Dear University Graduate,
First of all, can I say congratulations. I mean, you have spent four or five (possibly six/seven years of your life) studying for a degree you might never use. The fact that you enjoyed the process or resented it is a nonfactor. The probability that you will use that degree is slim but congratulations all the same. I am sure your university experience was rewarding.
Now I know you have dreams, aspirations and expectations. I know that somewhere in the Bible it says the “expectations of the righteous will not be cut” (paraphrasing); still there is no need to be hopeful. Things might work out for you immediately you leave school and you might land the job of your dreams and earn the salary of your dreams but there is a high chance it’s just a pipe dream.
You probably schooled abroad even if it was Malaysia or Ukraine or even Ghana. You were taught by the best of the best and “any where is better than Nigeria” abi? Now you are back with big dreams to challenge the status quo and change how things are done. You might succeed but there is a high chance you won’t even get a job that will pay you half of what your tuition was talk less of making a difference.
You probably went to a private university. You were probably taught that the educational system in Nigeria is messed up and that it’s a privilege to even be accepted into the private school. You were taught values and entrepreneurship skills at the expense of your ability to choose but still it’s a great learning ground. Now, you probably think employers are waiting in line to give you the best of jobs. You might be lucky and it can be your story or you probably will just be on a long thing.
You probably went to a Federal or State University or even a Polytechnic. You probably feel you have experience. In your mind, you can handle the Nigerian system. Your school has taught you to be rugged and to take all the bullshit that the Nigerian system will offer. You might be lucky and survive it all but did you go to school and endure the strikes and protests to just survive?
Please I am not trying to crush your dreams. I am a huge dreamer. There is even a chance you have heard all I am saying before. Nigeria has not changed. I mean it feels like things are getting worse. That final year student that was toasting you when you were in 100 level is still unemployed. Your fellowship leader is currently working in a “consulting” firm that pays him N60k with his Masters degree from South Africa.
Now that you are out of school, here are some things you need to know:
- The grass is not green. There is no other side.
- Some employers think they are doing you a favour and they don’t think you deserve a good pay. They are probably bribing some official, paying taxes, buying diesel with their profit to give you a good pay. Or they are probably using the profits to live the life they were deprived as kids. What do I know? I am a bloody employee.
- Many fresh graduates will not earn N150k and above. You have to work in a multi national or some oil and gas company for that to happen.
- Running a startup is not beans. I know you are excited to go forth and launch that great idea but you might not get funding. You are not the only startup with that idea. Even if you get funding, your startup might not survive the Nigerian system. If you are lucky, a foreign investor will come and buy it off you.
- Your first job might not be what you studied in school so take what you get till you find that “dream” job.
- Your dream job probably doesn’t pay well; so you have to decide if you want to eat your passion.
- You will need a side hustle and you will need to learn how to balance it with your N8ok job.
- Your N80k job will suck the life out of you.
- Just be thankful you have a job.
- Patience and hard work is key.
Lupita N’yongo said “Your dreams are valid” and they are but the validation may not come as fast as you might anticipate. I am not trying to depress you but it’s time for you to work your ass off. There is no time to play or chill or just live life as it comes. It is time for you to work. Disappointments will come but you need to be able to dust yourself and try again. That is where patience comes in. Everything you want, need and desire will not come to you in a flash. You have to be patient and with time your hard work will pay off.
Dear University Graduate, your dreams are valid but you have to put in work.