relationship Management, skills in Hotel Management, Customer Relations, skills in Human Resources, etc.
You need to pick up a skill, learn it and master it. Master it enough that you will be known for it. Pick up a skill or two, useful, needed in your field. Pick up a skill to enhance that passion of yours to make the world know you are here.
For those who are in a program that requires them to specify because of the diversification in their study program, or are looking to work in the academia or work in a research institute, then, going for Masters is necessary and then, of course, Doctorate. But even at this, a skill for research proposal drafting is needed.
At 400 level, you should have mapped out who you want to be in life and what you want to be known for. At that age, you are anywhere between 21 to 26 (on average).
Once you have this mapped out, read, browse, research about the field you are in or thinking of going into. Read about the necessary steps to take. That laptop in your hand is not just for watching movies or collecting textbooks. You can browse those who have excelled and still excelling in that field. What skills do they have that you do not have? How can you get access to these skills?
YouTube is an amazing place. There are people who drop daily lessons, free. Make use of it. Learn and master a skill relevant to who you want to be before leaving the University, master it way into your service year.
Such that when you start sending your CVs to organizations, Universities e.t.c., you will rank very high.
Another challenge students face after school is “where to live. Don’t wait till you get to that point you begin to ask yourself “where do I pack and go now” before you start making plans. Some people are blessed that should they leave their current residence today, they are able to get another the same day. Some are blessed more in other areas of life.
If you are among the latter set, then do not wait till you get to that junction. You may not know where you will be posted for NYSC for those still in school. But you know where you want to set base, except God says otherwise. You know you want to return to Lagos, and live in Lagos. You know you do not go back to your parents’. Or you want to leave your current location for Lagos, whichever, wherever…
Begin to speak with your friends now. You will surely meet one or two persons who want to live where you want to live. Talk to them about apartment sharing. I mean it will be for a while, just until you are able to stand on your own. Make inquiries on the cost per annum for rent for the type of apartment you want. Browse Google. Get the numbers and divide.
If however, you know that your savings cannot cover the expenses of living alone (even when shared with friends), go back to your parent’s house. Stay there a while, until you can stand on your feet.
- SOCIETAL PRESSURE (MARITAL AND SOCIAL SECURITY)
We all know this pressure. Pressure from friends, family, society, your faith, etc. I have spoken so much about this pressure that I am beginning to sound like a record on a replay button is broken.
Do not let any of those aforementioned groups pressure get to you. I have seen people make wrong decisions and choices because of these pressures.
Interestingly, it is different for both genders. That your friend/brother/sister got his job immediately after NYSC doesn’t mean you wouldn’t. That your friend/brother/sister has gotten his/her own apartment now and is now paying his rent regularly doesn’t mean you would not. That your friend is now married and you are going 29 (female) and 32 (male) doesn’t mean you would not. That your friend/brother/sister is now the one taking care of the family and paying the bills doesn’t mean you would not.
Do not let anyone talk down to you not even you yourself. Do not give room even for yourself to talk you down. Your goal and dream are key here. You know who you are, you know what you want from life. You have your dream and goals. You are your own special person different from every and any other person. You are in control of your future; don’t feel bound by expectations of people around you. Trust God and input the necessary hard work.
Stay safe and remember…You’ll overcome!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tijani Omolara is a Physiologist (specializing in Developmental Endocrinology and Genetics Engineering). She has volunteered on medical outreaches in different communities.
She is also a freelancer, editing CVs and other academic related content. She loves Korean drama and loves the KPOP boy group, BTS.