THIS is a question that plagues the minds of young learners in our country today. Many young people have now lost faith in education. To many people, upward social mobility and fulfillment in life through education is gradually becoming a mirage. But at a close examination, is school really a scam? Despite the failing standard of education and the other never ending means of upward social mobility, is school a scam? In this present digital world, is school a scam? This answer to the question is dependent on the choice of the individuals involved. You can make school work for you if you want and are willing to put in the work needed. You can decide to be among those who will not lament at the end of their school days that school is a scam. You can decide to put to practice the following points and maximize your stay in school.
To start with, school, particularly University education, is meant to lead you to the threshold of fulfilling your potentials. School is not meant to directly solve your challenges or take away your family afflictions. Rather, it is a custodian of knowledge that exposes you to the right path and to information beyond what you already know. It will be a waste of time thinking that your certificate literally translates to financial success. What will make you wealthy is you using the knowledge you acquired in school to solve a problem and make money from the venture. But this is for those who decide to take the bulls by the horns and live life for themselves. The rest, however, keep waiting for manna to fall from heaven. Eventually, no or little manna falls and their standards of living drop. For this set of people, is school not a scam?
Furthermore, school is an avenue to expand your social network, and explore the opportunities that come with them later in life. In school, you meet different classes of people. Naturally, you gravitate towards those with like minds and intentions. Being a lone-ranger in school does not augur well for you. No man is an island; no man can succeed without the input of other men. In University campuses, apart from academic activities, there are social clubs and organizations that make room for your all-round growth as a student. It is among the people around you that trailblazers, market giants, big names in the media industry, governors, senators, presidents, kings, queens, ambassadors, etc., will come from. If you built relationships with these set of people while in school and you maintained such contacts, succeeding in life will not be as tasking as building the Tower of Babel. In the words of Porter Gale, your network is your net worth. For those who see value beyond the classrooms and their places of worship and go for it, school is not a scam.
Likewise, while in school, there are volunteering and internship opportunities you can explore. By doing so, you gain practical experience in a standard work environment while learning simultaneously. When you graduate, you will not be a greenhorn. In your years of study, you have also gained a certain level of experience. If you put this on your CV, an employer will consider you over those who have nothing to offer beyond their certificates. Also, volunteering is another way to get to where you are going fast with little or no financial cost. Of course, you will have to devote your time and efforts but they are always worth it. I once heard of a story of a lady, now a big name in the media industry, who had no money to register for seminars and workshops. So she would offer to carry the bag of one of those coming to speak at the seminar or offer to serve as an usher for free. As such, she will gain entrance into the venue and gain the knowledge she seeks. What a passion! School is a place where such opportunities abound, but you will only see them if you look beyond the classrooms.
In addition, take time out to think and create solutions to problems while in school. Develop yourself to be a solution-oriented and intelligent masterpiece. Let the essence of learning within the four walls of a classroom or through the means of digital tools be seen in your lifestyle. School can be a catalyst for success if you allow it. Most world-class ideas today were stumbled upon in school by their owners. A famous example is Bill Gates who learnt what he needed to start Microsoft from high school. Another example is Mark Zuckerberg who started Facebook in school. Through individual or group brainstorming, you can develop ways to solve some societal issues. For instance, you could come up with how to provide funds for entrepreneurial ventures for students, connect them with buyers/customers/clients while making sure they pay taxes simultaneously, all at an affordable cost. Doing this will endear you to employers of labour and organizations that help to fund business start-ups. In return, you move out of the class of people who are deemed clueless with nothing reasonable to offer. As such, school is not a scam for you.
More so, school will not likely be a scam if you learn digital skills relevant to this 21st century. Skills like copywriting, marketing, coding, programming, web developing, graphic designing, are required of students. These skills are now so integrated with almost all professions such that you have no choice but to learn them. Acquiring these skills can even serve as sources of income apart from your chosen career. They can also help you scale higher heights in your field of discipline. In school, there are avenues you can explore to learn these digital skills and become relevant in today’s world, even amidst the technological advances that have become constant. Besides, learning these digital skills will enable you to cope with any technological faces your career puts on. You will not be at the risk of losing your job because your computer skills are valuable to the company or firm you work in. As such, school cannot be a scam. Also, school is a fertile ground for launching your talents , skills and handcrafts before you get to practise them in the work environment. For instance, there are ghostwriting gigs that you can get if you are talented in writing. You can even start a blog. You can perform at shows as an upcoming comedian or singer if that is what you know how to do. You can find time when you are less busy to coach students of lower educational levels than yours if you really love to teach.
If you are a fashion designer, you can start your clothesline in school. You can emcee shows and events at school. Doing these will create an extra source of income as well as an avenue to be proficient and professional in what you do. In all of these, school is not a scam. Finally, the proposition that school is a scam is one that has a lot of loopholes. One must know that school is beyond reading and writing. Just like one of my lecturers said, you should graduate from school as an intellectual engineer not as an intellectual carpenter.
- Osinubi writes in from University of Ibadan