By: Tolu Ayeye
Not much is said or reflected on life after school, nearly every undergraduate hopes and reminisces on the time when they would finally get to leave the four wide walls of this school However, not much thought is given to life beyond the walls of lecture theatre and the halls of residence. This is so for students who are still undergraduates, and it was probably the same for some of those who already graduated. Usually, students are often too excited about getting done with their studies (for the right reasons too) that they forget that life after graduation might not be as easy as they perceive. This piece looks into the life of recent graduates of the University of Ibadan, their reflections about their days as students.
Plunged Into The ‘Real’ World
As the protective cocoon of academia gradually fades away, many recent graduates find themselves navigating a world starkly different from the one they envisioned during their student years. Life after school unfolds as an unexpected journey, leaving countless young adults unprepared for its challenges. For many, life after school is definitely something they did not expect; many expected a smooth living, however, it wasn’t what they got.
For David Ogunyemi, a graduate from the Department of Sociology, he believes that school does not prepare people enough for the outside world. “Life after school has been an experience that school never properly prepares you for. Courses you did thinking might make a difference, just go out the window and you find yourself leaning towards more practical skills. The ability to communicate becomes an important ally,” he said.
For some other students like Anthony Timilehin, one of the things that stand out the most, is the loneliness. In his own words, “The loneliness is out of this world.”
While the post-graduation landscape remains a labyrinth of uncertainties for many, some graduates view life beyond academia through a different lens. Some were already a step ahead, making plans for what they knew would be difficult times and others describe that compared to school, life outside school is simply a relief.
For example, Asaye, a graduate from Human Kinetics explains that while life after school is a not so easy, he is not any under pressure whatsoever because he made plans which he is driving out. His insight to make plans according to him is driven by his passion to be successful.
Romolah describes life outside the University as a fresh of breath air.
“But for me, I have a whole lot going on for me outside University life. I enjoy my own company, and I savour the taste of idleness when I have it like I sort of do now, because I know soon, a flood of anxiety, pressure and tasks would overwhelm me once NYSC camp begins,” she explains.
Joys and Regrets
It has been said by so many people that the University isn’t just the place to go to a classroom and remain there but rather, a place to explore and grab as many skills and opportunities that would be of help after graduation. The transition from university life to the realities of the post-graduation world brings with it an array of reflections and sentiments, as graduates contemplate the choices and opportunities they embraced or missed during their academic journey.
Vincent, for example, wishes that he had tried networking more.
“I didn’t have that much of a network while on campus. And it pains (sic) till now. The likes of AISEC, Sigma clubs, Taxpayer clubs, Press clubs, social events, and even sporting events.
In my whole stay on campus, I only played on Indy’s pitch not more than 5 times, though I can play football to a degree. And I didn’t attend Jaw War not even once.”
He also explains that he wished he added more pressure to his spiritual life and ventured into a skill early and also stayed away from excessive spending.
Amidst the reflections and musings of life post-university, it’s not all regrets and missed opportunities. For some, the university experience serves as a reservoir of invaluable experiences that continue to shape and enrich their daily lives.
Their stories emphasize that the choices and endeavors made during university years can be sources of lasting impact and empowerment, whether through meaningful connections, personal growth, or academic techniques that prove their worth long after graduation.
“The thing I did do that is still a big part of my everyday life now was my involvement in media and communications while in school with the school radio station, Diamond FM, it helped me develop as a person, leader and a communicator, all of which is at the forefront of what I currently do.” David stated.
Vincent, on the other hand, shows gratitude to the friends he made on campus and the ethics he kept back in school.
Romolah goes on to give her own piece.
“Something that I did that is of great help to me now is, I did look out for amazing self improvement opportunities in my final year, and it led me to the creation of GLANCE Club and meeting trail blazing innovative youths at CampusLabs Employability Incubator ’23.”
Others tell tales of getting involved with side hustles as well as taking up jobs and how that has helped them financially as they navigate their way through life outside of school.
New times, Old friends
The journey through life, both during and after school, is undeniably intertwined with the friendships we form along the way. These bonds, often nurtured within the hallowed halls of educational institutions, serve as pillars of support, companions through challenges, and sources of enduring connection. Yet, as life progresses and distances widen, the challenge of maintaining these relationships emerges.
In David’s words, “It has been difficult keeping up with friends after school. You realize that after school, the friends you keep in touch with dwindle to just a handful and keeping up with them can still be difficult.”
Daniel agrees with David about the difficulties in keeping up with friends, however, he believes that intentionality is key to that.
“Life can be really busy after school but one has to be intentional in sustaining such relationships. Technology has made life easy. The calls and WhatsApp messages has helped to bridge the gap even when the distance is great among us,” he explains.
Adedeji Adelagun was unreserved about his friends. He stated, “I have wonderful friends and I don’t think I can trade them for even gold or silver. When I asked God for a gift, he sent the love of true friends. I check up on my friends from time to time, we are adults and I understand that everyone is dealing with one thing or the other, so we hang out occasionally and text from time to time. Also, they’ve helped in different ways, I’ve received money often from my friends, they’ve helped with talks and advice that shaped some of my views about life.”