15th July 2024

Fresh Graduates’ Conundrum: Idealism Vrs reality!

Transitioning is a very significant phenomenon that can never be ruled out in any sphere of life. Just as a book is made up of different and unique chapters, so is life. The rate at which we succeed or fail in every chapter of life is highly contingent upon the preparedness of the individual as well as the variety and quantum of social support system available to the individual. No one was born to live in an isolated environment – that is why it is imperative for society to groom, orient, train, equip and socialize every person to fit well within and outside the territorial environment of the individual. Since time immemorial, the school has been a very reliable and credible agent of socialization globally.

Grooming students for academic excellence has always been the hallmark of every educational institution in the society. However, when it comes to subscriptions for holistic and universal training and development of the individual, only few universities or tertiary institutions open slots for that. This presupposes that every student should at all cost privately aspire to think and reason beyond the bar to practically tap and utilize all avenues within and outside the territorial scheme of the school setting. Yearning for academic excellence without building your capacity holistically or diversifying your perspectives in global agenda does not augur well for effective integration and fit in the world of industry. This is because, at the end of the day, your academic does not necessarily determine your fitness and universality in the world of industry and creativity. The key variables that will always keep you progressing are your values, skill set, stock of social capital, innovation, abilities and wisdom!

The natural law of sowing and reaping comes into play in every chapter of one’s life. If you really trained your brain and effectively built your social capital whilst you were in school, it’ll automatically determine the range and quantum of opportunities you’re likely to unlock in the near future and vice-versa. The rate at which people are bagging first degree globally has become very common and high. This means that to be able to survive and thrive well in this highly competitive world of industry, you must work assiduously to stand out and be more creative/innovative in all your endeavours.

If you were able to initiate a social venture/business/company whilst in school, that’s a plus for you. It’ll put you on a higher pedestal to become more independent and toe a perfect direction for better standard of living. Practically, if greater percentage of fresh graduates are business owners/universally equipped with contemporary skill set, pressure on the limited industries will lessen. More so, dependency ratio will subside twinklingly.
The multi-billion question is,
Why are our universities more inclined towards pursuance of academic excellence, but woefully fail to holistically build the capacities of students?

Ideally, the ultimate goal of the university is pursuance of academic excellence. But in reality, this mandate is losing its value in the world of creativity, innovation and industrial competition.
This pertinent issue has hunted our educational system for a very long time, yet no steps have been taken to resolve it. Students graduate annually priding themselves for having obtained the highest class, yet their soft and hard (technical) skills are nothing to write home about.
Do we have to sit aloof, fold our arms and cross our legs for this loophole to drown the future of our human resources?
What then do we do?
Statistically, 65% of children entering primary will end up in jobs or careers that currently do not exist by 2050 (World Economic Forum, 2018). This implies that our attention must me geared towards training and grooming students with skills beyond that 2050 projection. If artificial intelligence is even rising progressively currently, how much more in about 50 years to come. Nanotechnology is on the rise recently, paving room for more and more improvement in our service delivery and satisfaction. What this means is that, now people have trust in machines like robots serving them than humans.

Additionally, the industrial world now needs design thinkers, creators, innovators, social mappers, problem solvers, intrapreneurs, people managers, project managers, time managers and analysts. Social mapping is a very crucial skill every student must possess. It involves cautious assessment and identification of pertinent problems in society, converting those problems into needs, and effectively utilizing opportunities, resources and assets within or outside one’s environment to resolve them; either for-profit-making or not-for-profit-making – to enhance the well-being of people in the society. If every university allocates just a year to train its students in this area, the world’s problems will soon come to a halt, and it’ll also pave way for people to become more economically independent and self-reliant.
I challenge all university authorities to look deeply into this recommendation and take appropriate implementation actions to bring it into reality!

More graduates chasing very limited jobs? That is a very troubling and heartbreaking news for the youthful population! If people who have not even attained a degree are doing exceptionally well in the world of industry, but graduates are struggling day in and day out in industrial competition, then what impact did the four-year period have on us? Graduates should rather have the world’s trending skill set to shake the globe and make it a better place for living. Dramatically, we are rather causing more harm. Most graduates have become liabilities to themselves, families, communities, nations and the world at large; neither are they self-empowered nor can they effectively apply the knowledge acquired for societal benefit.

Immediately after graduation, the bell of the National Service Scheme rings for postings and mandatory service to the nation. There you see people rushing for special postings to their preferred and highly prestigious organization, hoping for retention after the service period. Most people would like to be posted to the private sector because, the likelihood of getting employment immediately after service is very high as compared to the public institutions, which are already choked. One key and fundamental thing most fresh graduates fail to do is self-evaluation/personal appraisal exercise. A self-reflective exercise must be done to determine one’s conformity to or deviation from set standards, goals or objectives. Advisably and prudently, before you enter into the school setting, you must have a plan – a development scheme that will direct your path and keep you on course. Without this plan, you’ve already failed in advance! Your evaluation exercise can incorporate your networking capacity, relationship issues, academics, health, savings and investments, spiritual life, new skills/knowledge acquired, the content of your Résumé, among others.

Another mistake we sometimes make is that we swallow things hook, line and sinker. For you to progress in life, you must have love and passion for what you do. Happiness is found in progress and progress is found in a purposeful, action-oriented, and well-planned life.

Even though the national service period can grant you industrial opportunities, you must cautiously align your goal with the field of industry. Else, your effort will drown deeply in the ocean! You mustn’t allow money to drain your dream; keep it always focused and move with it whether you go. Never allow anyone to buy your goal/purpose/dream in life; they’re your strength and compass.
If you had a development plan before graduating, such plan will determine your next level of action after your national service period. For instance, someone’s plan can be marriage and building of family, further studies/career development, setting up and sustenance of business, searching for employment opportunities immediately after service, among others. Mentors, parents, friends, lecturers, your significant order and generalized order can give you directions, but in no circumstance should you allow anyone to decide for you, because you’re your own architect.

Contemporarily, networking has become one of the most imperative assets globally. However, it presents pros and cons in varied ways which usually determines one’s net worth. As a fresh graduate, strive to always build and sustain a transparent network, because it’ll grant you an outstanding net value in the long-run.

Finally, you can turn your worst condition in life into your greatest asset ever, if only you consistently believe in yourself and God. No one was born to become a liability to the world; everyone is uniquely endowed with the best innate potentials to make a difference. Therefore, you can and you must secure, and utilize every asset within you to make the world a better place for living. Add value to your life every single day because, our Maker has granted us everything we need to make it happen. Time always rewards, respects and values those who fully understand its nature and are able to effectively utilize it!

Author: Theophilus Quaicoe




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