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Make A Difference, Be The Difference

 

In today’s post, I would like to share something very concise and I am confident that this would not be the first time you would have heard about this but I would like to challenge you further.

 

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In today’s world, most of us are concerned about working, earning money, spending it and enjoying or living our lives to the fullest. That is fantastic…amazing! But honestly, you have not truly lived until one person can mention you and say…’Because of this person, I was able to achieve this, or that’…

 

You don’t need to have a HUGE platform to make a difference; over a million followers on social media, a president of a society, a minister, a celebrity or whatever…You can start from within; people within your network…Ask yourself, what can I do in my own little way to make their lives better or make a positive contribution to their lives.

 

It all needs to start with YOU. In my own case, I have discovered what I can do to make the world a better place starting from those within my circle and I am loving it. I will share one with you. When I was in university, I was part of a mentoring scheme and got one of the best mentors EVER! I learned a lot from him and in the process, I got the opportunity to be a mentor to 1st-year students in my faculty whereby I went ahead to win a ‘Mentor Award’ at an Awards ceremony in university. Graduating from university, I wanted someone who could mentor me but bruh! It wasn’t easy! I did not find one till now. However, from the knowledge and experience, I gathered from previous years, I wanted an opportunity to also help other young people or better put mentor them in discovering their purpose and achieving their dreams in life. So, I started my blog which I believe is my voice to people out there, also, whenever I get the opportunity to talk to friends and other people especially if they are going through an issue, I make sure I leave them with something to ponder on in other to arrive at a decision. Earlier this year, as part of my goals I wanted to create a network whereby I could mentor young people but I was wondering how I could get people to be a part of it.

 

Through my friend, Brenda, who is doing an amazing work of helping young people gain access to exclusive programmes, conferences, helping them with CVs, Cover Letters, scholarships among others…Initially, I wanted to do this too for a fee but then I remembered what I wrote down earlier this year to help other people become a better version of themselves and discover their purpose (with no monetary value attached)…as such I made a call for people who wanted to be part of this network…and to my surprise, I now have almost 300 young people I am starting with…I am still in awe!

 

It is fulfilling personally to know you are adding value to someone’s life and I believe this network (Purpose Unleashed Network) will do amazing and this is just the beginning! So to whoever is reading this, you may feel you have nothing to offer but trust me we all have something to offer. You may feel it is ‘nothing big’ but it is these LITTLE things that make the BIG difference.

 

We ALL have a role to play. Make your own difference. Don’t just EXIST. Before you DIE, LIVE. You haven’t lived till you make a DIFFERENCE. It is not about Social Media Hype. Even if it is one person, that’s all that matters. #gertrudesays.

 

Trust you enjoyed today’s blogpost and it got you thinking. Stay tuned for another blog post real soon! Have an amazing week ahead! 🙂

 

 

Life After University: My Thoughts

 

I am very happy to have concluded this project (Y’all have no idea!)  and of course, I could not have done it without the support of the 20 amazing ladies who chose to tell their stories and also to my amazing followers and readers. God Bless YOU!

 

Back in February, few months after I finished the University Diaries; where I shared my brief university experiences, I thought to myself…there is something more I could do. Over the years, I realized that many people have a panic attack especially when they are about to leave the university; this mostly stems from not knowing what to do afterward or probably the fear of not making it. I have had conversations with friends and read articles online where I concluded that it is time for those who have left university to share genuine stories so as to encourage and give hope to others.

 

I think in today’s society, especially with the emergence of social media, most people want to sound like they never went through any hard times, that it was all rosy, which kind of sends a wrong message across to the fresh graduate who is going through hell to find a job after university or to even get a chance to prove themselves to recruiters among others. Thus when I started formulating the questions for the #lifeafteruniversity series, the intention was to get the real deal from my contributors which I am confident I did in the end…

 

Now, I must say, I am not too surprised reading through the different experiences of my contributors. Most of them went through series of rejections and eventually got what they wanted and for some, are still in the process of seeking for what they want. That is real life! Nothing good comes easy! And depending on how bad you want something, you must be willing to fight for it…with all thy might! One of the contributors mentioned that she knew what she wanted to do but she decided to go through the traditional route of applying for jobs which she ended up going through about 5 stages only to be rejected in the end… This was a wake-up call to her to pursue her writing interests. This is very interesting and I can relate..sometimes, we choose to ignore what we really want in order to go after things that seem satisfying at the time, only to be disappointed and then wonder, why am I even pursuing this in the first place? Some food for thought right there…

 

Also, most of the contributors highlighted that they wished they were involved in more extracurricular activities whilst they were in university…The mistake many people make is focusing on just the academic aspect whilst in university, not saying it is a bad thing to do but the truth is University is another world where you need to keep an open mind and explore other opportunities available. If you are just one sided (books all the time), you might miss out on a whole lot of experience and probably another side of you, you could discover as a result of being involved in a society, sports, volunteering among others… You may even discover your purpose in the process

 

Furthermore, I also realized that everybody is still in the process of discovering themselves; something we can never stop doing especially as we are still alive. Whether they were working, still looking for jobs, self-employed or whatever, each of the contributors seemed to have gotten to a place where they had taken a thing or two out of the failures, rejections or whatever they experienced after being hit with the real world, they were still trying the best to make the most out of their current situations and see what the future brings..

