If there is anything I’ve learned over the years, it’s the fact that I am my own raw material. – Ima Obiefuna
No doubt I am one of the luckiest being on earth the day I was admitted to study Agricultural & Bioresources Engineering at the prestigious University of Nigeria, Nsukka. Like for most people, I grew up from a home where education is not simply overrated but also the only thing my parents called duty. If you are not always with a book to your face, you are wrong.
The irony of the background is that I became educationally inclined to such an extent that I was physically not as strong as my counterparts at the village were. Yes. I went to the village after my father had retired and insisted on residing (full time) at the village. A place he called home. As a kid, I had no choice than to start JSS1 in a government school.
Like play, like play, secondary school came and went. I wrote SSCE and JAMB and was admitted into the university.
Coming from a home where I know nothing about real life, only but studies, I continued with my journey. The journey of read your books always. At first, it was a fascinating experience but the long list of schedules; classes to attend, tests to write, assignments to submit, meeting up with deadlines and examinations to pass, soon became tiresome and boring. I want to be free from all these, I yearned.
The truth is that we all pray for the day to come when we won’t have any more exams to write, coursework to do and assignments to submit. However, the conventional happenstance is that when that moment actually comes, we simply will not know what to do anymore.
This is so because we have gotten used to the ‘School Life’, which is seemingly independent but commands no responsibility such as we are to be facing after graduation.
As you are done with schooling (which NYSC is part of), chances are, you will be moving back home and looking for a full-time job; or apply for a graduate study or a bit of both. Certainly, you will miss your friends, your freedom and probably your sense of direction. In fact, you may feel lost – even though you do not have to.
[bctt tweet=”There is no guide for survival in Real Life, no recipe for a successful future or a happily ever after — Vyara Panchera” username=”opendiari”]
What the above assertion by Vyara means is that all you will become from now on are dependent on your confidence as well as your attitude. I do not intend making you develop goose bumps, I am just being frank with you.
However, there are some things you can do to make the transition from ‘School Life’ to ‘Real Life’ easier and smoother; so fear not! This time around, you can read some useful guidance on how to adapt to life after graduation:
The Truths You Need To Know
- Have you ever asked yourself this question: ‘about a million people that graduate from the higher institutions each year, where on earth do they all go?’ This is why I can tell you that the white-collar jobs you may be hoping to land after graduation are not truly out there. But never mind; entrepreneurship can actually help you to construct a fulfilling life.
- Be confident enough to accept that your dream career might not be as you had hoped, and so always devise a new plan in accordance with the situation at your disposal.
- Do not be too rigid about your job hunt. Understand that whatever you choose to do at this level does not have to be what you do forever. You can always go back to school or change a career path – many people do that.
- What you studied in school does not matter. Just because you have completed a law degree does not mean you must practice law. You may be interested in business analysis or politics. What is important is for you to work out what career interests you.
- Choosing a course based on anything else – such as what other people want you to study, or what you think will earn the most money – is not a good idea.
The Things You Need To Do
Whether you were able to plan your career before or after graduation, one thing is obvious – it is never too late to plan and set goals for yourself. You can do that right away. Meanwhile, the following are the tips that will help make your transition attractive and self-assured:
- Put Your Skills On Paper: As you graduate, if the next in line of your action is to land a job, compose a well-informed and irresistible resume that will make you stand out from the crowd. At this stage, your degree is your main asset, and any additional experience you may have is a bonus. But if you haven’t gotten any, showcase any volunteer work, achievements and extra-curricular activities that will depict your work ethic, initiative, potential and versatility. Then, garnish it with a specified cover letter.
- Leave A Good First Impression: If you eventually get yourself a job interview, do not forget to leave a lasting good impression. It matters a lot. Dress appropriately for the role. Be prepared to think outside the box. For your information, today’s employers are shifting from the conventional interview questions; so do not be lost for words when asked; ‘if you were an animal, what would you be?’
- Be Willing To Take Up A Lowly Job: You must be willing to do sheepish work. By doing the entry-level jobs, you are building skills necessary to move up. Myself, I started my career in a pharmacy shop as an account officer before moving on. Have it in mind that your starting point is never a static point – you can always change.
- Find An Internship Or A Graduate Programme: If it turns out that your applications are being rejected, do not get jittery. It may be that you have not gotten enough experience. Apply for internships and graduate trainee openings even if you are not going to be paid. While these do not guarantee a job, they offer on-the-job experience and place you ahead if a position becomes available within the company.
- Spread Your Tentacle: As I said earlier, do not let the increasing number of rejections deflate your confidence of getting a job. Just be proactive, positive and ambitious. Search out jobs through newspapers, job search sites, social media sites, and from recruitment agents. Keep in touch with your course mates. You can as well attend alumni events. This will give you the opportunity to share your experiences, exchange advices and discuss ideas. Just keep an open mind about your job hunt.
In conclusion, do not compare yourself to your course mates or anyone else. It is a waste of time. Just because your housemate has secured his/her ideal job does not mean that you are a failure by contrast.
On a final note, try as much as you can to do things your own way. Do not depend on anyone. If there is anything I’ve learned over the years, it’s the fact that I am my own raw material. No wonder some people end up better as entrepreneurs.
Life after graduation has not been easy. Still, I know I have to sail. I just have to. How were you able to sail through this new life – graduation?
Source: Udorji Ima Obiefuna “The Paradox of School Life And Life After School” The Guiding Light magazine, National Association of Umerum Undergraduates, 2015.