There are many misconceptions you develop when you leave school and enter into the real world. For example, you would expect that your degree should earn you a certain kind of job. Even if there is news about high rates of unemployment, you believe you are different; you will be among those that will get a job as soon as you get into the labor market. But this is often not the reality for most people.
But, this is not what I consider the biggest lie 99 percent of college graduates believe. You see, during my college years, there was a common ritual on the day final year students completed their final exams. Students would throw sachet water and egg on the final year students as a celebration for finally dropping the pen. No more late night’s studies; no more exams. You have learned everything you need to learn to succeed in life. Now the world is yours for the taking.
But here is where 99 percent of college graduates get it wrong; thinking you are now free from learning and studying; that your learning stops the moment you graduate. Or that you only need to study when you have another exam to write.
You believe that you have spent the past 4 to 5 years learning; so it’s time to start benefiting from your years of study. This belief is arguable the number one reason why most graduates struggle through life after school. They expect things to work a certain way. And when it doesn’t work that way, rather than try to understand what they don’t know, they either look for whom to blame or blame themselves for not being enough.
What the Real world looks like
Many graduates learned little to nothing about how to manage pressure; how to manage their finances; how to build a network; how to negotiate for mutual benefit; how to communicate effectively; the importance of empathy; how the economics of demand and supply works in the market. And many other important things you need to succeed in life.
By the time you graduate from school, your learning had just started. Whatever you learned from school is just a foundation; a basic fundamental knowledge of how things work. In fact, some of the information you had learned would have been outdated by the time you get into the real economy. Depending on what and where you studied, you may have to unlearn much of what you learned and start from scratch. This is why developing the ability to continue learning and absorbing more knowledge is a critical requirement of succeeding outside the four ways of higher institutions.
When you leave school is actually your starting point of education. In reality, you never really graduate. You are never done with education; unless you plan on being run over by the fast-moving world. You have to read those books, takes those courses, enroll for that internship, learn from that mentor, and get in-demand skill-sets that will increase your value in the marketplace. You have to risk being ridiculed and embarrassed to promote your idea, product or brand. To keep your learning appetite awake, here are some things to keep in mind.
Looking back 14 years ago from when I left school, it’s humbling to realize that I was clueless about many things that are obvious to me today. And when I look at what I think I know today, it’s even more humbling to realize that I know a very tiny little compared to what there is to know. To put it plainly, I still don’t have a clue about a lot of things I should have a clue about. The more you learn, the more you know that you don’t know. The more you learn, the more you know that you need to learn.
To continue learning, you have to accept that you don’t know a thing about how things work in the real world. You are not as smart as you think. You have a lot to learn. This mindset will open you up to a world of opportunities and possibilities. And you will also be a more attractive candidate in the world.
Find a mentor
One of the best things you can do for yourself as a young person just getting into the realm of value transaction is to get a mentor. If you can’t find someone to communicate with directly, choose people to read from and consume their teachings. I know you have heard this advice before about finding mentors. It’s nothing new. But it can make the difference between spending 10 years going through circles and getting it right in a few years. That you are watching this video shows you are dedicated to learning. There are a number of videos on this channel you will find helpful. But don’t stop there. Read books, take courses; learn from mentors. The important thing is that you find people that have done what you are planning to do, people that have gotten to where you aspire to be; and start learning from them.
Become an apprentice
Apprenticeship is a powerful economic growth strategy, where you are trained on a trade or profession with on-the-job training and learning by a master in the field. For example, I know a young man who studied computer science but went on an apprenticeship under a construction engineer who owns a successful construction company. Today, he can professionally perform the job of an architect and building contractor.
Another example of the power of apprenticeship is the Igbo community from the eastern part of Nigeria. The Igbos have used the apprenticeship system to pass down the skill of creating wealth through trading from one generation to another. After losing almost all their wealth from the civil war that ended in 1970, they employed the apprenticeship system to rise from the aches to wealth and affluence.
The point is that you can go beyond just learning from a mentor and really subject yourself as a student to learn a trade or profession from a master in the field of your interest. If you pay attention in the few years with that person; it will set the foundation for many years into your future.
It is okay to not know exactly what you want
If you don’t know exactly what you want to do after school, you are in the majority. Most adults don’t have a clue either. If that is your situation, a good place to start is to figure out what you don’t want. For me, I knew I didn’t want my life to be designed around chasing after money in the future. I wanted to be involved in something I can point to, and confidently say that I am or was part of that. That influenced my decisions on what opportunities were temporary, what’s not worth it and what deserved long term effort.
Knowing what you don’t want will help you to narrow down your options to what opportunity is worth pursuing.
When you are clear on what you don’t want, then you can realize yourself to try different things until you find the right path for you. Then you can go deeper and increase your value around that career path. And become the best you can be at that thing.
Graduating from college or university is not the end of education. It is the beginning of it. Don’t believe the lie that once you leave school, you are done with reading and studying. Or that studying is only done when you need to write an exam. Real education is about becoming aware of your environment and of yourself. It’s about knowing and learning what you need to get through life. People perish because of a lack of knowledge. If you are struggling over something, it’s very likely that there is something you don’t know. Education is the process of figuring out and learning about what you need to know and accepting what you need to do about it. And it doesn’t end with a graduation ceremony. So get into the real world and start learning.
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