A few weeks back, I was at my friend’s apartment at Samaru in Zaria, Kaduna State discussing the selective demolition of houses in Graceland, Zaria. Her friend was a victim of the demolition exercise. She talked about how much pain her poor friend had. The friend had visited, lamenting about the state of her family after the demolition.
“Sometimes, thinking about El-Rufai’s action is like being caught between a roaring fire and tsunami water,” she said. “The man sometimes needs to destroy to make changes irrespective of the consequences on poor people like my friend. My friend has gone broke. She can’t even ask her father for handout money, coupled with the wahala of spending on the processing of her sister’s university application.”
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My friend was making an effort to be neutral about the issue, education and the need for survival before my cousin’s call came in. My cousin’s voice was not as excited as it always was. It was croaky.
I asked what the problem was and she said that my uncle and her mom were against her choice to study psychology because they felt that it was useless in Nigeria. They wanted her to sit for UTME again in 2022 since she went on to apply for psychology against their will. We are still in the process of trying to convince her parents.
When my cousin told me about her dreams to study psychology, I was impressed. She reminded me of Zoe who had gone to the U.S to study psychology; Zoe now works there. But who says such dreams cannot be found here in Nigeria? There are job opportunities for psychology graduates in Nigeria of which some are: forensic psychology, military logistics, counselling, lecturing, working in advertising firms, counselling, career advisce, market research and human relations, etc.
Most Nigerians indeed have the mentality that there are worthy and unworthy courses of study at university, thus making the youth believe that some courses will not give them a bright future.
I got discouraged so many times by many people when I told them of my dream to study English Literature. Some went as far as saying they will find a possible way to help me gain admission to study law or some other professional courses via the ‘Long Leg’ process. I refused and now most of these same people are proud of what I am doing with literature.
The truth is, irrespective of what course you choose to study at university, there are so many job opportunities waiting for you. You just have to fire your passion with the right energy.
There are platforms like Hill-Top Creative Arts Foundation that primarily focuses on mentoring young artists for quality productions in the following forms of artistic expression: creative writing; painting; creative arts; reading; drama; songs; photography; spoken word; performance poetry; citizen and leadership; annual workshops for secondary school students (teen authors) to produce anthologies of poetry and short story.
There are others like the annual art exhibition (painting, craft and photography); publishing teen and young authors, annually; The Book Maker (established Nigerian writers come in an audience with teen authors quarterly); Nigerian Festival of Teen Artists (NIFESTEENA); Niger State Photography Contest; and Hadiza Ibrahim Aliyu Schools Festival (HIASFEST) with the fourth edition slated for January 2022. The Hill-Top Creative Arts Foundation has branches all over Nigeria, which helps to build youngsters irrespective of your course of study or even educational level.
Another platform is the Entrepreneurial Action Us (ENACTUS), spread across universities within and outside Nigeria. ENACTUS trains university students to be business minded, build their careers even before graduating irrespective of their courses of study. Universities compete at the national level and the winning school is sent to represent Nigeria in the world cup where universities all over the world emerge to compete.
The weapon is to not allow your dreams get killed no matter the odds. It is not easy, though.
Here are steps to not get your dreams killed:
– Don’t try to get everyone’s approval: The only people you should try to convince about choosing your course of study and career path are your parents as they are the ones who have catered and cared for you and your education. Your goal shouldn’t just be about fulfilling your desire but also making sure you make your parents or guardians see that they will have no regrets in letting you chase your dreams.
– Do not be ashamed of your passion: Be proud of what you want. If you are ashamed of what you love, you will give people the liberty to disrespect you and what you love to do.
– Burn alongside your passion: It is essential that you keep your passion burning and not let it get frozen. When you have a course of study in mind, go for it and do not hesitate no matter how people discourage you.
– Let your mindset be on the positives: When you have the mindset of being the best in whatever you want to go for, whosoever you want to be and wherever you want to go, start working on it and make a difference.
– Tag along with the present time and prepare for the future: When you want to do anything, especially choosing a course of study and trying to see the possibilities with it, tag along with time. It is the 21st century. Be innovative about what you want to do after school and even start working on it, thus planning for your future. So many youngsters are making money already even before they graduate from university. Do not forget to join associations related to your course of study in school.
– Do a lot of research on new things you need to know about your course and career dream: You will always find new things and certainly get new ideas from your reading.
– Network as much as you can with professionals online and offline: You will get to meet people who have made it with the same career you dream of.
– Listen to the negatives they say about your dream course and career and see amends that you can make.
– Always remember that Nigerians will always be Nigerians: One way or the other, they will find a way to criticise you. Be Unique. Be smart about what you want. Be persistent.
Haneefah Abdulrahman wrote from Zaria and can be reached through: email@example.com