Whether you are still in high school, an undergraduate, or any other level of learning, you need to always remind yourself that having access to formal education is not a guarantee to your financial security, fame and success in life. In this era now, parents need not advice their children to just go to school, get good grades and be sure of a high paying job is guaranteed. The reality is that this belief and strategy of surviving in the real world is now outdated. Graduates who see the acquisition of a degree as a means of surviving in the real world only get outside there to find out that they were not ready for life at all.
Now, for you to survive in 21st century world as a Nigerian graduate even before and after your service year, you must equip yourself with the necessary things so you don’t get thrown along the way. Some of these things that would help you in this digital age include:
1. Skills: One thing you are going to need after school and even for the rest of your life is money, which is why you see people in their old age still doing one thing or the other to earn money. The thing you should have in mind is that once you become a graduate, your parent, guardian or sponsor will gradually stop supporting you financially. They will assume you now have all it takes to survive and this will mean you will have to start solving your financial problems with your own earning ability. You will be expected to look for a job with your certificate; and most often you will likely be underemployed, meaning you will not be paid what you or your certificate is worth. The consequence of this is that you may end up not having enough financial resources to actualize your goals. Solving your financial problem may become difficult, and the need for more money will rise because you will start thinking of getting a place for yourself, starting a business/career, getting married, going for master’s program and so on. As this happens, psychological problems such as frustration, depression, low self-esteem may set in. To survive or avoid this you need a skill. Nowadays, people no longer pay you for just your certificate; they pay you for what you can do on your own. It mustn’t even be a skill related to your certificate. It could just be a skill that sells very well in any business or company.
The point is that you must have a skill that can pay your bills whether working for someone or yourself, especially before your NYSC. If you do not have one yet, enroll in a training center and start learning something. There are so many things you can learn even within a short time. You can even learn some while doing other things. Just don’t look down on any skill, just consider your interest and what you love doing, and then acquire a skill in that area. When you do this, you can easily become your own boss after school or even before you graduate. If you are already a graduate now, go learn something now as it is not late.
2. Information: The 21st century world is information driven, and you need to always update yourself with the latest information in the areas that are critical to your survival. If you must meet up with the latest trend, you have to develop the habit if continuous learning, you must be an ardent reader and an unrelenting information seeker. Try as much as possible to know everything you need to know that will help you to maximize your potentials. When you acquire the information, move to the application of the information you have obtained. Having information without using it is quite meaningless. Strive as much as possible to know all that you need to know about moving to your next level and take action at the right time.
3. Gut: The truth is that life is not always fair for anybody, and you may just have your own share of life’s difficulty in your quest for success. So if you must succeed in the real world today, gut is a necessary factor so you do not lack the courage to take action when things are not favorable. Yeah, you may be very intelligent while in school and be topping the class, but after graduation you will likely discover that so many of your classmates who were not as intelligent as you were back in school are probably getting ahead! The reason is simply because they have the gut to try their ideas and that’s what is getting them going.
To develop this quality, all you have to do is to cure yourself of every known fear; especially fear of criticism and failure. If you can get rid of these fears, you are going to have enough gut to try anything. Action is what produces result and your gut would allow you to try all you need to succeed.
4. Hard Work: Hard work has always been a critical tool of success. For you to survive and excel in the real world, you need an unwavering ability to take action, and persevere until you succeed.
Most persons fail in life due to idleness. No matter how knowledgeable, gifted and talented you are, if you refuse to be hard-working, you may not go as far as you wish. Never forget to always blend your hard work with strategic planning and persistence. Hard work combined in this manner will produce success.
5. Smart Work: It won’t be nice to mention hard work and not talk about smart work. In the world today, there are some people who work as hard as they can and even wear themselves out but still remain where they are. The truth is, one simple smart move would have saved them a lot of stress and still allow them hit success in no time. To make it now, you to work hard and also smart. In situations where you know your strength won’t work, use your head and vice versa. The world is moving fast and if you only rely on your strength instead of your brain and strength, you may be left behind. Things are changing and you need to be sure you are not stressing yourself over something that would definitely not work. Be smart!
6. Networking: Networking has to do with your ability to connect with people that will help you in getting to your next level. The caliber of people you know and people who know you has a way of facilitating your success in life. As the world is today, the people we know to be the best in certain field are not actually the best. There are so many people who would have out-shined them if they are brought out of obscurity, but because they are not known by those who can position them to receive the honour they are worthy of, they remain where they are. If we must fully maximize our potential and remain relevant, our ability to network and connect with people who can help us get to our next level is critical. To grow your network, attend meetings, workshops, conferences, social events high profile gatherings etc. Strike meaningful conversation in buses, queues etc. use social media wisely and before you know it, you are getting people interested in you, knowing people, and sharing/gaining knowledge. You never know who would just open a door for you and favours would fly in endlessly so do not look down on anyone.
With these, I bet you are sure of how you can survive in the real world as a Nigerian graduate. What do you think?