I’ll say “we” because I can relate with the graduands (I am pursuing a degree in one university -no need to be exact) and for that reason, I’ll not ostracize brothers and sisters of the gown. I’ll identify with them. The path they have taken (graduating) is one I’ll waltz through one day. It is only better that I embrace whatever it is they are going to have to deal with beforehand.
As the curtains fall on the three, four or five years of being schooled at the highest institutions of learning, so do they fall on the fallacious lives that many a university graduate has taken to for the years preceding their graduation day. For many of the thousands that reach this feat, life changes in one way or the other. Yesterday, drew a close to Makerere university’s 65th graduation ceremony. The week before, it was Kyambogo’s turn to churn out Uganda’s learned future. Those are only but two of the many universities existing today. So, there we are, with thousands of enthusiastic graduates telling a hopeful story of their future as they lament the years spent reading “hard”.
But what are they really graduating into?
Firstly, from being pampered with niceties by parents and guardians alike from that blissful day onward. For all those years, you have received pocket money and allowances but from then on, that is all no more. Your financial situation is no longer secure. At least for the majority. Many a parent feels when the curtains draw to a son’s or daughter’s long education lifetime, they have played their role. That child now no longer needs basic support. The child should now face-off with the troubles of life. Parents will definitely not totally abandoned their own but the basic perks are the first to disappear.
Secondly, for many a parent, it is the close of one chapter of life to another. Education out of the way, in with marriage. This befalls girls most especially. Now that you have a degree, parents believe you have matured and are ready to bring them in-laws. Some parents are so blunt they make this known in their graduation day speeches. At least they throw an innuendo into their speech. Or ask for where he or she is? The graduand will be asked if he/she only went to the university libraries during their leisure time and did not socialize (get any future significant other). In the extreme, parents will make effort to introduce their child to so-and-so during the graduation ceremony.[related_posts]
Do not play dumb. That girl or boy you’re being introduced to is none other than someone your parents find befitting of an in-law. If he/she is the girl next door you have always been trying to “corner” please suit yourself. You just got endorsed by her own as well as your own parents. There’s an alliance that has been formed to get you two to stop wasting time and get the two allies grandchildren already.
For years, you have had about donors and aid. Believe me you, from the day you throw that gown over your shoulders onwards, you too have graduated into a donor. Many people will deem you fit enough to dispense their problems, financial ones in most cases. There’s an old age fallacy that believes when one graduates, that opens their door to a life of prosperity. Many people believe you now have a tree where you can pluck a few shillings for them to sort their financial woes. Be sure to get a phone call from a sibling, relative and even friends you were in the struggle with asking you to send some “mobile money” for ye have officially graduated into a certified donor. It is your time to give aid.
Lastly, on the bleak side, you’re graduating into a rough patch of your life. It is not all roses and rain after graduation for many a graduand. And do not put the blame on being Ugandan. This is now a global trend. Across the world, not everyone gets employed after graduation. That is why there’s not only a rising trend in unemployment in Uganda but across the world. This is the trickiest bit about graduating. For all those years, you said you wanted to be a doctor, lawyer, engineer with hope that a given profession would put you on the right path to prosperity but you may not hit the ground running right away. Many a graduand graduate into unemployment initially. That is why it is important to develop other skills outside your revered profession. Because for the time you’re going to be without a paying job, you will need a “side hustle” to get you going. Remember your parents closed the financial support tap the very instant you graduated.