Graduating from university is a major milestone in a person’s life. A lot of people look forward to it because they’re looking forward to exploring what the world out there is like beyond school. I spoke to four Nigerian graduates who finished uni in 2020, about how life has been treating them since they left the struggle that is Nigerian universities and this is what they had to say.
“I have two businesses but neither of the businesses is making much money at the moment”
— *Chidinma, 22
Studied: English (Literature major), Babcock University
I graduated in June 2020, and my life has been a mess since then. I was excited about graduating; I couldn’t wait to be done with school. I didn’t exactly have high expectations for life after school: I wanted to get an internship at a media house, I wanted to go for NYSC and then come back and continue working at a media house. I wanted to earn real money, take care of my family and live the baby girl life. What a joke.
A managing director of a popular media house in Nigeria promised me an internship once I graduated, only for him to ghost me. That was one of the first ways that life showed me pepper. After many interviews, I finally got a job in October 2020, but unfortunately, I ended up having the worst boss ever. He’d ask me to do ridiculous tasks that had nothing to do with my job description. I swept office and got sent to buy food. The last straw was when he asked some of my colleagues and me to close the office for the day and come over to his house to clean it.
After that, I got a teaching job at a school, but the school owed salaries month after month and they also treated staff terribly, so I left. I decided to go the entrepreneur way.
I now have two businesses, but neither of the businesses is making much money at the moment, but I’m pushing through. I’m starting my NYSC with the next batch that’s coming up in July 2022. After my service year, I want to either leave this country or marry a rich man, because a girl is tired.
“Why does all my money go into buying essentials I need to survive?”
Studied: Psychology, Covenant University
I was done with school in November 2020, but because of COVID, I officially graduated in May 2021. Schooling during the pandemic wasn’t easy, and I was tired. I couldn’t wait to be done with school.
In my third year at university, I had already started thinking about life after graduation. I knew I would have to do NYSC before getting a full-time job, so I planned to take courses related to my field and learn some new skills while serving. I started NYSC in May 2021 in Akwa Ibom, and I got a job in June at a psychiatric home. I was happy when I got the job because I wanted to work in a place that would allow me practise psychology, but honestly, it’s been tough.
I knew leaving school, working and adulting wouldn’t be easy and I had mentally prepared myself for it, but the fact that I’m working and most of my money goes into buying essentials I need to survive is the ghetto. I want to use my money for enjoyment. I knew I’d be responsible for myself, but nobody ever tells you that it’d be this difficult.
I’m finishing my NYSC this April. I plan to get a virtual assistant job for about six months while I take a course about mental health. Then, at some point, I want to start applying for jobs. I’m looking at jobs in a clinic or HR firm. Hopefully, it works out.
“Apart from the money, I get the chance to live my life beyond the walls of a single place.”
Studied: Mechanical Engineering, Lagos State Polytechnic
I graduated with one of the highest grades in my class. I was optimistic about life after graduation, but not too optimistic as the degree I hold is a Higher National Diploma (HND). Do you know how hard it is to get a job as an HND holder without NYSC?
I couldn’t wait to graduate, especially because I was schooling and working a part-time job at the same time. I was excited to leave the stress of school behind and focus solely on working and earning proper money.
Thankfully, I didn’t really have to look for a job. A friend that worked in an oil and gas firm in Edo state called me in April 2021 to send my CV, and that’s how I started working in June. I haven’t done NYSC because I never liked the idea of going off for one year and then coming back to begin job hunting. I’ve always planned to get a job first and then serve so that I don’t have to look for work for too long once I’m done.
So far, I like working and I like the world outside of school. I miss school sometimes, and school had its fun moments, but school gets boring. You see the same old faces, have classes, and it’s all just the same cycle at some point.
But in the outside world, you meet different people, and so you have so many different experiences. Apart from the money, you get the chance to live your life beyond the walls of a single place.
“I think the wildest thing about adulting and work-life for me so far is how cynical and unhappy I’ve become.”
— *Chibuike, 22
Studied: Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Covenant University
I had very high expectations for life after graduation. I expected to get a job immediately after graduation and to be earning ₦500,000 before the end of 2021. I also expected to work remotely. I didn’t want to deal with the ghetto that’s traffic and didn’t want any anxiousness over lateness. Plus, I wanted to be very flexible with work, to do things on my own time. In summary, I expected my work life to be very soft.
My work life is anything but soft. I have the flexibility I want, but everything else is stressful and I’m struggling. NYSC is one of the things that’s making my life a living hell. Ever since my relocation from Benue to Lagos didn’t work, I’ve been suffering.
I think the wildest thing about adulting and work-life for me so far is how cynical and unhappy I’ve become. I feel like a shell of my former self. I just get through each day after the next. Even things I used to enjoy feel stressful now. I have a Netflix subscription, but I haven’t watched a single show in months because I’m either working or sleeping or fighting for my life in Nigeria.
I’ll be done with NYSC in a few weeks, and I’ll be moving back into my parents’ house. This should give me some peace of mind. Maybe I’ll be able to plan my life and my time better when I’m not worrying about a thousand things.