When you join college, you’ve probably been told the same old story. “You are veering into the state of adulthood” and you as an adult will have all these cool things such as a job that gets you a salary, independence and ultimately a purposeful life. This story is one told to almost anyone that goes to college and this particular speech (in one form or another) gets repeated again at another milestone. Your graduation. If you’ve already graduated, you will notice one small but noticeable difference. The list of hurdles and obstacles that are backed by a pinch of pressure that forces you to abide by this belief. Your worth is determined by your salary, the type of job you do and the degree you hold.
When you view this in an Ethiopian lens, one change occurs but the pressures and the expectations that fuel them remain the same. Choice. Most student entering colleges around Ethiopia often aren’t given the luxury to engage in a study of their choice. This is also coupled with a complete lack of career guidance in the secondary school curriculum. In this context, all that pressure makes very little sense. What is it all for?
Sometimes it sucks, feeling like it’s all for nothing when you’ve followed all the rules and topped your class and still can’t get a job in a field you’ve been forced to attend. Yes, this makes the first few years after graduation especially tough. It becomes even tougher when the pressure builds. However, it is important not to lose heart. Finding a career that makes you happy is a work in progress, and it’s up to us to remind ourselves that keeping a positive attitude and investing in our well being is just as important as getting a job that pays the bills. So don’t lose heart and keep pushing on until you’ve found that sweet spot between what you want to do and what you can actually do.