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Young Forever: Too Intelligent to Be An Accountant?

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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

Adejoke was born in Zaria, Kaduna State (which she absolutely has no recollection of) and graduated from the University of Abuja with a BSc in Accounting at Gwagwalada (which she can’t believe she still lives in).She started writing because her life was boring and had no one to talk to, so she thought, why don’t I talk with the whole world?Her blog www.memoirsofagreatlady.com was born after she discovered a passion for writing, and that writing is therapeutic as she now lives a joyful purposeful life.If you visit the blog, its description says, a lifestyle blog created with a purpose to impact and inspire people to live their best life (helping people to have sense) which sums up what she loves to do.When she is not writing, she is baking (she makes the best chocolate cake) or disturbing her sister who she loves to pieces.

8 Comments

  1. Lilz

    May 2, 2017 at 1:42 pm

    My secondary school was so bad they didn’t even have a commercial class. They had 4 science classes and just 1 art class. They merged commercial and art students into one classroom. The only commercial subject was economics nothing like accounting or banking etc. Trust that when I got admission into uni to study accounting, I was completely clueless.
    Thank God for professional exams.

  2. Debbie

    May 2, 2017 at 2:38 pm

    I totally agree with this write-up, I was discussing the same issue with a friend awhile back. I had no business in science class, as a kid I had always wanted to be a lawyer. I loved the profession and I will always defend my friends and strangers from anyone trying to bully them. The day I heard I have to go to Arts class to achieve that I was very sad because of the silly perception I had about dullards been in Art class, I ended up wasting 3years in science class. I gained admission to study Accounting, “as intelligent” as I was, I struggled in my first 2years in college. Today I am an Accountant and love doing what I do but a part of me feel I would have been more fulfilled advocating for people.

  3. demashi

    May 2, 2017 at 3:26 pm

    For a second, I thought I had written this, Wanted to study banking/accounting from young age and my parents really had no objection. Joined the commercial class on Day 1 of Senior Secondary School and 2 days after dropped out cos of the stigma from peers and also the fact that the seemingly less intelligent ones were in this class.

    I go meet the guidance counsellor who adviced me that to solve this quandary, I need to check the subject combo in JAMB for Accounting and see if the I can take them in science class and that solved my problem. So, I become the last recruit into the Sciences (taking Geography and Economics) and ended up as one of their best students. Interesting I found out that half of the students admitted to study Accounting/Business Courses in Uni were science students.

    I think schools should desegregate classes between Science, Arts and Commercial. Students should be allowed to write 10-12 subjects and only select the 9 they desire for WASSCE/SSCE. This way, the stigma between Sciences and Arts is eliminated and students have a timeframe to make their final choices for tertiary education.

  4. Vee

    May 2, 2017 at 6:04 pm

    Funny enough I find the social science and art courses way more better than the sciences (excluding professional courses and medical sciences). One hardly see vacancies for courses like Botany, Zoology

  5. aj

    May 2, 2017 at 9:46 pm

    Nice article! I was in commercial class but most of my friends were in science class and that did not really pressure me into going into science because I did not like chemistry and physics. Even when I came to the U.S I continued with Accounting as my major in high school and college. My mum told me that my dad said I was smart enough for science. I think he is right because I got an A in biology in college.

  6. purplegirl

    May 2, 2017 at 11:43 pm

    When I was in sec school I was in sciences too but far more interested in further maths and economics. I hated commercial studies in junior sec such that I thought maybe I should be an engineer. Moving out of the country for my later part of sec school I fell in love with business studies but it was too late my parents were on the medical trail, lucky for me Medical school is after a pre degree so I ended up with pharmacy. Coming back home my passion for the course died the day I was through with service. Heck what am I saying it died with 1st day of internship. Now I’m married without a job as I moved due to baby being born 1st year of marriage and I couldn’t secure a transfer. And I’m STRUGGLING with what to do next. The prospect of doing masters in a profession I’m not passionate about seems tasking and leaving the profession to do something else feels like a betrayal, most especially since I’m not sure what else I can do.
    I envy kids that know from the get go what it is they want to do. I envy even more kids surrounded by teachers and family that support these kids no matter how odd their dreams are. I think guidance counseling should begin as early as junior secondary school and schools should also learn to appreciate the commercial and arts courses. Maybe more inter school competitions around such courses, not just focus on sciences and maths.

  7. Dammy

    May 3, 2017 at 8:56 am

    I am glad for the shift that is happening..More people are realizing that it isn’t only science students that are intelligent. People should just be allowed to do whatever they want to do tbh.

  8. Yellow sun

    May 4, 2017 at 9:29 am

    This is sooooo true … My secondary school had that nonsense segregation as well…I was in commercial class and we were seen as the second class…guess what…we all mostly tried out GCE in SS 2…science students flunked it…and most of us in commercial and arts passed in flying colours…at the end of the day jamb decides ur course in uni…lol

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