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28.06.2017 Feature Article

The Graduates Nightmare

From the genesis of education, every student's greatest dream was to become a graduate. At the basic level , when one was being asked of the question; what do you want to become in future? There were bigger answers to the question. You would hear your colleagues saying I want to become a doctor, a president, a lawyer, a pilot, not forgetting the ambassadors, and suchlike. In a hysterical manner, some people said they would become a teacher "like that" if they don't get any better job to do. But the most funny thing is, we grow to see that our wishes and desires is just a fantasy.

On the same ladder of education, some of your colleagues were dropped out, may be the one who said he would become a pilot. On that same ladder of education, some of your female friends also got pregnant and were not able to become the nurses and lawyers they dreamt of. I don't think you have forgotten that your friend who died some few days to write your BECE. Some too didn't reach that stage before their death. You tried to get the best secondary school in pursuance of your dreams. You had a lot of encounters at the secondary which I can't best tell, rather, the individual. But you were able to maneuver through despite the challenges. You got correct grades to enter into the tertiary, specifically the university. The place full of stress and frustrations which make you feel warm even when the weather is cold.

At times in your rooms, you begin to reflect on certain things, comparing your dreams 10 years ago to today. You thought of being at Legon but found yourself at UCC and vice versa. Maybe it was your dream to read medicine in UDS but you found yourself at KNUST, reading a course you never dreamed about 10 years ago. There were times that you were seriously sick and couldn't make it for lecture, only to put on your data to receive a message that the lecturer conducted a surprise quiz. There were times that you were financially unsound, and what to eat, or the money to pay for a "trotro" for lecture becomes a nightmare, or the handout you had to buy became a millstone round your neck. Hope you have not forgotten some friends who fell sick and those who fainted at the sights of results. For those who trailed a paper, is the worst thing ever to have happened in their lives. It keeps reverberating through your mind until you rewrite.

Opportunities are not perchance, they are those things you see when you are hardworking. Most people get the privilege but misses a lot of opportunities when they are at the university. I call it distorted plan of action. Instead of investing in their education, they imbibe a new lifestyle in which they have no idea what it's about; going to parties, buying schmancy clothings, eating luxurious foods, using big phones they cannot even tell you its functions. Such people usually wants to please others, and by so doing, take their eyes of the goal. I will not say you shouldn't buy expensive phones but the purpose and use of the phone is more important than the price tag.

Usually, at level 100 and 200, most people are attuned to ostentatious lifestyles. But in level 300 and 400, the fear of getting a job after school sets in. Others lie to their parents and correct fees every semester/trimester. The risky part of the story is when people blindly copy the lifestyles of others. They forget why they are in the university. And when they are out, they realized they have wasted about 80% of their lives at the university. Had I known is always the philosophy of the fools. Instead of buying an expensive phone just to show off why don't you register for a driving school that can supplement your degree certificate or any other secondary thing that will be useful in your life some years to come. Opportunities come but do not linger. Don't prioritize secondary matters ahead of your primary objective. First thing first, second thing second.

At this level too, we lose friends either through severe illness, motor or car accidents. The most painful thing is when we lose a final year students after going through the hectics of a project work, the herculean task one must go through before you become a successful graduate.

On your graduation day, you become the happiest person on earth because not all those you started with were able to make it. bBut the tragedy sets in when you take your certificate back home and begin to apply for job. At this point, frustration sets in. Most graduates target high profile areas because they want to make it big, until they realize they have turned into liability.

You become more terrified when you are locked in the "Acquired Degree Job Syndrome". You keep on applying for job but sometimes the qualifications could be annoying, say a four or five years working experience.

You begin to think that you have wasted your life. You have not gotten job, how then do you even think of marrying the lady you love as she begins to look at you in a different dimension. What kills your spirit is when you hear sour grapes comments from friends who couldn't make it to the university. some will say, after all, he is in the house with no job. Those who didn't get the privilege to be at the university but have manage to buy a car and build a house or are into businesses and making money will look down upon you, and see you to be a waste. But assuredly, all is not lost.

You were in seventh heaven on the day you got admission into the university only to come out and fall in the "Acquired Degree Job Syndrome".

After facing the intricacies of education from the basic through to the tertiary, getting a job becomes a nightmare. Therefore, you begin to ask yourself some complicated questions.

The graduates nightmare can be disastrous and therefore needs a critical look into the following;

Apply the triune of education. That is knowledge, ideas and skills. Education, once acquired, gives you an insight. Being at the tertiary or acquiring a degree certificate is not a panacea but a leverage. It is meant to open and create doors, a source of empowerment. So after school, don't always think of being at big offices because you want to please your family and friends.

Start doing something for yourself. Don't wait for something big to occur. Start where you are with what you have and that will always lead you into something greater(Mary Manin Morrissey). Usually, graduates target high profile areas, and look down upon some work in society. Some graduates tend to wait far too long for big offices. All the while,time is slipping away. Waiting for everything to come together could be a long wait. We are somewhere, even if it's not exactly where we want to be. We can do something with what we have and what we have acquired (knowledge, ideas and skills).

Moreover, whilst at the university, pay attention to supplementary certificates. You go to the university to learn, so get yourself involved in any program or activity that will serve as supplement to your degree certificate. Going to a printing press and learning how to type, print, laminate, etc can help you in future. Also pay attention to computer programmes. Use your free period at the university judiciously. Do not put your eggs in one basket. You should be useful for many purposes...that is the meaning of university. Versatility is key in our changing world, so if you have nothing to offer to the world, the world will not give you anything in return. "Make hay while the sun shines" is a word to the wise. Make good use of your time or make the most of an opportunity while you have the chance. Since one never knows what the future may hold, make good use of those opportunities that present themselves today. Make every second count! The future is uncertain. Some people complete university and do not even make use of their certificate. So, it's good to take stock of a situation and realize when an opportunity presents itself.

If life is about fulfilling a wish list like beggars would equally ride. We sow the seeds but God blesses the harvest. Always beg for knowledge and plead for insight. Ask God to direct your plans and you will be successful in carrying them.

THANK YOU!
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Prince Ayerakwa
Prince Ayerakwa, © 2017

This author has authored 21 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: AyerakwaPrince

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