 

I could go on and on…I actually want to do a Part 2 about my thoughts on the series but I do not want to drag it. If you are reading this and you are about to graduate, just graduated or even graduated many years ago, I am confident that we will all be fine in the end. One motivational speech I listened to this morning highlighted the fact that, Dream Big, but have goals because, without those goals, your dreams will remain dreams! But what if those dreams don’t work out? Fail BIG! Sometimes therein lies what you need to GROW and become who God has called you to be.

 

Probably, you might be wondering if I will also share my life after university story…Ah well, I would but not here and not now. When the time is right, I will do the REVEAL here! 

 

Thanks for reading…Let me know your thoughts in the comment section. Do I start another series? What do you think it should be on? Enjoy the rest of the week!

 

Life After University: Episode 20 (Season Finale)

 

Ahhh I can’t believe the end of the series is here…I would like to use this opportunity to THANK every one of for reading, liking, sharing and even commenting on my articles. It means so much to me.

 

To end this series, I present to you Brenda Chiuneme McWilson-Okorogba. Trust me she is someone you would want to follow on social media and even have conversations with. I am glad to call her friend…Such a breath of fresh air and a blessing to today’s youth…a go-getter and an inspiration! I could not have picked anyone else to wrap up this project. Read along, I am confident you will LOVE it.

 

 

 

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Brenda McWilson-Okorogba

 

 

 

What is your name and what university did you attend?

 

My name is Brenda McWilson-Okorogba. I attended the University of Manitoba, Canada.

 

What year did you graduate and what course did you offer?

 

I completed my studies in 2016 with a BSc. In Psychology and Biological Sciences (Cell Molecular/Developmental Biology). I also have an advanced diploma in Business Management and Entrepreneurship.

 

Briefly describe how your university life; any extracurricular activities you were involved, scholarships, awards/ honors etc.

 

My university life was full of good experiences including some tough moments. I did lots of volunteer work at different organizations most especially promoting mental health, access to quality education for youths, some works on andragogy and critical pedagogy, sexual and reproductive health, food security and food sovereignty, poverty alleviation, promoting job accessibility for youths, addressing ableism and other forms of -isms that are discriminatory against people. As for awards, I am privileged to say I got some awards including bursaries and scholarships from my university and outside the uni. I am grateful for having a good university life.

 

Based on your experience in university, do you regret going to university or did you regret at a point? If so why?

 

I enjoyed my university experience as a student because of the opportunities that were readily available and accessible to me. I had the opportunity of traveling to El Salvador and Belize to teach young Maya students about food security and food sovereignty. It was such a beautiful experience for me. I learned a lot from the Q’qechi Maya people of Belize. I also had the opportunity of being an international student mentor to both undergraduate and graduate students via the international center of students (ICS) at the University of Manitoba. I really don’t have any regret going to the university.

 

Upon graduation, did you have any plans as to what your next move was? Could you please share?

 

Yes, I already had a career development plan prior to my graduation. First is to get my permanent residence so I can continue my studies till post-doc in Neuropsychology or Cognitive Neuroscience at a good Canadian university and utilize every scholarship opportunity. Another plan is to get meaningfully engaged in advocacy works with the focus on mental health, education, and youth empowerment.

 

Based on the answer from the question above, did these plans materialize in the short term or even long term? If it did what was the process like? If not, what happened? Did you have any backup plans?

 

I am the process of getting my permanent status here in Canada and yes I have been meaningfully engaged in advocacy work and various youth empowerment programs. The best and most fulfilling thing for me is being able to have a business plan for my mental health and education-focused organization called Ephphatha Transformation Academy (ETA). It will be officially registered in Canada this Summer.

 

In the case where you faced rejections especially in applying for jobs etc, what effect did it have on your person? Care to share any experiences if you had one?

 

Well if I don’t get any response after a job interview, I just send the HR an email to know if I am to expect a feedback or not. If I still don’t get any response, I just move on with my life and think of what next to do. I always make sure I edit my resume and LinkedIn profile all the time. Write down cover letters for any job positions I intend to apply to and tweak when it is time to submit my application. I make sure I do the following R’s——- Rethink, Restrategize, Reposition, Redo and Relearn and Redirect myself towards achieving my set goals. I also ensure the following C’s—- Care, Compassion and Celebration.

