I was speaking to undergraduates at the University of Lagos last week on planning for a successful career in future . I emphasized that it was important to do some internships while on holiday.
Our environment and upbringing in Nigeria has given us a general mindset that working to earn, or working to learn does not start until after graduation from the university. I have discovered from experience that most people who stand out in their early career lives have interned or done holiday jobs while still in school. Amazingly on the news I heard that President Obama daughter; Sasha took a job as a waitress in a restaurant. Amazing isn’t it?
The question is “How many of us can actually do this?” A Nigerian or an African child from a middle-class family can hardly be caught doing holiday jobs today. The truth is that we have a lot of universities churning out graduates every day, the national population is growing, and universities are increasing in number all at a rate that is not commensurate to the jobs available out there – the question here is “How can I stand out?” Why wait till you graduate before you gain some work experience that will give you a level of exposure, knowledge, skills and ability and will set you out from the crowd? Go out there and look for every opportunity to learn!