It is so painful to learn that the outcome of a specific activity is bound to limit an individual in future and perhaps for the rest of one’s life. I was compelled to write this after a conversation which I had with a student who aimed to attain a mere passing mark for a degree qualification. My comment was: “. . . it is unfortunate that getting a mere passing mark such as an average of 50% affects one for the rest of one’s life such as progression and competition on the job market to some extent. . .”
For a significant percentage of learners, career planning seems not to be taken care of. Talking from experience, I had conversations with various learners for the past four years and I have noted that some are offered study courses which were not their first choices.
This is a dilemma in which affected individuals have limited choice on whether to accept the offer or reject. There are various reasons behind and I will limit this article to what I have learnt from the conversations:
With some learners, there is little or no relationship on their natural abilities and the courses they are studying.
Some learners make application into courses they wish to take a career yet their background academic performance would be against such an option. This is so in that tertiary institutions have some guidelines such as minimum requirements to enrol a particular learner into a course.
Interestingly, Fraiser and Killen (2003) emphasises that institutions should enrol students on the probability that the particular learners will successfully complete the course. However, this seems to be actual situation on the ground. This could have been influenced by the various FET Colleges (in the case of South Africa) or private institutions in other countries.
Private institutions seem to be competing for getting clients. It is painful in that at the end we witness learners who are enrolled for qualifications they are literally challenged. With such misconduct, I would casually insist that we should not be shocked by the low through put or success rate. This has many implications not only to learners, but to the education system and the economy as well.
On learner, stress would be the order of the learning process is the learner is not a fast learner. Educationally, the increased failure rate continues to make headlines in newspapers and economically, learners spend more money in repeating courses.
The money could have been invested in other economic activities. Students lose time through repeating courses and such precious time could be spent on earning income if the learner had completed within minimal time.
Despite the presence of a myriad of issues that influence the success of learners, an internal locus of control is vital for learners to challenge the status quo and make positive performance outcomes which will leverage their possible future initiatives. One has to accept that a positive outcomes starts from within, action is needed when there is still time.
Ask any graduating student to list the most pressing issues and you won’t be surprised the aspect of ‘life after graduation’ will be among the top. This is a case in most countries where unemployment is high when learners after graduation seem to be given a ticket of a ‘qualified and official unemployed’. In simpler term degree certificate now seems to be a certificate or proof of being unemployed as more often we learn of people who have such hardly earned documents not serving its purpose. . . or getting a job which does not call for one particular field of specialisation. Identifying ways that graduates can opt to buffer themselves upon this traumatizing wave of winds is paramount. In this article, I discuss my own experiences and insights on what graduates undergo once they are successfully released from tertiary institutions.
Year end indeed is the most stressful time for final year students as that’s when reality begins – with two options – perpetual stress or happiness. It is the most defining moment in life. This is most painful when one is aware of the trends on the job market [unemployment is in every country due to challenges in reaching a positive economic growth and job creation for the increasing economically active labour force].
I always remember the excitement that students have once they are accepted to study at tertiary institutions as it can be literally translated to a positive relationship towards a brighter future. However, the reality seems to be far from this. The saddest part is that some learners tend to be taken over by the waves of a student life that some do not plan for an exit strategy (after graduating). Instead of building meaningful relationships to secure a starting point after graduation, some would be enjoying like crazy (sad to note this). I am sure no one would like to be a point of reference on a bad connotation except for the celebrity.
Gone are the days when completing a degree was something one can be proud of – it resembled an achievement with a better life. This probably meant that one is about to realise the returns on investment (education). We are now in an era where education seems to be a risky investment, unprofitable to say the least to most of us. This is due to the fact that more often, one is guaranteed to plunge into unemployment after graduating with a degree unless with good support structures. This is worsened by the fact that some learners pursue degrees that do not relates to their natural abilities [e.g. a Marketer (naturally) doing Accounting just because one was told Accounting is the high paying job or due to some unfortunate circumstances when one could not secure a place in a desired course].
The trend seems to be shifting into unexpected folds. Graduating with flying colours nowadays seems to be of less value to a person who intends to secure a job after graduating with a degree for instance. Skills are essential and this calls for learners to be juggling with gaining practical experience while they are studying to stand a better chance in comparison to the knowledgeable inexperienced graduate. On the other hand, flying colours are ideal to learners who aim to pursue further qualification as this helps, at times, in getting assistance such as scholarship to further study or for meeting minimum performance requirements.
University now seems to be a hiding place or a hive to while time whilst make attempts to seek something in the highly competitive job market. This is typical in countries with high levels of unemployment coupled with minimal levels of entrepreneurial development. This would point out to learners who, at times, enrol for a master’s qualification even when an individual has no intention for pursuing masters. Getting enrolled for a qualification seem to be relieving than graduating.
At one time, I was contemplating to attend a graduation ceremony considering the time and money spent in preparation. I always thought I could use this for something more economical. This could be a detour to consider by fresh graduates. Some would even prefer not to attend the graduation ceremony due to an additional cost which would be more likely to be incurred as part of the preparations as indicated above. That little money could be saved towards simple issues such as CV printing (those still applying offline) and attending to interviews.
Parents expect graduates to be independent despite the escalating levels of unemployment in every country. When a learner graduates, a general expectation increases from the learner. Such a typical graduate will be faced with extreme pressure from all directions including starting a family.
However, this seems to be a different to someone who is doing a degree of choice, well prepared for the market not relying to the forces of unemployment. It’s unfortunate that very few falls in such a category such as the entrepreneurs. Despite the opinion that this turns to be untrue when some students feels as if they are caught unaware as if time is working against them, on the other hand, this is a bit different to some students who plans ahead of time and to entrepreneurial minded learners. It has to be acknowledged that not everyone in the world can be an employer as some have to be employed. However, naturally, there are some people who are meant to work for others unless they learn the competences and skills required. It is unfortunate that the education system supports the notion that more employees are needed yet it is now vice-versa, more employers are needed. It is painful to learn a number of graduates who sacrificed immeasurable efforts only to plunge into the pool of unemployment.
Doing part-time jobs and in-service training during the time of study is critical towards a safe exit from tertiary study.
If Facebook was a Degree program, many individuals would pass with Cum laude grades. Most people spend every extra minute facebooking. Some are very excellent at analysing (user experience) that they even identify the weaknesses of some features and propose for possible changes on facebook. It is not only amazing to note how individuals find it simple to self study Facebook without a manual and again everyone will mostly be smiling when facebooking.
INTERESTING: Imagine, if we turn this, replacing the word “Facebook” with your “study course” e.g. Human Resources Management; and “facebooking” with “studying”. Great graduate will be produced.