 

If you were to be that 18/19-year-old going back to university, knowing what you know now (irrespective of how many years after university) what advice will you give yourself? Any advice to others?

 

Always have some set goals and work towards achieving those goals. Never follow the crowd and make sure you utilize any good opportunity that comes your way whether scholarships, bursaries, travel grants, internships, jobs and volunteer opportunities. Feel free to ask questions from the right people, go out of your comfort zone to network with others, and always adjust your crown every day you wake up (let your daily cosmetics be self-love, honesty, integrity, authenticity, self-appreciation, healthy self-esteem and befriend yourself).

 

With the current state of the job market, do you think in like 10 years time, universities will still have value? Especially with the rate at which many graduates end up being unemployed or young people prefer to start their businesses or train in apprenticeships?

 

I think university degrees will still be relevant although many schools are trying to change their curriculum and focus more on critical pedagogy and experiential learning so that students can become inventors, trailblazers, innovators and wealth and job generators.

 

What do you do now in terms of work or any other thing you are involved, care to share your social media handles so people could connect with you?

 

I currently work as a mental health crisis intervention specialist for an organization here in Manitoba and as a director of strategic partnership and grant writer for STEMHub Foundation, a not-for-profit organization based in Ontario, Canada. My side hustles are: Hair braiding, Ghost-writing, Grant writing, Academic writing, CV/Cover Letter/SoP/Scholarship Essay writing, and I host workshops on mental health. I passionately use my Twitter to share opportunities to youths across the globe and I am a professional scholarship search strategist promoting SDG4.

 

Please follow Brenda on LinkedIn and Facebook. Keep with her on Twitter EnablerofVision. Trust me…She is doing a lot to promote education by sharing loads of opportunities (scholarships, youth programmes etc) and as young people, this is something we need to discover our purposes and be agents of change in our societies.

 

Again, a HUGE thanks to you all for your support. Massive thanks to the 20 ladies who also agreed to share their stories on this platform. Without you, there will be no diaries to share. I will share my thoughts on this project in the next blog post. Happy Sunday and an amazing week to Y’all! God Bless!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Life After University: Episode 19

 

Enyonam Amelorku, is my next feature for today, an A1 sister from secondary school. Hope you enjoy her story….brace yourself up for it and the LAST episode to end this series.

 

 

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Enyonam Amelorku

 

 

 

What is your name and what university did you attend?

 

I am Enyonam Amelorku alumnus of the University of Ghana.

 

What year did you graduate and what course did you offer?

 

I graduated in 2016 with a B.A English & Psychology combined major.

 

Briefly describe how your university life; any extracurricular activities you were involved, scholarships, awards/ honors etc.

 

My initial year at uni was interesting. I called it my life alone phase. Aside lectures which I made a conscious effort never to miss, I did a bit of adventure and exploration I tried a bit of the outing life but this did not sit comfortably with me because of the home I from. My mum is an educationist who never ceased to drum the importance of excelling down my ears. My subsequent years was geared towards building my grades and getting ready for what I termed ‘’corporate life’’. I attend so many seminars, career fairs and finally got affiliated with the Springboard Foundation. I later aided the formation of the Premier Springboard Club and became the first club coordinator for University of Ghana, Legon campus.

 

Based on your experience in university, do you regret going to university or did you regret a point? If so why?

 

I do not regret going to the university. It was a total experience for me be it socially, educationally, morally etc.

 

Upon graduation, did you have any plans as to what your next move was? Could you please share?

 

I did not exactly have any plans drawn out but I always wanted that corporate character life. That kind, of woman who achieves, impacts and inspires society.

 

Based on the answer from the question above, did these plans materialize in the short term or even long term? If it did what was the process like? If not, what happened? Did you have any backup plans?

 

My vision or should I say my sketch of my life after school is gradually shaping up. I currently find myself in an organization of learned individuals whom I understudy as well as assisting to score societal targets in the education field.

 

In the case where you faced rejections especially in applying for jobs etc, what effect did it have on your person? Care to share any experiences if you had one?

 

I have not had any in that regard.

 

If you were to be that 18/19 year old going back to university, knowing what you know now (irrespective of how many years after university) what advice will you give yourself? Any advice to others?

 

My advice would be to have a balanced life in school. that is, make better use of my time, study more, grab more internship opportunities and perhaps a little more adventure and fun.

 

With the current state of the job market, do you think in like 10 years’ time, universities will still have value? Especially with the rate at which many graduates end up being unemployed or young people prefer to start their businesses or train in apprenticeships?

