Saturday, 10 February 2018 13:59

Nigerian Students Don't Have to be Unemployed after Graduation from College, this is How

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Names are fictitious but facts are true about real persons.

Stories coming out of Nigeria nowadays concentrate on the high rate of unemployment, particularly among the youth.  Have you ever received a text or email from a relative complaining of hunger and asking for money to pay for a child's education in the university?

Take heart. You are not alone. Many are  being asked to wire some money through the Western Union or those businesses that take your dollars and wire Naira into a Nigerian's bank account, for someone's school fees. You worry that the person you  are paying  the money for might graduate and not have a job.

Like this writer, you've been  sending money  for someone's  education  only to find out later that either the student was not in school  or the money was used for purposes other than school fees.

What do you say to your friend's daughter you has a degree in Food Technology and been unemployed two years in a row? How do you console your nephew who has not been employed after obtaining the BSc degree in mechanical engineering  and not been called for a job interview for dozens of positions he had applied for?

You wonder why college students in Nigeria are often complaining of unemployment after graduating and receiving their diplomas when that shouldn't be the case. Numerous opportunities exist for  graduating students to plan to increase chances of landing a job, if they would listen and follow directions.

Didn't you wash dishes, mop the floor, and clean toilets while you were going to school in America?  And you think your brother's son at Yaba College of Technology or Nnamdi Azikiwe University is too special  and can't do what you did? Perhaps you are part of the problem.

Let's not forget one Nigerian named Dr. Akinkuoye who was mopping the floor at Saint Elizabeth Hospital in Washington DC while attending medical school  and we ignorant, unemployed  Johnny-come-lately Nigerian  students were laughing , hooping, jeering at him.

We were asking: "How can a doctor be mopping dirty floor?" To hoop is to laugh uncontrollably. It is needless to say that Dr. Akinkuoye   is now a board certified cardiologist

Many college-educated Nigerians are unemployed many years after graduation for various reasons. Poor planning is a reason. When asked why they are not employed, reasons they given are interesting. A few say: "there are no jobs to get."

Some will tell you that "there are millions of other people applying for the same position."  A few seeking to get more money from you would say that prospective employers are asking for exorbitant bribes beyond the ability of candidates to pay.

Our latest essay titled "True Nigerians Can Happily Learn To be happy" is closely tied to employment. The purpose of this essay is to discuss effective ways to overcome unemployment after graduation and to minimize its effects on the man or woman who  spent a number of years pursuing a course of study in college only to graduate without a job.

Unemployment is a painful source of stress and unhappiness. An unemployed person tends to worry and to endure  penury, pennilessness, destitution, indigence, neediness, impecuniosity, impoverishment, or lack of money. Satan has plenty of work for idle hands.

That one is unemployed at the moment does not mean one would be unemployed forever.  Difficulties of life are not meant to make us bitter but better for a higher calling. Things will change for the unemployed if we do not grow weary or give up hope.  We must believe that change is on the way. But we need to change certain habits that might be militating against chances of landing employment.

Procrastination has an effect on or works against employment in that we waste the valuable time we could have used preparing for a career.  Procrastination is defined as deferment, postponement, stalling, delay, adjournment, putting off, or failure to take action at the crucial time. Procrastination is a thief of time.

As we waste time, life passes us by and never to be gotten back. And when time passes there's no time to cry over spilled milk.  For example, if you miss a scheduled flight, you might have to wait for another airplane which may arrive the next day or days after.

I know a young Nigerian, a 35-year-old man named Joachin who had known unemployment for years because he wasted his youth at Lagos trying to make fast money. He followed a group of hooligans, ne'er do well, at Lagos motor parks to sell stolen stuffs. He called himself a used car dealer, and was not prepared for any profession.

Joachin had no secondary school education and no technical or business training. He was just there loafing around. To loaf is to loiter, laze, loll, be idle, be unoccupied, or lie around doing nothing useful. He was an eye sore.  Family was ashamed of him.  In American, a popular saying goes  that a mind is a terrible thing to waste, and it is.

