Friday, 31 October 2014
AN OPEN LETTER TO THE GRADUATING CLASS 2014: THE INCONCEIVABLE REALITIES ABOUT LIFE AND THE REAL WORLD.
First of all, I take this opportunity to congratulate you all from the bottom of my heart on this grand occasion that marks a great milestone in your lives.
It is said that there are two days in a man’s life that really matter, the day you are BORN, and the day you discover WHY? Therefore, don’t rest until you discover why you were born? After which you will make your day of birth worthwhile by living your God-given purpose here on earth without regrets.
Secondly, I personally agree that it is no mean fit to survive in confines of the ‘academic prison’ and emerge worthy of honor. Therefore, I understand the hastiness to depart. However, I will be quick to remind you that the end of one thing signifies the beginning of another. As you celebrate, eat and drink the much you can, dance and be jubilant as much as possible, rejoice and give thanks too and of course pocket as much notes and coins as you receive. But remember, indeed today is just but a beginning for your next encounter.
Thirdly, I understand many of you have deeply persevered to this day; some have revered this university, others have loathed and smeared this very institution that you have called your dwelling place for the last couple of years. And many others can’t wait to kiss this ANU goodbye. For the few that wish they had more time here, bless you, we shall soon see each other often.
Nevertheless, truth be told, don’t be quick to dishonor, or curse or even demean your Alma Mata, for this institution will forever be stamped on your forehead. The fact of the matter is you will either miss it or wish you had used your time efficiently when you were here. Remember? The friends and foes, happy and sad moments, those laughter-filled and tearful days, the painful and gainful periods that you have experienced here will forever be embellished in your memories.
Finally, close to two years ago, we sat where you are seated. We were filled with excitement just like you. We felt we had conquered just as you feel now. And above all, those feelings came with a sense of achievement. However, there are some things I hope we had known earlier than we did. Please understand, I do not mean to steal joy from you or be the bearer of sad news this very significant day of your life.
All I want to do is let you into a little secret to surviving, a day, maybe a week or a month or the next couple of years of your life in this world. So I beg you, in the name of our Lord, if there is anything else you will take with you from this day other than “The Powers to Read and Write”, I beseech you take these words with you.
1. Although, you have achieved your degree with honors (Phi Delta Labda) know that “THE WORLD OWES YOU NOTHING”. In fact you are a nuisance as you keep on threatening its existence with your presence. You are guaranteed nothing, so be prepared to work hard to succeed. To compete with an ever increasing list of unemployed graduates for the almost extinct Job opportunities. Therefore, hard work, networking and simply working diligently is the only key to succeed.
2. The world outside the confines of the university is harsh. REJECTION IS REAL AND SO IS UNEMPLOYMENT. You will be rejected several times, in some cases judged by the look of your resume. Thus ensure you grow a thick skin and always stand out from the rest of the crowd, from your resume, to your personality, to your character, every little detail about you should set you apart in order to get the chance you desire; to be heard.
3. Know that WHAT YOU CAN POTENTIALLY ACHIEVE IS MORE VALUABLE THAN WHAT YOU HAVE ALREADY ACHIEVED. Always present yourself as W.I.P (Work in Progress) rather than a finished product. You will be offered many opportunities simply based on your willingness to learn and potential to grow than your already acquired (or is it crammed?) knowledge and skills.
4. Approximately, know that IT TAKES ABOUT 6 MONTHS BEFORE YOU CAN GET YOUR FIRST JOB. So I urge you to always wear your armor of 3 P’s -Perseverance, Persistence, and Positiveness conjoined with the 3C’s – which you are well accustomed of now, Character, Competence and Community. Consider volunteering, starting your own business and even furthering your studies. You will need to be realistic and at the same time hopeful to succeed in getting the job you need. As Zig Ziglar puts it “The door to balanced success opens widest on the hinges of HOPE and ENCOURAGEMENT”.
5. When you are young, YOU WORK TO LEARN NOT TO EARN. I know most of you will most likely be choosier based on financial gain, or will get into fields that you have not trained for. Be it sales, casual work, or data entry. My advice, do not decline any reasonable offer; the skills you gain will be valuable in your career progression. The small setbacks might be actually a set up for a better opportunity so be wise.
6. I urge you to seek OPPORTUNITIES TO DEVELOP YOUR SKILLS, KNOWLEDGE AND TALENTS, USE YOUR TIME FOR CONSTRUCTIVE ACTIVITIES. Read those books you have put aside over the years, learn a new language, or learn to play an instrument. Just make sure you are not idol, as they say an idle mind is a devils workshop. Don’t leave room for negativity, regrets, insanity, or even vices to crop into your life. Moreover, I borrow Bob Marley’s words “…..don’t worry about a thing as everything is going to be alright”.
7. Remember REAL CHANGE REQUIRES REAL CHANGE. It never goes unsaid that a lot will change from this day henceforth. You will need to plan your time, develop your skills on your own, take control of your career, and pay your own bills. As almost everyone seems resistant to change, you must accept change. After all during your time at the university I believe you have been prepared well and acquired characteristics necessary for success as long as you can recognize, develop and use them.
8. In whatever you decide to do with your life, be it setting up your own business, getting married or even changing your course, DON’T BE DISTRACTED BY CRITICISM. I want you to remember that, the only taste of success that some people (critics) will ever have is when they take a bite out of you. Therefore, don’t allow the mosquito like-minded individuals to distract you from realizing your dreams. As much as you have a choice to listen to them discern and separate the wheat from the churn and make your time worthwhile.
Above all, P.G.F PUT GOD FIRST, because God has declared that he has the best plans for you. Endeavor to align your goals and dreams with his will. When you do this you will never go wrong as he will order the steps you take and help you not to veer away from your path. Human beings perish for lack of knowledge, ensure you don’t parish because you have chosen to be ignorant. Let God be your GUIDE, the Holy Spirit be your Helper and the Bible your Source of Knowledge.
Dear graduates, today is your day, thus I have no choice rather than to let you go ahead with your celebrations. You will hear a lot of things from every nook and crack, wise and unwise, fallacies and anecdotes or hilarious and depressing, that is life. But at the end of the day, or the beginning of the week come Monday, reality will hit hard like a thunderous headache. The choices you make there henceforth will be vital in your success in years to come and in future. Thus, I will urge you to be diligent and do not get into a comfort zone. You will be judged harshly by the community if you don’t fulfill your mandate.
Remember you are the envy of your PEERS, the pride of your PARENTS, the hero of your VILLAGE and above all, the hope of our NATION.
Without further ado, I rest my case and hope my two pence advice will at least help you discover the right purpose and compass to find your direction in Life.
HURAAAAAAAAAAAY…… let me be the first to WELCOME YOU ALL TO THE ANU Alumni Association…………. Once again CONGRATULATIONS.
A Mere Citizen of our beloved Nation and Self-declared Spokesperson of the REAL WORLD