 

Universities are institutions of immense value. In 10 years our universities will still be of value, only if they move with the changing trends of the world. As said, we learn every day. Thus, the systems in our universities should also adopt the dynamic and progressive status. There should be research done regularly to feed the growing needs of the global village in that way they will be well poised and parallel to the generation of the time.

 

What do you do now in terms of work or any other thing you are involved, care to share your social media handles so people could connect with you?

 

I am a Technical Assistant for material development on an education project. One position which has broadened my perspective on life. It has taught me the rudiments of organization, taking on the spot decisions, working under pressure, dealing with workplace politics and overall meeting targets regardless. Connect with me on Facebook

 

I do hope you enjoyed this feature. Thanks so far for keeping up with this series. Y’all are the REAL MVPs. Stay tuned for the last feature in a few days. 

Life After University: Episode 18

 

Bernice Garr, another  A1 sister (from secondary school), is my next feature on today’s episode. If you enjoyed the other episodes, I am sure you would love this as well.

 

 

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Bernice Garr

 

 

 

What is your name and what university did you attend?

 

I’m Bernice Garr. I attended the University of Ghana, Legon.

 

What year did you graduate and what course did you offer?

 

I graduated in 2016 and majored in Sociology.

 

Briefly describe how your university life; any extracurricular activities you were involved, scholarships, awards/ honors etc.

 

My University life was quite interesting though it wasn’t filled with so many extracurricular activities. I wanted to pay attention to my studies as well and graduate with a good class which I did by the grace of God. I was in my church choir on the University Campus- Legon Interdenominational Church. I also joined Rotaract which is the campus chapter of Rotary International, Ghana. I also had the opportunity to join Leading Ladies Network which is a Voluntary club on campus. Their mission is to empower young ladies and mentor them to become good leaders in their fields.

 

Based on your experience in university, do you regret going to university or did you regret at a point? If so why? 

 

Not at all, I didn’t regret going to the University. I believe it was an opportunity to acquire more skills and knowledge and also build positive relationships.

 

Upon graduation, did you have any plans as to what your next move was? Could you please share?

 

After graduation, I didn’t really have any plan because, in Ghana, the next thing after graduation is a compulsory National Service for one year. So in the short term that was basically the next big thing for me.

 

Based on the answer from the question above, did these plans materialize in the short term or even long term? If it did what was the process like? If not, what happened? Did you have any backup plans?

 

Yes, by God’s grace I was able to do my National Service. Usually, in Ghana the National Service Secretariat which is responsible for overseeing all National Service activities, assigns to graduates the organizations in which they must work. For me, I was posted to Ghana Audit Service. Fortunately, the process was quite smooth.

 

In the case where you faced rejections especially in applying for jobs etc, what effect did it have on your person? Care to share any experiences if you had one?

 

After National Service, I applied for a couple of jobs and I got rejected but that didn’t deter me. I remember there was a time I was called for an interview. It was a very rigorous process only for me and the other candidates to be told later that it was a three-month internship and not a permanent job. I wasn’t bothered when I didn’t get the job because for me I believe that it’s God’s way of redirecting me to where He actually wants me to be, which will certainly be better than what I lost.

 

If you were to be that 18/19 year old going back to university, knowing what you know now (irrespective of how many years after university) what advice will you give yourself? Any advice to others?

 

I will advise myself and others to gain skills in a particular field and have a mentor in that field. Also, I will advise myself and others to find and build networks in the field of interest.

 

With the current state of the job market, do you think in like 10 years time, universities will still have value? Especially with the rate at which many graduates end up being unemployed or young people prefer to start their businesses or train in apprenticeships?

 

Yes, Universities will still have value regardless because for some jobs no matter what will require that you have a degree and some form of higher education. Those who have interest in such fields will value university education. It’s up to the individuals who find themselves going to the universities to be smart about how they organize their lives so they can get to the level they want to in life.

 

What do you do now in terms of work or any other thing you are involved, care to share your social media handles so people could connect with you?

 

I sometimes volunteer with Skygirls Ghana and I’m a creative writer. I write stories and share them on my blog at www.bernicegarr.wordpress.com . You can follow me on Facebook

 

Rejections they say can be God’s own way of redirecting our steps. Don’t you dare give up! Looking forward to bringing you the last two episodes to wrap up this series. Don’t miss it! Happy Sunday and have a lovely week ahead!

 

Life After University: Episode 17

 

Ewurabena Ewudziwa Hagan is my next feature on today’s episode of #lifeafteruniversity diaries. She is such a gracious young lady with an infectious smile….oh yeah and I have known her since secondary school days (A1 sister for life!). Get ready to enjoy her story as she takes a different turn too.

 

 

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Ewurabena Ewudziwa Hagan

 

Turned Tables

 

In June 2016, as I was driven out of the Ashesi University Campus I remember feeling a new surge of energy. I was free at last, to pursue my dreams. For many years, a lot of wishes were preceded by; “when I finish school…” little did I know that there were a lot of other conditions that needed to be met before I could achieve anything I wanted to.