Suddenly, age caught up with him and Joachin  (fictitious) had to marry as he is the oldest son in a family that had lost both father and mother. Luckily, Joachin met and married an elementary school teacher. Have things changed for Joachin?

No, he is still unemployed, begging around for money to pay rent for a N250,000 two bedroom flat in a run-down area of Lagos. He quarrels with wife over her teacher's salary. "Give me money for cigarettes. Give me money for a bottle of beer."

Readers should not misconstrue this writer's statement to mean  the writer is insulting  or looking down on Joachin. This is just to drive a point home about the evils of procrastination or postponement. Time waits for no man.

Being unemployed is usually a function of the choices one makes. Therefore, one has to be careful to prepare for a career while there is still time by making wise choices. A Nigerian proverb says that daylight  is the best period to look for a black goat because nighttime blends with the goat's color, making it impossible to catch the animal.

Another proverb says that the dry season is the best time to gather  the firewood one would cook with during the raining season because... Readers can complete this sentence.

Speaking of unemployed college graduates, the point is that we need to need to emphasize is to not wait till after we have graduated from college to begin thinking about employment. Thoughts about employment should begin the first week we enroll in college.

Begin talking with your parents and grown-ups in the family for suggestions, if you do not plan on going to college. Ask questions about family members in various careers. Contact the family members and seek advice. You may serve on apprenticeship programs under someone in the career that interests you. Ask for a mentor.

If you plan to go to college or are in college already, focus on your professors, department heads, research professors, counselors, and university Vice Chancellors. You say: "These people are too busy to talk with a peon like me." No, you're wrong.

You're not a peon (made-up word used to describe a small, unimportant person). You're bargoon (made-up word to refer to an important personality). Go to the professors and persons mentioned in this paragraph and state your case. Say to them you are seeking directions for a career. Be honest, up front.

These people are paid by the government and placed at the university to assist you the student. You are the focus of attraction, the star of the show, the epicenter of the universe, the center of gravity around which everything that constitutes the university revolves.  You are important. The university or college  was established specifically with you in mind. Use the opportunity.

There is a tremendous power in your hand. You must use it wisely.  Get to know these university personnel and let them know you as well. Useful  information to leave with these college officials should  include your full name, area of study, village, parents, phone number, and special skills you possess.

Begin to market yourself on campus. Run for a position in the student government. Contribute ideas in university governance. Do you type well,? Can you write good grammar and do you spell well? Perhaps, you cook well or can sing a song.

Do you have a driver's license and can chauffeur the professor and his family around town?  You can run errands, can't you? While knowing the university official, find out  if he or she has a relative in State government , trading, building construction, or marketing  of imported products.

Use your vacation time or periods the university is out on strikes, to work for the university official or persons he or she recommends. You must avoid gang activities at all costs. Do not be caught associating with gangs who engage in illegal activities such as armed robbery, kidnapping, or murder for hire.  Use time wisely. Study hard in libraries when not working for someone. Make good rades.

I know one Nigerian man named Isaac (fictiious) who obtained the Master of Science in Political Science while following the idea we have outlined here. His professors helped him through the undergraduate program on part-time employment.

They then sent him to a merchant  who was high-up-there in importations from China and England. Isaac used his numerical ability to keep books for the merchant and his persuasive language to collect debts  from people who owed the merchant. After Isaac graduated, the merchant and the university people galvanized, and used their money and man-know-man (influence) to get Isaac into a Commissioner's position. Isaac is a success story.

CONCLUSIONS: Whether you have a job or not after college will depend upon the "homework" you did  in college before graduation rather than the paper-an-pen application process you endure after graduation. Begin now to plan.  Good luck.

Dr. James C. Agazie, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ; jamesagazie.blogspot.com

Written Thursday, 2/8/2018

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James Agazie Ed D

A retired college Professor  with educational backgrounds in law (JD) education (Ed.D, MA) counseling,( MS) and and mathematics.  Write on topics dealing with Nigerian families, marriages, education, and employment.