– By Tayo Faloye
She sauntered into our centre, greeted and sat down adjacent me. I was all by myself typing & editing.
Obviously frustrated by the strike extension, she had come to seek counsel on what to do with her time after her hope of a resolution between ASUU and the FG was dashed. She’s a final year student of Mass Communication and was one of our ICT Trainees a shortwhile back, referred by her elder sister who’s also our old trainee.
I was glad she was thinking right. Told her to create a CV, derobe herself off any unrealistic expectations as an undergraduate, if she truly wanted to be productively engaged instead of lazing at home. “There are many vacancies around going unfilled today because many youths are unwilling to work; go jump on any one you find, be it at a Tech Company, Fastfood Outlet, Pharmacy, Supermart or wharever. The experience will come handy for you later”, I advised.
She spoke about her worries over transportation fares and i told her to search within her immediate environs. Since i work in that axis, i knew it’s a matter of time before she got a job to occupy her time. I went on to share my experiences with her on things I did with my time as an undergraduate…
Inspired by a friend like a brother, TJ, who did well for himself in business while on campus as an undergraduate back in the days and shared insights following my inquisitiveness, i had raised some money, about N10k or so, in my 100level with which I travelled down to Cotonou alongside my younger brother for the business of buying stuffs for resale. It’s a long story. I just wanted to earn my own money without being a burden to anyone. Our mother must have retired or nearing it at that time.
Also, at that period, computers were already emerging strong. Since i was going to school from home, i enrolled at the 1st computer institute at Festac, RIZEN, for evening session in Computer Operation & Application, powered by DOS (Disk Operating System) in 200level. After lectures, i would get back to town for computer classes. Soon, DOS went obsolete with the emergence of Windows and i enrolled again in my final year at the same institute for a course upgrade in Microsoft Office.
In-between, in 300level, I decided to occupy myself by using my holiday period to work. Spoke to a close friend who was working in the shipping dept of a production company, having gone through freighting tutelages under the guidance of his Dad who was a heavyweight in the industry. He took it up for me but the desired destination was elusive. I ended up as a Clearing Clerk (INTERN) in a Clearing & Forwarding Agency at Apapa, Bolak Nigeria Enterprises. Without pay or any stipends, i would find my way daily to Apapa, Wharf Road, from Festac. It was harrowing. I was learning the ropes of the business by performing administrative duties in the office and going with senior colleagues to the Tincan Port for field works. Unfortunately, i could only do it for just one holiday session due to the distance and transportation fare issues. After graduation, i went further acquiring more trainings and skills across board, which i can’t all mention now for space.
Despite the exuberance and rascally lifestyle as a youth then, there was never a time I was ever pushed, coerced or dragged by my parent or anybody to be self-driven like a famished but unwilling baby being force fed. I was always thinking, looking ahead and seeking opportunities. All the cumulative trainings, work experiences and exposures prepared me for the entrepreneurial journey embarked on later till date, propelled by some health impediments. Some of those stints played a substantial role in promptly helping me adapt to one of my major banking duties of Computer Data Capturing during my NYSC program and stood me out in sealing my first real job as an ICT Tutor in a Private School upon graduation despite studying Linguistics (B.A English) for 1st degree.
Why am i sharing this?
The elder sister of the lady in question popped in yesterday to say Hi. I asked after her younger sister and she told me she has gotten a place to work pending school resumption. I was happy she heeded my candid suggestion when she sought it. Knowing how tasking and difficult it is to advice, let alone groom or mentor young people today set in their ways, the least we can do is share our experiences to help them learn and shape their decision from our errors and accomplishments.
Youth, it’s not enough to lament, curse govt and ASUU or a situation you have no control over. Your time is yours to manage; put it to judicious use. Do not leave life to random chances. Let opportunity meet you striving legitimately and prepared instead of indolently waiting for a big hit in one fell swoop. You would be glad you did looking back tomorrow.
– Tayo Faloye.