 

Don’t get me wrong, I never really felt like a prisoner in school. I was one of those that barely put any effort into studying. I was more active in my co-curricular (or if you please, social life). In my first and second year, I was a part of the welfare committee; the welfare committee is the branch of the school’s student council that deals with student housing (and well, welfare) issues. In my final year, I served as the vice president of the student council and helped co-ordinate student-run clubs on campus. I was also an active member of the Kingdom Christian Fellowship and served in the Women in Christ wing and the secretariat departments. These (as well as many other) activities made academic work bearable for me. I’m pretty certain about this: had I been inactive outside the lecture hall, my output in grades would have been horrible.

 

I thoroughly enjoyed the four years I spent at Ashesi University, and I would relive those four years in (almost) exactly the same way if I could do it again. I think it was really fulfilling, knowing that I didn’t hinder my growth or shy away from new experiences. Even the mistakes I made have nurtured me so much, I don’t fully regret them all.

 

I studied Business Administration at Ashesi, though I had no real interest in accounting or financial management. I took extra courses in marketing, though- because that seemed to resemble what I would love to focus on, in the world of work. I wasn’t entirely wrong, because I am currently in that industry, but this is probably not the industry I will thrive most in.

 

After graduation, I don’t remember having any concrete laid out plans. I just knew I didn’t even want to think about a master’s degree. I assumed I would land a job from Ashesi’s wide network of companies and would figure out life one step at a time. I was eager to discover myself a little more and KNOW (for sure), what I would like to do for a long term.

 

Things weren’t as I expected, though. I have realized that in a lot of situations, I would need to pursue a master’s degree to increase my relevance in the world of work.  So that is something I have been mulling over for the past two years. I also had to relinquish an opportunity to try out event management to fill a position in the family business. The last unexpected turn of events is, I’m getting married soon- that’s two years after graduating. I had assumed it would happen sooner than later, but not THIS soon. After just how much my plan has shifted, I have stopped focusing on making my life pan out my way. Rather, I have prepared my mind and heart to say “yes” to whatever God may bring my way.

 

Though I have not faced any rejections, I have faced a number of disappointments. There is a business idea I have been working hard at making a reality. There’s no money for it, and no time – seeing as I work an eight to five job in my family business.

 

From these few years after university, if I had the chance to give myself advice, I would say: ‘dream big; but know that everything has its times and seasons.’ I would say this because, (for example), though I had a business idea I could not start, I may be able to start it in a few years – so I shouldn’t shatter my dream yet – I should only hope it materializes as soon as possible.

 

In dealing with an HR recruitment firm very often, I have found that the job market (in Ghana) is a little saturated. The jobs that are in high demand are in low supply. Some university graduates have dreams of earning as much as Ghc3,000 on their first job. There may be that possibility, but that will be one-in-a-million! One thing I learned in the university was developing a mindset of solving problems with businesses. Universities should encourage students to solve these problems (even if it is within another firm,) rather than just falling into the paths that have been laid ahead of them.

 

I’m Ewurabena Hagan, a content editor at Focus Digital, an advertising agency. You can follow me on ewurabenawrites.com or @ewurabenawrites on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

 

Please Follow Ewurabena’s blog too! Wishing you a happy married life in advance babe! Stay tuned for the last three episodes…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Life After University: Episode 16

 

As the series comes to an end, I have the pleasure of interviewing Tutua Agyekum, who I have known since secondary school days. For Tutua’s interview today, she takes a different turn or should I say decided to go with her own flow which I encouraged so as to have a mix of different styles hence breaking the monotony. Her story is detailed and you don’t want to miss it.

 

 

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Tutua Agyekum

All award-winning television shows have one thing in common; the gradual improvement from the pilot season to the current episode. For me, that is how I see my life.  You grab each opportunity by the horns and direct it as it pleases you.  I grew up often hearing the statement “when life gives you lemons, make a lemonade”.  Why stick with the status quo when you could make a mojito, a wicked Moscow mule or a margarita served in a frosted glass, with a sliver of lemon at the rim (of the glass) and an umbrella? This is my story about the lemons life has and is still handling me after the sheltered life called The University.

 

Before entering the university, I had a one-track mind. It was either medical school or nothing. I was so confident of earning a spot in medical school. I felt that was my calling, my purpose, my life, my everything. My first batch of lemonade got served when I failed to enter medical school.  I was distraught. To make matters worse, I knew people who I felt I had a better shot at medicine than they did earn a spot. I was disappointed and I often questioned God endlessly. What happened to all my seeds, fasting and prayers?

