TWO THINGS STUDENTS MUST DO BEFORE GRADUATION

When the finish line of tertiary education is within range, the thought of what final year university students would like to do with their lives after school often crosses their minds.

Such a thought is one that needs attention because if not attended to, it becomes a source of frustration for most fresh graduates.

Being a final year student, this thought has challenged me to think and plan for my life.

Whether one likes it or not time to leave school will come. Then, what next?

To final year students, what do want to do with your life after you graduate from school?

Get a job? Well, that’s obvious.

Have you taken time to see the unemployment statistics in Zambia? Have they ever crossed your mind?

If not, I love your positive thinking because you have never seen yourself as a ‘statistic’ or victim of life.

This write up is meant for you and its aim is to share with you practical ways to avoid being a statistic.

Let me go straight into sharing with you two things I have learnt in my quest to build a picture of what I would like to do with my life after school and subsequently, influence the kind of person I would like to become.

  1. Relentless pursuit of internship positions while on campus, not after graduating.

I once met a graduate from the University of Zambia (UNZA) three years after he graduated from the learning institution.

I was inspired to ask the brilliant graduate what he would have done differently if he had the opportunity to reverse time to his campus days. He openly told me he would have applied more effort into looking for internship positions while on campus, not after graduating.

The graduate emphasized that doing this helps a student gain work experience and even exposure to the corporate world.

“What if my program of study is fixed in a box and I only have to wait for government to employ me? What do I do?”

Well, go ahead and apply somewhere to get work experience and gain more insight on the corporate world.

You are fresh from class and your brain is mostly saturated with theories. So you may need to understand the practical stuff a little more.

Coming to the appropriateness of program of study, there is no such thing as a wrong program or useless program of study. Knowledge can never be useless.

In my four years of study at UNZA, I have interacted with colleagues who studied Environment Education but landed internships at organizations that deal with International Trade Policy and Economics.

Somebody once said a degree is evidence that you are teachable. Go ahead and apply for an internship position somewhere and take charge of your post school life!

Now that the first point has been exhausted, let’s go to the second one.

2. Think Entrepreneurship while on campus.

You have obviously heard of entrepreneurship a couple of times and perhaps even brushed it off as something for an exclusive club of individuals.

But what does it have to do with life after school? It could be a source of income and also a part time or full time job.

In terms of choosing what to deal with exactly, I suggest you do a study of the market for yourself.

If conducting individual research seems complicated, here is an easy way out: Talk to practicing entrepreneurs and ask them to help you identify products you can begin to deal with.

“What if I don’t have capital?”

With the advent of smart phones with good picture quality and 4G internet, you might just find a way out.  

If you are a student of social sciences, you can start a consultancy in academic writing and earn something to help you get by.

The only challenge you might face is starting. But just as they say, nothing good comes easy. The only way to start is by starting.

Get up and start creating your future!

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