My Engineering Degree and 9 ‘wasted’ years by Chidi Okereke


My Engineering Degree and 9 'wasted' years by Chidi Okereke

Been a while I wrote on this app, so let me rant about (our Education System) why my Engineering degree is 'wasting'.
I remember when I had dreams of being an Aeronautical Engineer (my nickname was even AECO — Aeronautical Engineer Chidi Okereke). My dad worked with an airline company so, I guess I was just fascinated with aeroplanes. When I got to SS1, I joined the science class. The smartest kids were 'naturally' pushed to Science Class, and besides I wanted to be an Engineer. But you know what I really loved? Writing. Branding (graphics then). Social Media. Communicating. Speaking. Teaching. I even wrote a literary book that is still in my Almamater's library till today. I had issues with Physics and Futher Maths, but I always scaled through and made up for it with my excellence in other subjects.

After secondary school, I wrote Jamb 4 times before I finally got into the University of Portharcourt to study Mechanical Engineering (no Nigerian University had an Aeronautics Engr dept then I believe). It was in my first year in school that I finally knew I was studying the wrong course. I already had a bad history with Futher Maths and Physics so I naturally sucked at Engineering courses. I knew I was in trouble and wanted to switch, but to read a course in the social sciences, I needed to retake WASSCE or GCE. Jamb I could manage, but another SSCE? Naa.

I was stuck with Mech Engr. I wasn't a very happy student. I just wanted to be done with it, so I worked twice as hard to make sure I graduated in 5 years. All my life I had always excelled, so, not being (one of) the best was frustrating for me. Luckily I did graduate in 5 years. Luckily, I honed my writing skills while still in school. Luckily I got a job (based on my writing skills) almost immediately after NYSC. Luckily I am working in an industry where I'm competent and quite comfortable in. I am lucky and blessed. But, I could have saved 5 (and maybe 9) years if I had gotten some counselling while in Junior Secondary School. That counseling would certainly have shown me I would be a better media/communication guy than an Engineer. I'd have been a proper professional (with degrees and all) in this field if I'd known better.

Our educational system needs to do better in terms of helping kids choose their careers. But more importantly, parents should stop (subtly) imposing professional careers on their kids. Expose them to as many paths as possible, and let them naturally choose careers they will enjoy.
Bless you


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