I gained admission into the university in 2011 at 20 years. I thought I will graduate by the age of 23. In developed countries, you don’t need to pray and fast to graduate on time. In fact, I heard that you are told the day you will be graduating from the university right from your year 1 registration point in some countries.
But being a Nigerian who went to a government-owned university, my dream of graduating at 23 years never came through. I graduated from Obafemi Awolowo University and I don’t think I need to tell you the strong relationship between OAU and incessant strikes.
Within my first two months campus, I experienced my first strike action. The school management sent us home because of a proposed protest scheduled for our matriculation day. We didn’t resume until three months after. We proceeded again on ASUU strike in 2013 which lasted for six months. We had other internal strikes and I ended up spending close to five years for a course I should have spent less than four years for.
Graduating from the university in 2015, I stayed at home for another one year before I was mobilized for the compulsory National Youths Service (NYSC) which also lasted for another one year. I finished NYSC in 2017 and I was 26 years going to be 27 by the end of that year.
I had always been an entrepreneur right from campus and I was really doing well. I had made up my mind not to look for a job after NYSC, I just wanted to face my business and go for my masters degree because I knew my chances of getting a job was slim considering the 26 years age requirement by most of the employers of labour especially the big firms. In fact, many of them now request that you must be 25 years and below to submit application for their graduate trainee recruitments.
It took the wisdom and experience of my mentor for me to realize that going for masters degree at the age of 26 years without any job experience wasn’t the best for me. That is one of the reasons why I encourage youths to have mentors who can guide them along their career and life decisions.
If I had gone for masters, I would probably graduate at the age of 28 that is if there is no strike action within the two years and getting a good job at that age without previous experience will be be difficult.
At 28, most companies expect you to have nothing less than 2 years of experience and having M.sc. is not equivalent to that two years of experience.
You need to be strategic about going for masters degree if you are yet to get job experience and here are my advice:
1. If you are 23 years and below, going for masters if you don’t quickly get a job is cool
2. If you are 25 years and above, I will advise you to first get a job to get experience and do your masters degree later.
3. If your long-term goal is to end up in the academia as a lecturer, masters is cool.
4. If you don’t have that goal, writing professional exams may be better than going for masters immediately after graduation.
5. If your goal is to own a business later on, going for your masters may be the best decision.
6. Before going for masters, calculate the age you will be done with the program and look at the age requirement in your industry.
7. Life is about doing first thing first and you must know how to prioritize your life.
This is an advice from me, please feel free to disagree and share your views.