Hey Fresh Graduate,
It’s a year already. One whole year after graduating university. And it’s nothing like I thought it would be. I thought I would be living the ideal post-graduate life but right now, it’s the exact opposite. What a shocker!
I’m supposed to be doing my masters in jand right now with oyinbo friends and posting cute pictures of me with clear skin. After all, the ultimate skin care routine is iPhone X or Google pixel+ abroad weather. You wonder what the exact opposite of that is? Well, let me explain.
Right now, I’m standing under the sun on a queue at Ikeja Local Government in NIGERIA. I can feel the sun burning my skin and calling upon breakouts and hyper pigmentation. I don’t think this guy in front of me has washed his khaki since we’ve been given but I have to smile and make conversation with him because he’s my plug to finish my monthly clearance on time. What clearance you ask? Ohh its NYSC clearance. Yeah. I’m hustling for clearance while my friends are on the Whatsapp group asking when they will pay us allowee for the previous clearance we did.
So not only am I not abroad, my skin is breaking out, my friends are not oyinbo in any way lol and I’m typing this on a Tecno phone. I really thought I’d have everything figured out exactly as I planned. I thought it’ll be just one straight direct path with loads of money in my account and me living the dream. What went wrong?
What went wrong? I asked myself this for so long before I realized the answer. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Maybe things did not go exactly as planned. But they definitely did not go wrong. I think when you leave school, you just expect so much out of life that when it doesn’t happen, you start to feel like a failure.
Things are actually not as bad as my inner critic makes them sound. Most of my post graduate plans are on track (maybe not as fast as I thought). I’m doing what I love and I’m making the best out of life. I just want you to know despite all of these that it will be a bumpy ride.
A lot of things would change and as a result, you as a person might change too. Change is a good thing. Provided it is positive change. I’ll be sharing a few things I have observed and that I have learnt on this one -year change journey. I’m still learning a lot too but I hope they help you in making the best decisions in the years to come.
- Have a plan. Life is always better with a plan.
It’s important…very important to plan. Your plans might not end up being exactly what happens but imagine how bad it’ll be if you don’t even have a plan at all.
- Don’t rush yourself
Despite what you think, you’ll probably still remain in your father’s house for a bit no matter how much you start making immediately. You may not get a car immediately. You may not “blow” immediately. Your account balance may not be what you have in mind right now. Don’t rush yourself. Don’t give into pressure from seeing other people make it faster than you. Remember we all have different ideas of success but the ultimate one is fulfilling YOUR own purpose.
- You are prepared but never really prepared
Yeah. That doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense but I don’t know how else to say it. Life would throw things at you, things that you never expected, things that you never really prepared for. Don’t ever sit and think oh no I’m not prepared for this. You are prepared. You’ve been preparing for this moment all along. It’s time to use everything that you’ve learnt to make the best of the situation.
- Pay attention to yourself.
In school, you probably had friends, or at least roommates or course mates who were looking out for you or would at least notice if something was off with you or stop you when you’re going too far. You’re in the outside world now. Everyone is looking out for themselves. You have to pay attention to yourself. In school, you could starve yourself of sleep for 2 weeks reading for exams and then rejuvenate after exams. There is no rejuvenation time anymore. Don’t overwork yourself to the point of fatigue. Pay attention to your health. Eat properly. Exercise if you have the chance. Just stay healthy. Sometimes, you’ll need to take time for yourself. Do it.
- Consciously stay close to God
It’s easy to just let your relationship with God slip. Back in school, you could pray for hours non-stop with no distraction on your mind. Now, you’d probably be using up more of your hours in Lagos traffic than praying. My school particularly created an enabling environment for my relationship with God (Shout out to Covenant University lol) but you get out here and realize it’s all different. Now, you have to really want it by yourself and put it in the effort, surrounding yourself with people that can aid your growth and you can be accountable to.
- Keeping in touch/ relationship requires effort
Recently, I had to make a list of people and condition myself to reach out to these people at least once a week or two weeks. When I say relationships, I mean friendship, dating, whatever. If you value any relationship then you have to make the effort to keep it because life happens. You get swamped and forget to reach out. The other person gets swamped too and forgets and y’all just drift apart. Keep in touch with your people. Be ready for the extra effort required and make it work.
- Many things are hard without connect. Build/keep your network
I won’t lie to you. You need connect outchea. You need it for literally everything. The networks you built during school would be one of your most valuable assets now that you are out. Don’t misuse it. Don’t cut it off. Keep building and growing it. You need your connect!
- You may not enter your exact career or dream job or dream salary straight up.
Like I said, don’t rush yourself. You may have to go through other unplanned things before you get to your destination. Don’t freak out. It’s okay.
- Be conscious
Life outside school is very very different. You have to be more conscious about those your roll with. In school, it’s easier to spot people that have the same values and path as you do. It’s a different ball game out here. Be more careful and conscious so you don’t get mixed up with the wrong things. Be conscious of the energy you allow into your space
SometimesMany times you won’t feel like you have it together.
And that’s okay. It’s a feeling. Keep implementing your plans and working toward your goals.
- Don’t stop learning
Yes, you’re done with school but please do not be done with learning. You have to keep at it if you want to stay relevant.
- You might face rejection a lot
Read post on Will The Rejection Ever End? for how to handle it.
- Most importantly, love yourself and your life.
Things would happen to bring you down. Remember why you are here in the first place. Give no room for depression. Love your life and appreciate it as much as you can.
Alrighttt. That’s most of what I got for now. If you’re a graduate, share your own lessons so far with me in the comments section. Ciao.
Ohh and before I forget,
Your tiny eyed storyteller.
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