It is not uncommon to find the phrase, 'School na scam' resting on the lips of millenials. This slang which is a deep and sad reflection of the disbelief in the Nigerian educational system, thrives among students in tertiary institutions.   


The demography bonding over this slang usually consists of students with academic difficulty or low G.PAs. Unemployed graduates are not left out.


Annually, the labour market witnesses an upsurge of labour supply with a large percentage of the Nation's youth floating in as graduates. However, only less than quarter of these youths get employed while  others hang on the thread of unemployment. This vicious cycle leaves many wallowing in frustration.


 Do these unemployed graduates all convocate with low grades? Certainly not. Most are bearers of either first class or second class upper tags.


If grades are not the problem, why then is unemployment still a moonlight tale among vibrant graduates? It is this dilemma consecutive paragraphs of this essay seeks to dissect. 


There are many reasons why intellectually capable graduates remain unemployed and continue  the cycle of blaming the government and school they attended. One of such reasons is their failure to gain work experience and internship trainings.


HR personnels in  Multinationals, Government Parastatals or  Private Organizations while recruiting are always on the look out for work experience. Often times, graduates loathe this requirement and question the possibility especially as a fresh graduate. 


 Nigerian Higher Institutions are programmed to create intervals before the next session.  As an undergraduate, this interval is your jackpot to gain experience.  This is done by taking advantage of jobs/opportunities in the path you seek to build a career on.


For instance, a Pharmacy student can work as a sales personnel in a pharmaceutical store. It doesn't matter if it is unpaid. The knowledge you gain gives you an edge in class and also grants you work experience.


Another method is through volunteering. Many students do not realize how gold mine volunteering for NGOs can be. You  learn a lot while volunteering for an NGO whether educational, religious or societal fighting a good and genuine cause.

 In volunteering, you acquire soft skills recruiters seek in applicants. These skills range from communication, team work, project management skills and many more. Attending seminars, workshops and orientations related to your career path is also key and should not be undermined.


Taking online courses is another route to navigate when in the process of harnessing your skills.  It is pertinent for every undergraduate to realise that your course of study is not a limitation to your dream Job. Do not quiver  when you hear the myth that employment opportunities available for your course of study are not feasible. There is no course of study that is impractical. 


I know a sociology graduate from a state University in Nigeria who works in the HR department of a Multinational FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods). He realized he had interest in HRM and  decided to take online courses to make him suitable for the job.


Networking is another factor you must consider. When people hear networking,  their first instinct is advertising a business or product. However, networking is a simple intricacy beyond that. As an individual, you are a brand and can be connected to networks in your field. For instance, an aspiring surgeon in medical school can scour for surgeons already transcending and create a relationship with them. 


Having such caliber of people  around you will sharpen your chances to become better and expose you to connections that set you above your peers while job hunting. One of the mediums to solidify your networking is LinkedIn.


Your talent is another important  pivot. It is your unique gift which you develop to make you outstanding. While everyone has a gift, many fail to nurture it and leave it to rot. 


You can choose your career path according to your gift or align your gift with your career path. There is the story of a man who studied Industrial Chemistry but talented in creating exquisite wall designs with paints. He got a job in a paint industrial and chemical company as the Head of Operations Department and  came to an agreement with the company to train a team to join him in offering painting services to their clients. This is a good example of aligning  talent with career.  


On this journey of discovery, it is important to have a goal. Having a goal is simply having a grasp of your desires and planning towards its attainment. Many Undergraduates are oblivious to their future aspirations. There are different opportunities within your course of study; the bane falls on you to decide the type of Organization to affiliate yourself with. 


It is possible to desire to become a Media Personality even as an Economics student. Our aspirations can be intersectional and ultimately, the decision is up to us to think beyond the walls of the classroom.


School is not scam but failure to maximize your opportunities would set you among the populace chanting this myth. Setting your foot on the shores of education is not an atomic  bomb to becoming employable. However, it sets on you on the path of opportunities to unleash your potentials. 


© Precious Greg


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