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A University Degree is Just a Stepping Stone; there is more to Becoming Successful: A letter to my fellow fresh graduates

By Muhammad Muawiya Alkali
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Life is all imitation and education, but out of all the stages of life, the simplest and least challenging is school-life. There you'd be taught strategically, be given ample time to assimilate the lessons, be privileged to prior notice of tests and be allowed to consciously take the tests as everyone else on a level playing field. In real life it is not so; learning would be from trial and error; tests are mostly sudden, unanticipated and precipitous; decisions would be whether to take certain risks or not; opportunities are not always the same; accepting our limitations is paramount and tempering our imagination with caution is critical, and the most difficult task is learning to arrange our priorities and passing on the knowledge we have gained in life to the next generation. There would be no written exams, no score sheets, no teacher's remark, no promotion to the next class or repeating the current one. In real life, it’s time that tests us, experience is the result, the score sheet would be the mark we leave on the world, posterity will judge us, and success is based on the ability to leave the world a better place than you found it. Therefore, there is a need to equip yourselves with all the necessary weapons required, for it is a war between you and this cruel world.

Personal development -- another important aspect in life; build competence in your career and acquire personality traits to match your chosen career. Many are competent but lack the personality to be chosen, work towards achieving both. For competence, get the formal skills; degree, MSc, PhD etc.; know the terms, language and register used in your chosen career; take courses and certifications; follow with reading books; get experience in different aspect of your career and lastly share your perception and idea through publications, public speeches and intellectual discourse. For personality traits, however, you need a lot more skills, what you learn in school and work experience are just one aspect of it, that is the hard skills. Here you need the soft skills and these are common sense, social and emotional intelligence, effective communication and leadership skills, time management, teamwork, integrity, sense of responsibility, work ethics, professionalism, positive attitude among others. More also, you need to equip yourself with advanced Microsoft and other computer skills, problem-solving and numeracy skills.

Another important tool is understanding the monetary system; basic knowledge on investment, the stock market, financial discipline and how to handle money. Lastly, be handy, know how to fix things as simple as minor home repairs like changing a light bulb or fixing a broken doorknob, using simple tools like screwdriver, needle and thread, knowing basic first aid skills and acquire basic cooking skills.

Muhammad Muawiya Alkali Writes from Abuja, Nigeria - Twitter: @mm_alkali

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Muhammad Muawiya Alkali and do not necessarily reflect those of The Nigerian Voice. The Nigerian Voice will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."