4 Nov 2013

Choosing a Course of Study, Career, and Institution.

By Ezim Osai,
Monday, November 4 2013

A man who asks a question is a fool for five minutes, but one who does not is a fool for a lifetime
-Abraham Lincoln

It is common knowledge that a number of secondary school students choose subjects/courses impulsively and most times, their decisions are very influenced by peers. It is also common knowledge that some secondary school students decide to be science-students because they believe that ‘that is where the money is’ or that it is more significant to the global economy. Some of us who go into arts sometimes are just running away from Mathematics and some difficult science courses while some of us who go into commerce are enticed by what we see in banks and financial institutions.
Choosing subjects/courses with that mentality has proved to be often to the detriment of a number of students who were misplaced and are performing poorly because they are in places they are not cut out for. Before one chooses a course, there must be a critical examination of oneself and there are four steps which I have outlined that I believe can help in making the right decision.

The first and most important step is the ‘WHAT CAN I DO?’ step. Here, we realistically take inventory of all we can do (skills, interests and even subjects) and analyse them critically. In this step, we stylishly distract ourselves by doing things which we know how to do but have not focused on in the hope of finding out whether or not the things we can do are hobbies, skills or callings. We may also try our hands on things we have never done before as there can be talent hidden in us.
The next step is the ‘WHAT DO I WANT TO DO?’ step. In this step, we think critically on what it is we want to do with our lives (not what we want to study) and how what we do in secondary school/university can further our dreams. This step is very important and should not be rushed as it has far-reaching effects on all corners of our lives.
The next step is the ‘WHY’ step. We question the motives for our desire to do 1 and 2 above and take a look at our foundations once more in the hope of giving clarity and focus to our process of self-evaluation. Doing this helps us to amass conviction and confidence in ourselves and the choices we make.
The next and final step is the ‘HOW DO I WANT TO DO IT’ step. Knowing what we can do, what we want to do and why we want to do them is very good but dreams will only turn to goals when we give them timeframes and resources. There has to be a realistic and feasible plan on how to achieve all our goals in life, and if we are the ‘take it as it comes’ type, we would still need to have a clear picture of where we want to see ourselves at a particular point in time. Anybody can drive on a highway, but someone who has no idea of where he is going will never reach his destination. Whereas, someone who knows where he is going and how to get there, knows when his journey is at an end and if he wants to embark on another.
With realistic self-evaluation out of the way, we must make choices and decisions which will have a ripple effect in our lives along the line. We must choose what we want to do (in this case it is course of study) and where we want to do it, hence, the choice of institutions.
With the constant improvements and advancements in education in Nigeria, we are unable to outline the best schools in Nigeria without a survey but we will always be ready to answer any questions concerning institutions. Prospective candidates should always enquire about their choice university and course of study before application. These enquiries should be made to either lecturers or staff in that university or undergraduates who are in the system and can realistically tell us how it [studying as well as the admission process] works. As a last resort, we can drop our comments here or contact @9jeducation on Twitter and we will get back to you with someone most suited to answer your questions.
We have compiled a list of some popular and not-so-popular courses for those of us who are yet to decide on what we want to do and need a nudge in the right direction. We can check out requirements for the courses and what they contribute to the economy anywhere on the web and as usual, 9jeducation should be our last resort.
Availability and necessary requirements of some of these courses should be checked on the JAMB Brochure before application to any institution.
Computer Science and Software Engineering
Veterinary Medicine
Foreign Languages (European and Asian Studies)
International Relations and Diplomacy
Wood Products Engineering
Political Science
African Studies
Theatre/Dramatic Arts
Public Health
Special Education
Industrial Engineering
Human Kinetics
Local Languages (Igbo, Hausa, Yoruba)
Social Work
These are but a few courses that we have outlined, there are a lot more available for viewing on the JAMB Brochure.
Always remember to ask questions and always remember the words of Abraham Lincoln.

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