Preparing for Life after School
After a long day in the Botany final year lab, my seatmate, the Class Rep, turned to me. She asked about my plans for life after school. That discussion wasn’t urgent yet, so we had a pleasant conversation. She had lots of career trajectories: hard and soft skills full ground. And while the option of pursuing her Master’s degree was open, she was also being careful not to follow the obvious path. That path spelt ‘academia,’ and she wasn’t sure she wanted to go that way. Nigeria wasn’t smiling at anyone who went down that lane.
For me, pursuing my Master’s was also a way of delaying the decision I would have to make. I had convinced myself that a master’s degree would help me have an edge over others in the same field, but I was seeing things differently. I asked myself, “What if I was just taking that path because it was the most obvious way available?” Of course, the easiest way was usually the one you didn’t have to think much about. At long last, our conversation ended with the resolve to pray and ask God for direction after being curious about what the other thought the other’s weakness or strength was. It was the first time we would have that conversation. We were going to have subsequent ones in the future.
Then, it was the day we had to write the last of the last papers, and the reality of the next stage of life became real. Several thoughts ran through my mind, knowing I would have to make life-changing decisions very soon.
In summary, I also had fears. I was worried about how my life would turn out after school. Nobody was pressuring me at home. But I knew that if I stayed in my comfort zone, I might have to flow with the tides, taking up any suggestion from family and other well-wishers of what they thought I should do with my life.
“She’s quite fashionable and likes sewing clothes now, open a fashion design outlet for her,” Someone would say. Once the needed equipment was provided, I’d have to flow with it. But I don’t want to live life like that. I want to make the best of my life on earth.
Trying to think out a plan for my life, I tried to calculate the amount of money I spent in a month. It was way more than minimum wage. And that was not including my accommodation in the form of house rent or anything extra. If I were to fend for myself (out of sheer love for independence), I’d soon become a sick reed. The only positive side would be that no one would tell me I needed to work out more.
And there was me, Oliver Twist. “I desire above all things that thou mayest prosper…” was at the back of my mind. I didn’t just want to continue living as comfortably as I did. I also wanted to live a baby girl lifestyle. And that was no beans—my wonderful father and mother were already doing a great job. To keep sane, I had to make do with the Bible verse, “Godliness with contentment is great gain.”
Abi, I no kee person. I just didn’t want to remain at the same stage I was, knowing I was made for more. And no more or less already equipped to live the life God had for me. I was just temporarily scared of the future. I was also temporarily tied up in comparison. I knew girls my age who were already taking on the world, and I knew that God had invested a lot in me. All the power surges I feel in the core of my being when I fellowship with him couldn’t be God playing jokes on me, even though he has a wonderful sense of humour.
So, asking people for their perspective came after God helped me get a grip on my fears, and I became bold to face the next stage. I knew I was moving to a higher stage, and wanted to do it well.
For some of the people I met for interviews, it was like they were waiting for me to ask my questions, as they had ready answers. They answered my questions like they were reading it off a paper. These were the ones that you could say that they knew their future and were excited for their future self.
However, most were still waiting on God. They had put in the work, and taken actionable steps, but they knew within themselves that they still depended on God. And they were ready for what God would do.
During the days of scheduling interviews and hearing differing plans, I learned a lot, and my mind opened to possibilities. I can say that the people I interviewed were vulnerable enough to put out their lives here, typed and available for reading.
When I sent the email concerning the plans recent graduates had for the future, I expected a few people to respond. It was a huge favour I was asking. I was asking people to show me their fears, to speak out about things they might not be really convinced of, or were trying to convince themselves about. After all, that was hope, and God was the unquestionable master planner. I was asking them to go into the recesses of their hearts.
I watched as faces became blank, eyes refused to meet mine. I was probing into them, asking for their vulnerability, promising that it would help others find their way. Being one person who refused to face myself for a while–I avoided my journal and anything that had its colour for a while, so, I understood the feeling of getting people to face reality.
Then the tides turned when I was done interviewing a friend, she offered to interview me. A sudden dread came over me. Of course, I could articulate my thoughts, as I had spent time mulling things over. I shivered slightly as I spelt out my thoughts and expressed my fears, plans, and hopes too, hoping that I sounded confident enough.
Let’s end this episode with a song by Hillsong Young and Free, “Every Little Thing.”
Full ground: A Pidgin version of the word plenty.
I No kee person: Slang/Pidgin version of ‘I killed nobody’.