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The other half of Graduation Photos that you don’t see

This is the graduation season. My LinkedIn and Facebook, and even Twitter are flooded with photos proud graduates, and their friends and families.

Hugs and tears. And occasionally a heartfelt tribute to a single mother struggling to raise school fees for her kid. Or a sister who had to drop out of school so her school fees could go towards her brother’s tuition. These tributes are just a snapshot of the many struggles students go through.

Behind the glamour and camera flash lights are some four, five or even six years of toil. That don’t make it online.

A student sleeping along the Political Science Corridor at UPNG after studying
Burukim tulait lo KD tutorial rooms
KD 100 is a sanctuary for those who have assignments due the next day

There are many, me included, who are critical about the high unemployment and masses of graduates coming out every year. And it has its merits. Whilst I still hold the same position, here I offer an alternative as to why I think the lack of jobs shouldn’t mean producing less graduates.

Education is more than just a pathway to getting a job, paying high taxes, contributing to Nasfund and retiring at 65 years old with a rocking chair and a clock to count down your days to the grave.

University education is special. It teaches you life skills that you would not have learnt in the comforts of your family, clan, tribe, or community.

You’re forced to meet deadlines. You are forced to work hard. You have to show up. Hungry, mood swings, mad, lack of sleep, but still show up.

Let’s be honest you wouldn’t do that at home. You’d sleep whole day, and take two extra days.

At Uni you are forced to work with people from different backgrounds, sometimes conflicting perspectives.

You’re become immersed in cultures different from yours. You develop empathy for others in the process, and tolerance for different people and ways of life.

You’re involuntarily exposed to a world that is different from yours.

And therein lies the true benefit of Uni life. What you become over the four, five, six years is more important than getting a job.

You can go out and create a business by sleeping under the table. Deprived of sleep you still show up when your client needs you. You feel comfortable speaking to diverse groups of people.

Opportunities are not limited to your church networks. You may have to talk to that next door sinner, or the guy from Highlands, or the dude who talks funny and walks with a limp living down the street.

You may need that Central guy, sport-less and uninterested in life back at Uni, to introduce you to the next opportunity.

Or that sister who hated all movies that involved blood in general, and Game of Thrones in particular.

Remember, the best part of University is what you became in the process. Character. Perseverance. Consistency. Tolerance. And showing the hell up even your hormones said “sleep.”

As the US Navy Seals say:

“The only easy day was yesterday…”

And the Brits SAS say:

“He who dares wins.”

Okay I got these phrases from watching special oops movies whilst at UPNG.

The world owes you nothing kid. Go out there, apply what you learnt. And take what’s yours. No apologies.

All the photos were taken from “Orchy Andono”. You can check out Orchy Andono on Facebook. Used here with permission.


Published by Academia Nomad

Blogs on politics, economics and social issues in simple language.

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