A letter to mine and yours upon Graduation

How I imagine the road after Graduation, we keep moving despite not knowing where the next turn leads

Dear Class of 2017,

The unemployment story in Nigeria is one that has been told countless times but never gets old. The problem still persists, millions of employable Nigerians still lack jobs. Unemployment is one thing and underemployment is another, recent reports show that over 15 million Nigerians are underemployed.

The problem is real, and affects us more than we can imagine. Take a minute to think about the casual workers with university degrees? Or the people who work in our butteries or in the cafeteria doing one menial job or the other to make ends meet regardless of their qualifications? Remember the security officers whose vast knowledge and diction surprises you because you know that someone of his stature should have a better job? Think of the university graduates who are engaged in yahoo yahoo? Trolling the internet and destroying the image of Nigerians because of lack of employment. That is the Nigerian employment story for you, and yet we have hardly educated Nigerians at the seat of power, but that is a story for another day.

One mistake you’re likely to make is to wrongly believe that being a CU graduate entitles you to a job out there somewhere. It doesn’t, your skill, competence and opportunity are the key factors likely to land you that dream job. Needless to say, being a CU graduate does give you an edge over others, but it is not enough.

Many of us have ideas that we think would change the world, or the startup that we want to establish once we leave school, the world may ask us ‘Why you?’ but we must respond with ‘Why not me?’. The world out there differs significantly from the somewhat utopian environment that CU has afforded us. Being an entrepreneur is not a walk in the park, it is not only about being the boss of yourself because really the customer is boss, it isn’t just about having flexible work hours or being able to work while you play it is much more than that.

There are numerous challenges surrounding entrepreneurship and even more so because we are Nigerian, challenges such as the epileptic power supply, lack of funding, governmental policies that cripple rather than encourage entrepreneurship, corruption, difficulty in finding reliable and trustworthy human resources etc. In truth, the list is endless but we must remind ourselves of the Ibukun Awosika’s, The Kehinde Kamson’s, the Nike Ogunlesi’s, Yewande Zaccheus’, Adebola William’s, Chude Jideonwo’s, Jim Ovia’s and of course our loving chancellor Bishop Oyedepo and others who made it through despite the fact that the odds were stacked against them.

The world out there is beautiful, but sometimes like a beautiful but vicious dog it will bare its ugly teeth at us and make us want to run to waiting to receive our monthly pay check from HR, working on a job we don’t even like. The paradigm shift from ‘Why me?’ to ‘Why not me?’ will leave us feeling vulnerable and afraid of failure but here’s how to make sure we make it out alive and victorious.

1. Be courageous; Maya Angelou once said ‘Courage is really the singular most important thing’ because without courage soon we’ll be compromising on what we believe in. Don’t be afraid to fail. Fear is inevitable but we must remind ourselves that FEAR is False Evidence Appearing Real. The thing that we fear the most does not exist.

2. Find your niche; Find what it is you’re good at, don’t be afraid to explore your options. When the world hands you lemons, make your own style of lemonade. Let there be something that differentiates you from others, find it, do it and do it well.

3. Follow your passion: Many of the great entrepreneurs we look up to today are passionate people, refusing to quench the fire that burns within them, refusing to compromise. Whatever you’re passionate about, follow it steadfastly, one day the world will stop and listen.

4. Your family and friends love you, but don’t always listen to them; Reviewing stories of entrepreneurs who are successful today, the theme of discouragement from loved ones is common to most. The advice they give, is often with good intentions. Advice is good, but not all advice is good advice. Sometimes it’s just because they can’t see things the same way you do. Sieve what goes into your heart.

5. Give it your best, your very best; Never stop learning, what you learned yesterday may be obsolete today. Be hungry for knowledge it’s the only way to stay ahead. Hard work pays, and smart work too!

6. Finally, take God seriously; This is the most important factor, our being in Covenant University has afforded us to be in a spiritual environment. Don’t even try to go on this journey without God, it won’t end well. Go where the Spirit leads, your breakthrough is just on the other side.

Covenant University has given us the opportunity of quality education that many others do not have, it is a gift, take it and use it well.

At the end of the day, God will ask us ‘Good and Faithful servant what have you done with the talents I gave you?’

Here’s an opportunity to make sure your answer is a good one!

Finally, whenever you find an opportunity to do good, do good.

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