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Dear Friend, In a country where many universities are struggling and some have already begun to decay, students like you, who still strive for excellence and greatness against the odds, are in the minority. I want you to know that I’m rooting for you, and I have a few things to share with you that will help you if you don’t merely read, but actually, take them to heart. Build solid friendships with your classmates. Even that one who doesn’t look serious and probably won’t amount to much in life? Don’t ignore them. Success is about relationships, relationships, and relationships. Begin now to understand the value of a network, and don’t burn bridges. Build relationships with people who have graduated and are in the workforce, or are job hunting and going for interviews. In this age of social media, this is easier for you than it was for me. I didn’t have a single friend who wasn’t a student. This is a very narrow and restrictive way to live. Talk to people who are already making their way in the world, and find a friend who knows a thing or two about recruitment and human capacity development. Actively seek mentoring relationships with people in the fields that interest you, and learn from their mistakes. The world is broader than the courses you’re studying in school. Listen to their advice and experiences. This will help you understand your options more. Right now, it may seem as though the only important thing in your life is making good grades. Yes, it’s most important for this phase of your life; you don’t want to look back and realise you could have done better if only you had been focused. However, other things like learning a skill are important too, be it coding or playing an instrument. You never know when these things will come in handy. Mastering soft skills like understanding and managing people is also important. Read about this, and apply it to your daily life. It’s good to start preparing for team playing and leadership now. If you can, find an internship every holiday. Volunteer for your departmental/faculty magazine or campus radio station. Learn a thing or two about business, perhaps by starting a small one. If you have a craft, carve out some time to hone it. You may have been told fanciful things about the course you’re studying and how it will make you wealthy and famous. Or, you may have been told disheartening things about your course of study, how it is of little value in the labour market, or even a complete waste of time. I’m not sure if you realize yet that you can make something phenomenal out of your life that isn’t related to what you’re studying in school. When you grasp this reality, you will worry less, and make better decisions in life. As much as you can, focus on courses that hone your strengths and skills, instead of being overly focused on areas where you’re weak. Learn patience and perseverance. Don’t be in a hurry to “make it”, or fret about what the future holds. Keep calm and trust your journey. Don’t give up even when things do not go as expected. As you prepare for your future, don’t forget to enjoy the now. All of the things you do now, shape your life’s experiences. Do keep your grades up and study every single day no matter how little, but also try out some extracurricular activities and pursue opportunities outside your department or faculty. Balance is key. Above all, value excellence and learn to take pride in doing things properly. Always put in your best. Show up fully. There’s so much half-heartedness and mediocrity in the world that you’ll be surprised what a huge difference simply doing things well, and being fully present, can make in your life’s journey. All the best, Joy.       Featured Image Credit:

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This article was first published on 23rd December 2017


Joy Ehonwa is an editor and a writer who is passionate about relationships and personal development. She runs Pinpoint Creatives, a proofreading, editing, transcription and ghostwriting service. Email: pinpointcreatives [at]

Comments (2)

2 thoughts on “Letter to my Friend, the Nigerian Undergraduate”

  • Whoa! I gave a career talk to a group of undergraduates a little while back, and these were the exact words i told them. I really hope the target audience take these truths to heart.Even those of us in the workplace can borrow a tip or two. Thanks Joy.

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