I know what I’m saying (in this article) because I studied mechanical engineering at the University of Nigeria (UNN), and currently, I’m a software developer but I have never ever submitted my B.Eng certificate anywhere and no company has ever asked me to submit it, not even the photocopy.
Now the main matter…
The rate of suicide among Nigerian students in recent months is alarming. Different universities in Nigeria, examples UNN and UNIBEN, has recorded a number of such heartbreaking suicides by students.
The question that usually comes to mind whenever we hear that someone committed suicide is “why”? What will make a promising undergraduate student take his or her own life?
Well, the answer is simple: anything. There are a thousand and one reasons those who committed suicide made that choice.
However, for the case of students, we cannot easily rule out academic-related problems as the reason behind suicide among students, especially in Nigeria where students are subjected to all sorts of abusive and frustrating treatments by lectures who see themselves as gods among men.
Is it worth dying for?
I don’t know what the reason might be, but there is no doubt that many suicide cases among Nigerian students have to do with academics stuff. It could be frustrations from lecturers, pressure or lack of finances to continue the education, etc.
But the question here is this: is formal education worth dying for? Is GPA worth dying for? Is a certificate that no one might never ask you to present worth taking your own life for?
If only the students who committed suicide because of academics challenges know how irrelevant the certificate they will be given is in the job market they would have made the right choice than to take their own life.
Your certificate is useless if you are not useful
And here is the reality many undergraduates don’t realize until it is almost late: Your certificate cannot make you rich or put food on your table if you have nothing of value to offer. Interestingly, you don’t need a certificate to be valuable!
No one out there will pay you for a dime for your certificate.
If you want something of value, you should offer something of value in exchange. That is the way it works out there.
Ask yourself if you are a hiring manager in an IT firm and you want to employ a data scientist, would you rather employ a computer science graduate who knows nothing about statistics, math, and programming or an economics dropout student who is proficient in statistics, math, and programming?
Obviously, companies out there go for competence, not paper qualifications!
NOTE: this is not to say that formal education or certificates are useless. Not at all. In many cases, your academic qualifications will take you to the door (eg. interview) but can’t get you on board (the job).
What to do instead
But instead of killing yourself in frustration, you need to ask yourself the right question: how do I make myself more valuable? What are my dreams and how do I make them a reality.
When you begin to focus your energy on things that really matter, the thought of suicide over formal education will sound very stupid to you.
Remember, school, certificate, education or whatsoever is not worth dying for.
And the worst part of it is, all those things bring you a fortune. Good fortune in life comes when you have something of value to offer. That is where your priorities should be.