6 Answers to the ‘What Next’ Question for the Average Nigerian Graduate.

Yesterday, on the 7th of June, 2020, I taught the recent graduates of the National Youth Service Program in my community in Otta, Ogun State, about stepping into a new phase and the things to do next.

Seun Olagunju teaching the recent graduates of the National Youth Service Program in her community in Otta, Ogun State on what next to do after service.

P.S: I had initially wanted to teach them how to prepare for and answer common interview questions but I thought since I could share the resource I had on that with them later on, why not help answer the one question they all probably had in their hearts – what next?

I’m happy I did and today, I thought to share my notes, as well as some of the resources I believe, can tremendously help you navigate this new phase if you too are in this position and asking yourself the ‘what next’ question.

Ready?

.1. Seek God’s Guidance:

With me, coming out of school was like stepping into a very misty atmosphere. I could not see what was coming next and I was scared. Like most of you knew, I had studied the English Language at the Obafemi Awolowo University, a degree that was not so professionally defined and was so open-ended I could literally do anything with it. Simply put, I didn’t know what to do but if there was one thing I knew, it was that:

‘God knows everything, and he says the plans he has for me are good plans to give me a future and a hope.’ Everything else that has come after that for me since leaving school has been basically from seeking God’s guidance and so, today, I implore you to please do the same.

God knows you and He wants to lead you. Click To Tweet

.2. Run with the Vision He Gives you

There is this popular picture I like to share. I’ve inserted it down below. I would like you to look at it and attempt the exercise: which switch lights the bulb?

Have you found the switch that lights the bulb? Was it easy to find? If your answer was yes, how did you find it?

I’ve noticed every time I share this picture that the people who find the switch usually start by tracing the wire from the bulb. it makes it easy as opposed to when you trace the wires from each of the switches itself.

The implication of this analogy is this: Ask God to give you a vision for your life. The light bulb represents that vision. The switches there represent where you are now and the different actions you might be required to take now to make a great life for yourself. Actions like ‘what Masters’ degree to get?’, ‘what job to get?’, ‘what books to read?’, ‘what seminars to attend?’, etc. Trying to figure out the next decision for your life from where you currently are, is like trying to trace which wire lights the bulb from the switches themself. Instead, look at the vision God has given you. Keep looking at it and let that vision, regardless of how big it is, inform the decisions you take today.

Seun Olagunju teaching the recent graduates of the National Youth Service Program in her community in Otta, Ogun State on what next to do after service.

3. Volunteer and Seek Internships:

This really is one of the ways to fill in your work experiences on your CV, because how else does a recent graduate, who is 22 years old have at least 10 years of work experience?

Volunteer. Write to the organizations you love. Don’t be big-mouthed (at least for now – not until you have put good work into your growth and can demand to be paid whatever it is you want for the value you are offering). Ask to serve. Ask to learn and when you do get in, give it your heart and put in so much value that the organization would love to retain you when the opportunity for full-time employment comes.

Seun Olagunju teaching the recent graduates of the National Youth Service Program in her community in Otta, Ogun State on what next to do after service.
Seun Olagunju teaching the recent graduates of the National Youth Service Program in her community in Otta, Ogun State on what next to do after service.

4. Seek Exposure and Gather Knowledge:

The fact that you graduated from a great school in Nigeria doesn’t mean it is time for you to stop learning. You are not a local champion. Your competition should not be the lady next door who did not go to a school as good as yours or the guy down the street who did not complete his secondary education. You are a global leader.

Think of that vision God has given to you. Think of the kinds of places you would like to work in. You’d find that sometimes in aspiring for that dream, you might be put side by side with somebody else who had the privilege of attending an Ivy League; or whose academic grades are better. So, what do you do? You start to seek exposure and global knowledge from where you at. Heck, you can even take a course from an IvyLeague from the comfort of your room. To help, I have included below a few platforms you should check out to help you grow:

Seun Olagunju teaching the recent graduates of the National Youth Service Program in her community in Otta, Ogun State on what next to do after service.

5. Take Opportunities:

As you begin to grow, you’d find that opportunities would come to explore new things. When they do, never say there is anything you cannot do. Never deny yourself the opportunity to apply for something just because you think you do not qualify. More importantly, never limit yourself to your environment, your academic background, your grades, or what your parents can or cannot afford. There always will be more.

6. Be a Solution Provider:

Finally, as you apply for jobs or start your own business, see yourself as a solution provider and not just someone who is looking for money. A solution provider adds value wherever they find themselves. A solution provider looks to develop his/herself always. A solution provider recognizes problems and recognizes that they have what it takes or can learn what it takes to solve that problem. A solution provider offers help in (or not in) exchange for money.


I hope you learned a thing or two? If you did, let me know what you learned in the comments! 🙂 I also cannot end this post without giving special acknowledgment and thanks to the family who put this program together. Daddy Omotayo and the entire Omotayo family, thank you for believing in me and for always creating opportunities such as this to pay forward. Finally (which is my 2nd finally, I know), I say a big thank you to our parents who were also in attendance for their willingness to listen and teach on that day; and more importantly, for seeing us this far. We love you!

Till later guys,

With Love,

Tirzah.


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Author: Seun Olagunju

I'm just a simple 24-year-old girl, living for One and working to make the world a better place than I met it. I love to teach and tell stories, which is what I do as a blogger. I'm also the founder of Beyond the Surface Development Initiative. There, I reach out to teenagers by educating and empowering them, with an aim to curb the increasing number of teenage pregnancies and school drop-outs in Nigeria. When I'm not writing or involved in a social project, I work as a Product Manager with a tech firm in Lagos, Nigeria.

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