Written By Kobina Ansah - Hello. It’s me. I hope you are enjoying all the fun and excitement that comes with being in a tertiary institution; the freedom; the variety of friends to make, just name them. I know exactly how it feels like. We all do. We all have been there before.
Skipping lectures seemed fun. After all, tuition fees were not from our pockets. Back in the day, using as many gadgets as we could seemed like a trend. Besides, we had no idea how our utility bills were paid. All we wanted to do was to just pass our exams (obviously with a first class) and work right after national service in a topnotch company with an unusually fat salary.
Then… reality set in. Life after university. I guess no one told us that our wishes back then were fanciful. Frankly, a few may have had such wishes coming to pass. However, for the masses, they were just wishful thoughts. The uncomfortable truth no one told us was that… the government didn’t owe us a job after school, especially in this part of our world.
Listen. When you are fortunate to have a profitable job (not all jobs are at the end of the month), go to church and thank God profusely with a juicy offertory. Well… many others join the queue of unemployed graduates who, like reserved footballers, pray for someone’s exit either by death or retirement. They join the tall queue of job-hunting graduates who may spend, at least, their first two or three years in ‘retirement’ before a job fortunately finds them.
And… this is when others will sit in the comfort of their homes and advise comfortably, “Why are today’s graduates so lazy? If you can’t find a job, create one!” Little do they (who ironically haven’t created any job on their own) know that no job was ever created with an empty bank account!
Take this from me. First, save. Secondly, save. Thirdly, save. Yes, save! No bank owes you a loan to begin your dreams. Spend less on wants, more on needs. Spend less on parties and hair-dos, more on books and skills. Spend less on looking like a bride every day. Spend more on giving your brain a new look each day. Forget the politician. You are responsible for your future!
Don’t repeat the errors of others. Prepare for your exams but prepare even better for life. Your exam results should not define your life’s results. Life’s exams are not multiple choice questions. They are not the ‘chew-pour-pass-forget’ shade of questions. You can’t answer them by rote. Life’s exams are passed by experience. You go through a gradual process. You make gradual progress. And… you become a gradual success! Pass your school’s exams but don’t fail life’s.
Prepare for life’s exams by thinking outside the box. Be open-minded. Read wide. Think wide. Be extraordinarily unique. Stand out. Know who you are and who you are not. Everyone can pass an exam in class. Being extraordinary depends on the skills you learn outside the classroom. Standing out will revolve around what you are doing on your own to build your self-capacity.
Attend capacity building seminars. Maximize your talents. Explore yourself. Volunteer in and out of school. Learn a few skills out of the classroom. Leave school as a well-baked graduate… not a poorly toasted one who only went to school to mind their own business. Mind you, the world is run by people who have decided not to mind their own business! If all you leave school with is a paper called a certificate, I wonder how you can fit in a world which has problems certificates can’t solve.
Also, learn how to sell as much as you can. You know why? We live in a world where sellers rule buyers. The rich are almost always selling. The poor are almost always buying. The earlier you learnt some marketing skills, the better. You need to sell your talents! Every career is a selling one.
The medical doctor sells his skill just like the banker. Like the carpenter, the architect is selling their skill. He who sells best wins. Learn how to sell and sell well! Your skills and talents may sadly sit inside of you till you find your way into a grave until you devise a means to sell them. Always remember… sellers rule. Buyers are ruled.
Dear Mr. and Ms. University student. I know you are often too busy to make good friends or even show a kind gesture or two to those around you; your room mates, course mates, friends in your hall or department, name them. However, don’t be too surprised to see the same people you are ignoring today sit in places of authority tomorrow. We call it network. Take advantage of it!
Share your plate of rice with that roommate. That kind gesture may open a door wealth can never buy someday. Be nice to that course mate. Who knows? She may be the one to introduce you to your yet-to-be spouse someday. Be sure to have made a good network of friends before you leave school.
Last but not least, spend your time well. Start something on your own, no matter how small it may look. It may be door-to-door delivery of snacks or even stationery. Create a product or service. How you spend your time after lectures tells a lot about how you may spend your time when you have no job.
The writer is a playwright and Chief Scribe of Scribe Communications, a writing company in Accra. Like his Facebook page, Kobina Ansah, for more motivation.