Many Nigerian youths are not studying exactly what they want. After sitting at home for years without getting admission to their school of choice or to study their course of choice, they eventually settle for any course they are offered.
In Nigeria, it is very common to see students who have applied for a Computer Science course studying Food and Nutrition, or those who wanted Geology settling for Maths and Statistics after waiting for so many years to get into the university. For many of them, all they want to do is to become graduates in a society that belittles people who don’t attend the tertiary institution.
It is no wonder then that a lot of Nigerian graduates are confused as to what to do with their lives after graduating from the university and holding a certificate they are not interested in. Aside from that, in the process of spending 7 years in school for a 4-year course, many young people have lost touch with their dreams and it has suddenly become invalid. A lot of youths then begin to pursue so many things just in case one will eventually click and they become a jack of all trades with nothing to show for it.
This doesn’t have to be your story. We know Nigeria happens to us all and many times, life does not dance to the beats of our dreams and imaginations. But you can still pursue the career of your choice even after getting a certificate you don’t want.
Go back to school
If you are financially okay, you can go back to school to study exactly what you want. Sometimes, the career of your choice requires formal education. For instance, if your dream is to be a lawyer, you have no choice but to study law in school, go to law school and pass your Bar examination. So let’s assume your choice of degree was not available to you then, you have to go back to school to study exactly what you want now.
Have a mentor in your career field
Some career choices do not require any certificate from a tertiary institution. What you need the most is your talent, brain and the ability to quickly adapt and adjust to the work system. So let’s say your dream career is to be a writer, artist or a television presenter, what you need first is the talent of writing, painting or presenting. Some of these things are purely talents and may not be learned so easily. So you have to be sure that you can do this and you really want to do this.
Next, have someone who can guide and put you through. The role of a mentor is not just to teach and guide you, a mentor will also pave the way for you to worm your way through by introducing you to people who need your services and may decide to give you a chance to prove yourself. A good mentor provides you with a strong network of people. This will make it easier for your career to soar.
Read more, research more
Pursuing the career of your dreams when your first choice of degree is not available to you is not the easiest thing to do. Because you don’t have the backings of a tertiary institution or any ‘formal education’, you have to do a lot of research on your own. This means that you will be buried in books that are related to what you want. This will help widen your scope and give you fresh insights into what you want to do and how to go about it.
Join/form a community
There are a million and one people in your shoes right now and all you need to do is find them. If there’s already a community that you can be a part of, then by all means join. If there is none, why not put it up on social media that you will be establishing a community of people with certain talent or certain career interest. You will be surprised at the number of people who will join you. The general idea is to motivate one another, brainstorm on how to move forward in your chosen field, alert others of opportunities in that field, pull each other up and climb the career ladder together. It is also a way of building a strong connection of people.
If you are in the tech or literary space, boost your career by putting in for competitions, grants, fellowships and so on. To pursue the career of your choice, you need money. Winning competitions is an amazing way of making cool cash. Even if you don’t win, putting in for competitions regularly will boost your confidence in your craft. After all, you can only get better, right?
In-between all these, don’t forget to take online courses to get you that feel of formal education and attend events for better exposure. Also, learn to take things slow. Don’t be scared that the unavailability of your first career choice is the end of what you truly want and don’t be so eager to blow in your career of choice. Take it one step at a time. Slow and steady wins the race.