Tuesday, April 30, 2013

When I Grow Up...I want to be a..... (insert a high profile career)

So, welcome to part 2 of The Graduate Diaries: *"What would you like to be
when you grow up?"*

This is my all time favorite question and whenever I am with some young
ones (yes, younger than me) I ask them what their future ambitions are.

And it is beautiful to hear things like : Neurosurgeon, Political
Scientist, Architect, Lawyer, Doctor, Banker, Dentist, Judge, Business
Manager... and yes, nowadays in Kenya with the numerous strikes Teachers
have gone on- very few kids want to be Teachers. They do not want to slave
when they ought to be paid their wages. I wonder though if they have lost
focus on Medics because last I checked they have been on the streets
chanting *"haki yetu"* the same number of times Teachers have- I mean
doesn't three times in ten months count?

But- if you are reading this and are clearly above 20 years- answer this: *when
I was young I always wanted to be a -__________ when I grew up. Now that I
am growing and still learning, am I on the right track to be that?*
And if you fill in the blank and the second statement does not concur with
the first- well, congratulations you are grown up!

So what happened?
When I was growing up before class 3, I used to say I wanted to be a
Doctor. Then when I lost my Dad- I figured at times kids needed people to
listen to them and learned that there are special people like
Psychologists, Counselors who do just that and my Mom and Sister supported
me all through till I did get what I want. And when I look back at it- I am
grateful because I was never perfect in Science! I did ace my Sciences at
KCSE, but it was never good enough to get me a direct entry into the
university- talk of missing the cut off mark by one point!

But, our environment has a lot to do with our world view. Parents have a
lot more because they tell their children that they need an education to
get a job, make a living and all. They say education is the key. But if you
look at it, education has been more of a key while the schools have been
locks. Some school systems have locked creativity- demanding that pupils
think outside the box, then grading their work on their own perspective
thus limiting them within a box.

But, though this happens very few in Kenya have failed to study the Arts-
why do pupils who are in drama clubs deemed most popular? Why do students
engage in extra-curricular activities best as opposed to academia?

I will shed more light on these questions as we proceed- but the thing
about dreams is that some are realistic and others are squashed. If you
meet a young student who wants to be a neurosurgeon- tell them they
need to attain an average of A grade- that in doing so they would
secure a slot
in the public university to study this. They also need to ensure that their
parents are willing to cover their tuition and sustenance for 6 years, and
that when they graduate- they should consider applying for internship in
either Israel or India- because the best neurosurgeon undergraduate trainee
programmes are there- and they could work abroad because though Kenya needs
more neurosurgeons- the pay is little and what they will end up getting is
a quarter of their salary given that they will be paying off their student
loans.

Yeah- that's a mouthful of the facts, but one thing stays true- if you have
a dream you have every right to go after it. You have to work hard to
achieve it- and if you seem to fail, do not blame it on anyone because the
moment you start blaming you forget to appreciate yourself for the effort
you put into chasing that dream.

So you wanted to be a Doctor, but you are a sales marketer- big deal!
So you wanted to be an air hostess but you are a receptionist- big deal!

Big deal because you are doing something you did not expect but one way or
another- in your life you created room for it, so if you are a sales
marketer- be the best around, and save for extra studies to become a Doctor
if you want to.
Do not be complacent- get moving.

*PS: Who was ever told to read Think Big by Ben Carson?*

How can one change the world if one identifies oneself with everybody?