 

I was given the opportunity to offer Biochemistry and to me, that has been one of the defining moments in my life. To aptly put it, I hated the program even without knowing about it.  My repugnance deepened when my lecturer told myself and a group of freshers that we had a shot at being rappers and photographers at our orientation. Don’t get me wrong, I have a lot of respect for these professions, however, imagine in my shoes at that time.  I almost quit school that day. In my mind, I felt my one-way ticket to success was securing a high flying white colored job. After all, that is what our society preaches, literally. A pastor will put hands on a university graduate and prophesy that he sees her occupying a big position in government which comes with a 4-bedroom bungalow, a V8 SUV, and countless allowances. Hardly would you hear a pastor prophesy about a graduate making fortunes through involvement in a trade. Hmmmmmm!!!

 

Gradually, I began to appreciate the program and its confusions. Some of the lecturers not only focus on imparting knowledge but also on building our capacity as young individuals. There were some courses that I felt were not relevant to my existence. Alas, these courses thought me that I had only two options. The options were either I pass or trail. Which would you choose? One of my greatest motivations to learn was that in my department, results of all students are made public. Your name, your average and your trails for all to see. Eiee!!! Fine girl paa with trails?? Never.

 

Life in Uni was fun. I enjoyed every bit of it. I loved the anxiety that came with writing examinations. I loved the exam fever. The late nights, the study sleepovers, the sleepless nights, the chew and pour and the occasional skipping of lectures to sleep and laze about in your room (please don’t try the last point if you are still I’m school. It could be injurious to your GPA).

 

Anyway, after graduating in 2016, I was thrust into the” real world” that I had been warned about. Now, the real world happens to you when you are to find a job and start fending for yourself. All of a sudden, the once beautiful parasitic relationship you once had with the Bank of Mum and Dad is severed. Girl has huge plans and I am taking steps to actualize them. I would share some but first, let me brief you on “national suffering “; the mandatory year of service to the motherland. National service is no joke. I mean, you literally have to fight to earn a spot at the company you served. If not, you’d have to fall on the benevolence of your supervisors to refer you to other companies. Again, if your parents are “big people” they could help you find a job in no time.

 

So, armed with anecdotes and wisdom nuggets about life and the competitive job market from possibly every older person in my life, I started service knowing that my choices could either make me jobless or be gainfully employed (self-employment inclusive) at the end of my service year.  My trick was to work smart, network and build a large referral base. In all my dealings, I never forgot the God- factor. Thankfully, my efforts paid off and I gained employment right after national service.

 

I feel university education is beginning to lose its value. It is focusing on raising individuals who theory -biased, however, I think it fails woefully I’m preparing individuals for the working environment. That is my opinion. How many people do you know who are working even remotely in a field they studied in school? Graduates have to go through on -the- job training and other courses to help them settle in their jobs. On top of it all, most job vacancies advertised require a minimum of two years working experience. How on earth is a fresh graduate going to gather experience if not given the opportunity?

 

If I had the opportunity to advise my first year me, I’ll drone on and on about never underestimating the power of networking   A “big man” recently told me that my network is my net wealth. It’s that simple. The job market is built on referrals and who knows you. Let your work speak for itself and always remember that we are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act but a habit.

 

Currently, I work as a Quality Assurance Manager. It fuels my passion for providing industrial support and the technical know-how industries who are struggling with local and international regulatory compliance. I am an ardent believer of self-sufficiency through multiple streams of income. That is what defines me as an independent woman.  I work as an associate for a nutraceutical company. I am a budding mixologist. I grow mushrooms for sale and I am planning on going into mainstream farming.  Gradually, I am ticking stuff off my checklist.

 

Finally, life is not what it is but how you see it. That has been my favorite quote since the start of 2018. Your life after university can be anything you choose it to be. You can connect with me on Facebook.

 

I am very impressed, to say the least about Tutua’s approach to life’s issues and I think we could all take a thing or two from her. Completing university is just the beginning and not the END. Stay tuned for the next feature soon.

Life After University: Episode 15

 

So far, I am just thankful to God for the opportunity to showcase different stories on what it takes to make it after leaving school…the insight has been amazing and I am certain today’s episode will not be anything different. A pleasure to share the story of my ‘akumaa’ like I sometimes call her, Miriam Dela Agbada, who has been a dear friend for about 7 years now. Be inspired!

 

 

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Miriam Dela Agbada

 

 

 

What is your name and what university did you attend?

 

My name is Miriam Dela Agbada and I attended University of Ghana, Legon.

 

What year did you graduate and what course did you offer?

 

I graduated in 2016 and I offered a degree in Psychology and Adults Education.

 

Briefly describe how your university life; any extracurricular activities you were involved, scholarships, awards/ honors etc.

