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Opinions of Saturday, 27 April 2019

Columnist: Robert Abalungo

University Degrees – the Burdens, uses and uselessness

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A university degree is an academic hot cake which is often chased by high school graduates. But why is a university degree so important, such that people (including myself) often kill to get one. University degrees don't come for free; they come at a high cost.

The answers are obvious. We live in a human society that heaps praises successful people. Accordingly, many people believe that a higher level of education brings success and recognition. Parents and financial institutions such as TestforGhana and Brighter Investment Ltd spend hugely in financing student degrees.

This is because, education is understood to be the key to success. That's true, but not entirely. This article will enlighten us to understand the importance of university degrees, the uselessness of university degrees and the ways one can properly use a university degree.

I have been internally inspired to write this article because, I just graduated from the University (KNUST) with a degree in Physics. While currently undertaking my National Service obligation, I have been thinking hard about the certificate I just obtained. How can I use it to make money? Why did I spend four years to acquire a certificate?

The Importance/Uses of University Degrees

As a fresh graduate, I don't regret the four years I spent at the university, studying Physics. But wait! That’s Wrong! Actually, I was learning about life and opportunities, alongside my academic course of study. The university ground is not only for academic activities. It is the best place one find wisdom and interact with people from diverse cultures and ethnic backgrounds.

Now, don't get me wrong. It's not only on a university campus that one can meet people from different parts of the globe. Mingling and learning from friends and strangers, happens in all educational institutions. But at a university, you even get to meet more gurus and weirdos, like myself.

If you are lucky enough to find yourself in a university, then make good use of that opportunity to learn from the talents (abilities) of your friends and teachers (lecturers). They all have unique potentials that you can freely tap and develop yourself. I'm talking about learning all the positive things (whether academic or social). Also, make good use of the internet to enrich your mind.

For me, I learned everything (good and bad) from my lecturers and colleagues. This has allowed me to graduate as a more enlightened individual who thinks and sees things differently. I was affiliated to the Unity Hall (a Powerful Continental). At Unity Hall, I met great roommates such as Naawu Heston Tetteh (Telecom Engineering), Jeff Atuobi (Natural Resources), Bruce Gyampo (Business Administration) and Melchizedek (Geography).

As you can see, all of them were awesome guys in different fields. As an erratic guy, I liked to argue with these guys on various topics. It was for fun and also for learning. Shout outs to all my former roommates at the Continental Hall; it's the best place to meet heroes. From my second year till completion, I also shared a room with Ayine Dominic (Pharamacy) and Felix Napson (Biochemistry). Again, we had a good time together, I learned a lot from them; I hope they also learned something small from me

A university degree is a necessary academic qualification which markets its holders in the job market. Simply put, employers scan through the educational qualification (degrees) of applicants to select their potential workers. That's the beauty of getting a higher education; you get employed to make use of your skills and also make money ????.

Nothing is sweeter than that. The problem is that; some university degrees rather take jobs away from their owners. I pray you don't become a victim to this graduate unemployment disease in our country. A lot of us went in for bigger degrees because we want to be recognized (respected) in society, we want to get good jobs and make our parents proud, make our guardians and sponsors proud. Fortunately, it's also possible to live a successful life without even acquiring a university degree. Several millionaires, billionaires and businessmen have done that before. You can also do it.

All the same, a university degree is important, irrespective of its academic strength (first class, second class or whatsoever). The good news is that; all serious university graduates can get good jobs if they want. As a student, you can try to get a first class honor (if you want and if you can), but don't mourn and regret about your poor qualification. It’s possible for you to achieve greatness with it

The Uselessness of University Degrees

Some university degrees rather become a burden to their holders. I still don't know whether I am of them or I will be one of them. But chances are that, I will escape the graduate unemployment trap. It's common to find degree holders suffering from depressions, anxiety, stress and other negative life situations.

This is so unfortunate; I never wish to see this happen to any of my friends. It is so sad to watch parents cry with their jobless wards whom they invested so much on, but gained nothing. Before you succumb yourself to unemployment, think about the reason which convinced you to go for a degree.

Don't be taken unawares; we were always reminded that the outside world is messy. It's full of trials and tribulations, rejections and disapproval. It is as if there is a force of destruction purposely created to make nonsense of the degrees obtained by graduates. The struggle is real; the rat race is real. There are family expectations, your girlfriend expects you to marry her. Haters will begin to laugh at you for your failure to get a job. In summary, a university degree is meaningless and useless if it doesn't bring any form of reward to the degree holders and his society.

How to Properly Use a University Degree

One cannot maximally utilize a university degree if you don't understand what you learnt back at the university. As previously suggested, you have to assume that the university environment offered you enough training for you to succeed in the outside world. Even if the university didn't do enough in teaching you about the realities of life after school, you could have done that yourself.

The university campus offers a serene environment for students to identify and build on their talents. Therefore, no graduate has an excuse to fail. It offered you an opportunity to meet and interact with thousands of students. What did you learn from them? To properly use a university degree, take a sober reflection on your skills. What did people compliment you on? What were you good at? What are you passionate about? Aside your academic work, what other classes did you take?

Then go after it; that's where your money lies. Use what you learned. You mustn’t necessarily look for jobs related to your course of study. That will be a very bad idea (a mistake). For example, even though I studied BSc. Physics, I'm now into writing/blogging. That is because I have a natural affection for writing or expressing myself. That doesn't mean I didn't love Physics. I always say that, I'm a good writer today because of Physics. Physics opens your eyes and mind to see, think and understand the universe. It afforded me the chance to learn all the weird stuff about physical science. I even specialized in Electronics. As I write today, I still study physics (electronics).

Now, back to the usage of university degrees, all you need is to achieve legal success. It doesn’t matter where you find it. Remind yourself about why you opted for a degree. Remind yourself about your family's investment. Remind yourself about your guardians and sponsors. Remember that you can't fail them. Likewise, you can't fail yourself.

Once you understand that there is no good reason for you fail, then you can think hard and succeed (despite the unemployment situation). You just need to be smart in thinking and you will get a job. If you can't get a job, then create one. You might even end up employing others.

In conclusion, I mean that a university is very important in securing a job. However, if a graduate fails to apply what he/she learned for a degree, then disappointments can set in. Your future is bright; don’t be caught in the unemployment trap.

I thank all those who supported me to secure a university degree. Thanks to TestforGhana and Brighter Investment Ltd for sponsoring my university degree. My future has started.

I wish all graduates good luck, as they think hard to succeed.