Recently, I walked into my boss’ office while he was having a conversation with a senior colleague. Apparently, the senior colleague had been summoned to her daughter’s school and she was relating to my boss what transpired at the school. Her daughter was in art class and the school felt that the girl was too intelligent to be in art class, so they wanted to force the child to science class. The action was met with a resistance from the child, so they decided to summon her mum.
Before going any further, I can’t begin to imagine the audacity the school has to force any child into any particular course of study. They have no right to do that.
When her mum got to the school, the school also tried to convince the parent that the science class was better for the child. As any sensible parent, this parent was very angry and asked the principal whether art, social sciences and commercial students were dullards.
You guys wouldn’t believe the school was still insisting, and the mum demanded from them whether it was the school that’s sponsoring her child, that they think they should force her into science class. In their presence, she asked her child what course she wanted to study and the girl replied: International Relations; and that was the end of that.
The mum was ver angry while relating this story. Funny enough my boss’ daughter faced the same issue in school. The school pleaded with her to leave art class for sciences in order to “help the school”.
Apparently, the science students they had weren’t doing too well and they felt someone so intelligent would boost the results of the school. The girl bluntly refused, insisting she wanted to study Accounting. The school even sent representatives to my boss’ house to talk and plead with him not to waste the brains of this daughter in art class. Imagine.
My boss told them point blank, that he doesn’t interfere with the career choices of his kids. Whatever they wanted to study in the university, he supports them, and that moreover what a child studies in the university does not determine their future.
These scenarios and experiences aren’t strange to me as it happened to me. When I was in Senior Secondary 1 (high school) I was counseled to do sciences, and this is me, who always wanted to be an accountant. I knew the best bet for me was commercial class, but my school was having none of it.
What made it worse in my case was that my mum wanted me to study medicine at all costs. Even though I refused, I still had to be a science student. She felt that over time I would forget about Accounting and focus on being a doctor.
I hate the smell of drugs, the sight of blood and the smell of hospitals. I just knew I couldn’t become a doctor.
Right from when I was in primary 4, I always wanted to be a banker, I had watched an advert for bankers and I was intrigued. From then on, I made up my mind to be a banker.
In secondary school, I didn’t know a course like Banking & Finance existed so the nearest to it was Accounting. Despite the fact that I was a science student and couldn’t take any commercial subjects, I was serious with Economics. Then science students weren’t forced to take Economics, but I knew I wanted to study Accounting, so I took the subject very serious way more than Chemistry and Physics.
As fate would have it, in my WAEC result, I did better in Economics, than the science subjects. I applied for Accounting at the University and I was granted admission. Do you know that after I had gotten admission, I learnt the school had stopped admitting science students into commercial courses? I can say that must have been the favour of God.
I have noticed with utter dismay the disregard for commercial, social science, and art students. They are treated like that’s the category for dullards.
In my secondary school then, social science students were disrespected even by junior students. Teachers hated them and felt they were wasting their time teaching them. It was a thing of prestige then in my school to be a science student.
This stupid mentality has got to stop. The future and the destiny of a person’s life are not determined by the course he/she did or did not study in school; especially in the Nigeria of today.
My uncle studied English Language at the University and is today the MD of an oil company. A few days ago, my sister learnt that’s what he read and she could not believe it.
I believe when he was studying English then, he may have been looked down on, maybe despised or asked what he was going to use the course for, but today he’s the richest in his family. Sheer hard work, tenacity, determination and the favour of God is what one needs to succeed in life. Gone are the days when only Doctors, Engineers, Pharmacists were the people to be proud of.
My sister (who’s an undergraduate) told me that 70% of students in her set were forced to study medicine, by their parents.
It’s only a parent who doesn’t have foresight that will force a child to study a particular course. When you see doctors who are dispassionate about their jobs, most of them were either forced to study medicine or were “intelligent enough” to study it. When you force someone to do something, their heart would not be in it.
I believe it’s time for Nigeria to have passionate people at workstations.
I believe that parents, guardians and our schools shouldn’t force a child to study a particular course. They should support and guide their wards in choosing a career path.
People should be free to choose whatever they want to study in the university. Sometimes I even feel university education is highly overrated. Someone will study pharmacy at the university and later on become a writer, an accountant; a baker, a lawyer; a full-time blogger. You would be surprised at the numbers of people doing things that are exactly opposite to what they studied in the university.
I would like to end this article by sharing a powerful quote by Katharine Whitehorn, “Find out what you like doing best, and get someone to pay you for doing it”.
Do you have similar experiences to share? What are your thoughts on this issue? Do let us know in the comments section. Thank you for reading.
Photo Credit: Robert Byron | Dreamstime.com