 

I lived a normal life in the university and barely involved myself in any extracurricular activities except for one or two church programs I attended or Hall weeks…My routine in school on a normal weekday was more of waking up, go for lectures, back to my room, find something to eat, sleep then later in the evening I probably hang out with some friends or stay indoors.

 

Based on your experience in university, do you regret going to university or did you regret at a point? If so why?

 

Every semester came with its own challenges especially there were semesters where a particular course could drain you and fear grips you when it’s almost examination time but it was all part of the experience. I have no regrets at all.

 

Upon graduation, did you have any plans as to what your next move was? Could you please share?

 

Of course. Just like every university graduate in Ghana, the plan was to start my National Service then after completion, I would then work for a while. After working for a while, I will then consider the option of furthering my studies.

 

Based on the answer from the question above, did these plans materialize in the short term or even long term? If it did what was the process like? If not, what happened? Did you have any backup plans?

 

Yes, I was able to complete my National Service but it hasn’t been easy trying to get a job which I believe is common to most fresh graduates. I implemented my back up plan that is started my own juice business which is still in the planning stages.

 

In the case where you faced rejections especially in applying for jobs etc, what effect did it have on your person? Care to share any experiences if you had one?

 

I have faced soo many rejections as I have gone for quite a number of interviews yet no luck. In one case interviewer told me just a first degree cannot get me a job as a fresh graduate and that I should participate in sale storms or be involved in marketing so I could gain some experience.

 

If you were to be that 18/19 year old going back to university, knowing what you know now (irrespective of how many years after university) what advice will you give yourself? Any advice to others?

 

I would just say it is important to cultivate the habit of saving and also try and discover my talent/passion and the develop it whilst in school by engaging in extracurricular activities….worst case scenario if a job is not forthcoming in my the field of my degree subject, there is an option  to fall back on using the talents unearthed to earn a living.

 

With the current state of the job market, do you think in like 10 years time, universities will still have value? Especially with the rate at which many graduates end up being unemployed or young people prefer to start their businesses or train in apprenticeships?

 

The University may not lose its value; after all, there are people who just have to go to school and have jobs waiting for them afterward. However, I think there will be an increasing rate of entrepreneurs just because that is the way forward; finding a problem and using your skills and initiative to provide solutions to them. I also think entrepreneurship should be encouraged more in our tertiary institutions so that students would start considering it even whilst they are still in school and support (funding, mentoring, etc) should be made available for them as well.

 

What do you do now in terms of work or any other thing you are involved, care to share your social media handles so people could connect with you?

 

I started my own juice production which is Dels Fruit Juice. Please support the brand especially if you are resident in Ghana. You could also connect with me on Facebook and LinkedIn.

 

After this series is done, I will give my observations and frustrations with this ‘system’ we find ourselves in, in today’s world…From Mimi’s story, what is actually considered enough to get your foot in the door? A Bachelors degree is considered not enough, in some cases, Masters isn’t, Ph.D.? Ah well… Who even determines what is enough and what isn’t? 

 

Stay tuned for the last 5 set of episodes for this diaries…If you still want to be part, send me via asumadugertrude@yahoo.com (female contributors only!)

 

Enjoy the rest of the week!

 

 

Life After University: Episode 14

 

I am so excited about today’s feature…I have the pleasure to feature my girl/sister/friend, Natalie Christine Cofie. You all need a Natalie in your life….she’s been a friend since secondary school days and I thank God for her life always. She does not talk too much so expect brief answers…nevertheless, I hope you enjoy this episode.

 

 

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Natalie Christine Cofie

 

 

What is your name and what university did you attend?

 

My name is Natalie C. Cofie and I attended University of Ghana, Legon.

 

What year did you graduate and what course did you offer?

 

I graduated in July 2017 and I studied a degree in BA Spanish and Linguistics.

 

Briefly describe how your university life; any extracurricular activities you were involved, scholarships, awards/honors etc.

 

Life on campus was quite a learning experience for me. Meeting people from different walks of life and having to deal with most of them in terms cohabitation, studying together and socializing. For me as an introvert, it was a bit hard at the beginning combining all that with studying, but I learned to adjust and with time I found my feet. I wasn’t involved much in extracurricular activities because I felt it would take all my time and concentration. But later I realized it does help so I got involved in the later part of my years in school.

 

Based on your experience in university, do you regret going to university or did you regret at a point? If so why?

 

I never had any regrets. I do miss school.

 

Upon graduation, did you have any plans as to what your next move was? Could you please share?

 

After graduating, my next move was to get my national service done and take it from there.

 

Based on the answer from the question above, did these plans materialize in the short term or even long term? If it did what was the process like? If not, what happened? Did you have any backup plans?

 

Yes, I’m currently doing my national service and though I’m not done it’s been a wonderful experience for me so far. I’ve learned a lot.

