The notion that one needs to go to school in order to secure a guaranteed future, is one I grew up with.
There is a chance that is the case with you as well. And even though it is not entirely true, we have held on to it like an eternal doctrine.
It has been easy to fall for it because our society is structured with much emphasis and opportunities tied to formal education, academic knowledge and certifications.
But you only need to look around you to realize you mustn’t be literate to be successful. Nothing is cast in stone. There is no one-jacket-fits-all formula for success in life. Only that, whatever you do, literacy and education will add some spice to it and possibly make you more successful and influential.
That’s because, beyond knowledge and certification, going to school offers other benefits. For instance, it gives us exposure. We get to become more aware of (and understand better), the world we live in and what principles society is founded upon. We become more enlightened and put our mind to work more.
As good as these are, the most important part is that going to school helps many of us achieve self-discovery.
What most people are (or do) today is what they figured out they could do (or are wired for) and probably started doing while they were in one educational institution or the other. Take some time to think about it. You’ll realize that most people you know began to define their real interests and inclinations only when they arrived at the ivory tower.
Some others only got started on the path to understanding their real selves while in school. And the pathway for them climaxed just a short time after college.
Why this seems to always be so for majority of us is not crystal clear.
But it could be because there are a variety of options, responsibilities, opportunities and directions to experiment, explore and experience in school. Talk about sports, music, business, politics, scholarship, entertainment, volunteering, religion and spirituality and so on. The list is endless.
And the fact that the youthful stage of life is what most of us are in at the time we attend college, helps all that too.
Being an adventurous and inquisitive phase, we taste a couple of things that pique our interest and eventually find a landing spot.
It is a good thing for a young person to have achieved self-discovery and self-realization after leaving college. It helps give confidence and proper direction to such when facing the real world. This is important; considering the post-school life uncertainties and mid-life crisis we all grapple with immediately after.
In the final analysis, going to college is not as much a determinant of success in life as is the experiences going to college gives one. More often than not, finding yourself and defining who you are, comes along with those experiences.
And we should be grateful for that.
Ogaga Eruteya is a Nigerian Christian minister, writer and speaker. He writes on Faith, Personal Development, Youth Development, and Life Realities. With his words, he seeks to inspire, motivate, propagate life’s truths and represent a sincere Christian voice. Learn more about Ogaga here.