Don’t contemplate when I address you “siblings” in my salutation. I don’t know majority of you, and most of you don’t know me either, but one thing is certain and that is, you are my younger brothers and sisters. Though we may not be blood related or we may not come from the same clan, ethic origin or tribe, I chose to address you this way because by national extension, I consider you and myself included as part of the big Ghanaian family under one umbrella.
And it’s upon the foundation of this big united Ghanaian family, that out of my busy schedules, I took the pain to write this letter to you as a big brother. I have a firmly humble believe that the content of this letter will be beneficial to at least one of you provided you will have the patience to read to the end and apply its lessons. In this letter, I will be sharing with you perhaps what many people do not know, and for the few who know, will not be willing to share with you.
Before I proceed, I want to congratulate you on your success and good performances in the recently released WASSCE results. This congratulatory message goes to all of you irrespective of your performances in the WASSCE. Majority of you had a shock of your life after checking your results because you simply didn’t believe what you saw! Your result was just unbelievably poor to you! You couldn’t believe yourself nor your eyes!
Some of you thought of rejecting your own WASSCE result because you thought you had performed way below your expectations, and that of your tutors, parents, guardians, relatives and friends. Others too can’t and will never ever be bold enough any day any moment to show their results to their friends. In extreme cases, some can’t even show it to their parents.
Many had and are still having sleepless nights due to maybe, how shameful they think their results are. Many have cried and are still crying. However, a few are proud of themselves for their excellent and great performances. You know what? All these things are expected and are part of your academic journey. It makes the journey more dramatic, memorable, and sometimes interestingly sad. It is a way to show you how to develop shock absorbers if you have developed none yet.
My concern and reason for this letter however, is not about how excellently you performed in the WASSCE or how woefully you performed, but the critical life-long decisions you make in your academic pursuits as and when you have your WASSCE result, especially the unexpected WASSCE certificate in your hands.
Many of you are late teenagers in your late adolescent stage. Young people like you still need lots of career guidance for your collective good. It’s very unfortunate such things do not happen often in our schools.
From observation and with huge social media influence coupled with legal stipulations, many of you do not see the need why you should listen to your parents, and people who matter most in your life when it comes to making academic or and life-long decisions.
The general notion is that you are of age and that you can make personal lifetime decisions on your own without any guidance. The hard core truth is, it is mostly, always not so. At this age, you want to be left alone; the temptation to break away from parental control, guidance and advice is high. And you tend to listen more to your peers rather than your parents and others who matter most.
I know you have ambitions you want to fulfill. I know you have dreams you want to achieve. I know you have that particular course in mind you want to pursue at the tertiary. I know how you have trumpeted it in the ears of your parents, siblings, relatives, tutors, and friends for many years. But then, the result you have in your hands now doesn’t look too good to allow you offer that which you want to pursue.
To me, this is the most critical moment in your life. This is the time to critically ponder over your next set of moves before you move. This is the time to use your brain more, not your emotions. This is not the time to gamble with your future in the name of following friends. With all carefulness, this is the time to consider other good alternatives. This is not the time to act on impulse.
This is the time to close your ears to friends and most people and open it only to good counsels from selectively wise people who have genuinely good intentions for you and want you to succeed. This is the time to think deep and right before acting.
University and other tertiary admissions will soon be out for the next academic year, and many of you may not be admitted to do your preferred courses. Don’t rush in accepting just any course because you want to be at the university with your friends. Don’t follow friends and find yourself in a wrong school doing a wrong program. Don’t follow friends and find yourself at the right school doing the wrong program. Don’t follow the masses and be caught up in a web full of mistakes.
The moment you have found yourselves in, many voices will be speaking to you. And that is the main reason you must be extra careful in which of them you listen to. There are those who will be telling you that first degree is not very important and that it is your masters degree that matters so just accept whatever course you have been offered. And that you can do your masters degree immediately after your first degree in order to stay relevant.
Meanwhile those telling you that haven’t gotten their masters degree yet. Have you asked them why? If it were easy, they would have had theirs. It’s almost impossible to foot masters degree bills immediately after first degree if you are not gainfully employed or coming from a wealthy family or perhaps by scholarship. And please discard the notion that your parents will pay your second degree bills. That is a no-starter.
The national unemployment frustrations of many university graduates and graduates who have completed other tertiary institutions are all but outcomes of life-long decisions people made with their senior high school education certificates. Wherever anyone of you will be tomorrow in your academic or professional pursuit will ultimately be based on the decisions each of you will make with your WASSCE result. You must be guided by your choice of school and program if you want to progress on good career path. With your result in your hands, any decision you make, literally changes your life purpose and rhythm.
You cannot bear the disappointments and frustrations later in life. Don’t toy with your life today and get the rejection of a lifetime from the very people you thought you were trying to please. No one really cares about you so much as you may ignorantly be thinking.
It is not compulsory to go to tertiary right after completing senior high school! You can wait and engage yourself in a useful venture. And when the timing is right, you can then further your education. Don’t run ahead of God. Already the graduate unemployment rate is high. Don’t rush to join the queue. The frustration is choking!
You may be wondering whether or not there are wrong courses. And you want me to answer? Let me leave you with a proverbial rhetorical question. Maybe, in your attempt to find out more from wise people, you will be lucky to get the right answer. If a bird and fish insist on having a date, where will they meet for their affair?
Till I come your way again, take care.
Edward Etse Aloryito
Columnist: Edward Aloryito