 

In the case where you faced rejections especially in applying for jobs etc, what effect did it have on your person? Care to share any experiences if you had one?

 

Straight after university, I have gone ahead to work with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as part of the compulsory National Service scheme in Ghana, which is what I am currently doing. Thus, I have not really had the experience of applying for jobs and then getting rejected in the process. However, I must add the process of getting a National Service placement was quite stressful but in all, I thank God for getting this offer at the Foreign Affairs as I intend to pursue a Masters degree in the field of International Relations in the nearest future.

 

If you were to be that 18/19-year-old going back to university, knowing what you know now (irrespective of how many years after university) what advice will you give yourself? Any advice to others?

 

I would say you should get more involved in extracurricular activities such as volunteering because you get to have rich experience which may help you in facing the world after school.

 

With the current state of the job market, do you think in like 10 years’ time, universities will still have value? Especially with the rate at which many graduates end up being unemployed or young people prefer to start their businesses or train in apprenticeships?

 

I think they would if they revise their extracurricular activities to help bring out graduates that match up to the current job market. Thus, there should be more opportunities for students to be more involving outside the classroom which will, in turn, help build employable for their careers.

 

What do you do now in terms of work or any other thing you are involved, care to share your social media handles so people could connect with you?

 

I am currently doing my compulsory one-year national service at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and I am loving it. You connect with me on Facebook and LinkedIn.

 

Hope you enjoyed today’s episode. Stay tuned for the remaining episodes…Have an awesome filled week. Follow me on all my social media platforms!

Life After University: Episode 13

 

On today’s episode, Abena Adutwumwaa Kyei shares her story and decided to keep it simple and very straightforward. I have known Abena since secondary school days and she is just one of those people you could worry for a long time and she will never get angry (ky…ky). Do enjoy her story.

 

 

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Abena Adutwumwaa Kyei

 

 

 

What is your name and what university did you attend?

 

My name is Abena Adutwumwaa Kyei and I attended Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi (KNUST), Ghana.

 

What year did you graduate and what course did you offer?

 

I graduated in July 2016 and studied BA Sociology and English majoring in BA Sociology.

 

Briefly describe how your university life; any extracurricular activities you were involved, scholarships, awards/ honors etc.

 

Mmmm….my university life was quite boring.Had a few friends and never engaged in any extracurricular activities.My focus was on getting good grades and nothing else.The course I studied demanded a lot of reading and I believed if I missed out on that it was going to affect my grades.I went out a few times with friends especially on their birthdays and it was fun.

 

Based on your experience in university, do you regret going to university or did you regret at a point? If so why?

 

I think furthering my education was the best choice I made.Education has a way of making an individual fit well in our society, however, I sometimes regretted choosing my particular course of study.I realized the society I found myself in did not appreciate the course and did not create many opportunities for us.

 

Upon graduation, did you have any plans as to what your next move was? Could you please share?

 

At a point, I wanted to further my education after my national service but I later decided to get a job first.

 

Based on the answer from the question above, did these plans materialize in the short term or even long term? If it did what was the process like? If not, what happened? Did you have any backup plans?

 

I got a job after my national service but I quit because the salary was not worth the stress level associated with the job. I’m still in the process of getting a new one.

 

In the case where you faced rejections especially in applying for jobs etc, what effect did it have on your person? Care to share any experiences if you had one?

 

I’ve not had any experiences like that.

 

If you were to be that 18/19 year old going back to university, knowing what you know now (irrespective of how many years after university) what advice will you give yourself? Any advice to others?

 

In the first place, I’d offer a course that is more practical in senior high and further it in the university. Most people are making it now because of their abilities to use their hands to create. Getting good grades is very important but what’s the use if you have to depend on someone before you can earn a living. We should focus more on creativity and this is nothing new…I remember back in senior high I learned about how to improve education in Ghana and this particular point was raised. It’s high time we make things a reality.

 

With the current state of the job market, do you think in like 10 years time, universities will still have value? Especially with the rate at which many graduates end up being unemployed or young people preferring to start their businesses or train in apprenticeships?

 

Education is a necessity but I think universities would not have the same value because currently everyone wishes to be an entrepreneur due to the high rates of unemployment in our society.It is evident in our society that individuals especially those with huge capitals to start their businesses are making it as well as those with talents.

 

What do you do now in terms of work or any other thing you are involved, care to share your social media handles so people could connect with you?

 

I am on Facebook . Currently, I’m searching for a job and also involved in a petty business.

 

Taking a cue from Abena’s story…maybe we should start having discussions about the courses we choose to do in university and also the exploitation fresh graduates out of university face just because some employers decide to tap on their desperation to get a job…

 

Stay tuned for more episodes…There is still one more slot…just email me on asumadugertrude@yahoo.com or comment with your email address and I will get back to you.