“A large part of what is perceived as wisdom, is simply the ability to think in the forward – the ability to weigh an intended course of action for its possible future value”. John Obidi.

Dear student, I hope this meets you well and I advise that you take your seat and read this piece like your life depends on it because a greater part of it really does.

It has never been this tough but that is not the challenge, the real challenge is that it promises to be tougher, more tough than ever. The state of what becomes of us after graduation should be a course we all sit to discuss, iron out issues and produce the best possible ways through which we can use to marry what lies ahead of us in the outer world and the Labour market.

Long before now, employability and entrepreneurship I can say was a walk in the park compared to what we have today, and the real battle has never surfaced. What do I mean? A large number of the courses we study today in our tertiary institutions are not meant for this century because we have little or no application of them in today’s conventional world. They are meant for the yester- centuries which means that we are actually studying for the past and not the present, talk more of the future.

Even though there is little or no effort we can make to that effect, we can strive to become the kind of students this generation and that of the next need. We need to inculcate versatility, dynamism and steadfastness  into our system as a matter of urgency.

The game has totally shifted from how it used to be and now, organisations, institutions and companies are not just interested in your paper certification alone, they want more. Almost all employment opportunities now require that a candidate is proficient in the use of Microsoft excel. This is just a preamble though.

Now, companies are more concerned with their core values and they want to uphold their standards at all costs so as to grow their mission and vision, they want integrity, hard work, good attitude, Proficiency in all forms of communication mechanism (writing, speaking, listening and reading), critical thinking, decision making, problem solving acumen, leadership qualities and managerial skills, team work spirit, ability to work under pressure with little or no supervision, and many other extracurricular skills in a candidate. Even entrepreneurship requires more of these.

The question is, how many of these has school taught us? Just pause and think.

Now that we know what lies ahead of us and what is at stake, Why don’t you think it’s necessary that we start keying into this idealogy. We have two semesters in a year, for each semester, why can’t we take any of the above criteria and skills which parade to be prerequisites in getting good employment and master the art, the craft, the science and the business of each. Let’s talk about Microsoft excel for instance, you can learn and reach the advanced if not professional level within two months. And that is just a beautiful milestone, it will position you better for employability. The same can be done for other skills too and soon you’d become a champion for any company or organisation’s pick.

I know it is hard, academics is taking toll on us and we also want to flex, we want to dance on the banana peel of youth, yes, it is understandable, but it is better and safer to pay now so as to play later than the reverse.

Sometimes, it occurs as a dismay to me that students of a renowned university, polytechnic or college of education can’t construct a proper message via email, a lot don’t even know how to attach document to send a message via email. This is 21st century for crying out loud! We have YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and Google app at our disposal, but we’d rather spend time engaging this apps in the frivolous ways than the ways with which they could be beneficial. We’re so obsessed about following other people’s brand on Instagram and catching fun while doing so than actually creating our own brands.

 If I may ask, who will write your own story for you  when you spend all time and resources helping someone else to cross (-) the T’s and dot (.) the I’s  in their story leaving your own to chance?

So many “how to” videos on YouTube, yet we don’t know how to do a lot of things.

Just few days ago, an old man of age 89 was invited as a guest speaker here in the federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta, the whole audience was marvelled at his presentation, he kept dishing out histories with facts and figures dated back as far as 30 years ago in the area which he was invited to speak on. If a man of his age could be able to sweep the audience off their feet with such intellectual acumen and presentation methodology without him having technology or media to aid him while he was studying or working. What can we say of us with every gadgets, with the direct access to every piece of information loaded on the Internet? We are rather swimming in the pool of triviality.

Where do we go from here?

I found it heartbreaking when in the spirit of laziness, I see students type (ur, 4, d) instead of (your, for The), yes, your lecturer may mark it for you correctly , but in the conventional world, it is never condoned, now how do you want to level up when the real challenge comes?

A gross of us are sleeping and snoring, and the few ones that have the foresight and are trying to meet up with expectations among us are tagged as “too serious” or “over ambitious” i hope we don’t bring shame to the next generation of our unborn kids.

I got into a conversation with two different fresh graduates of my school and told them about some websites that they can get scholarship and many other life changing opportunities from, particularly the ones that are specifically made for graduates. I noticed none of them paid attention or listened to details, the mirage of the fact that someone somewhere has promised them employment after their program is boldly written on their face and l couldn’t help but bowed my head in shame. Why do we allow things to happen the way it has always been?

Yes, your father, uncle or godmother might have promised you immediate employment somewhere, what if for the sake of eventualities they later do not get to fulfil that promise? Have you ever thought about where you’d have to start from? Now let’s assume they help you secure the job, congratulations, will they help you do it? I bet no. This is why you need to step up your game because your competition isn’t local, it is global.

This is only a wake up call to all students that we need to begin to redefine what we do, understand what we want and set our priorities right, the future is colourful. Let’s stay woke before tomorrow comes.

© Toheeb Bisiriyu

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