4 years studying French in University. …sometimes, I think that was a bloody waste of time and money!!!!!
For despite the fact that I studied hard (although I played & partied harder) did all my assignments (mostly late),  by some miracle managed to get decent grades and leave with a nice upper 2:2 under my waist band, I can’t help but feel the four years were like water down the drain.

You see, I wasn’t always academic. I was more of a fun and party kind of person and studying didn’t always come easy to me. But inspite of putting in the least bit of effort to sitting down and actually studying, I somehow always managed to scale through and pass tests and exams….. As a matter of fact, many of my lecturers and Professors commented that had I just applied to my studies, just half of the effort I devoted to partying, I could have had a fan higher grade. And I agree with them.

But even with that said, I’ve come to realize that it’s not always about the grades we come out with. It’s more importantly about what we study and learn.
Since walking out of the hallowed gates of UNIBEN Ugbowo Campus 28 years ago – I have only used my hard earned Degree in French Education,  for a total of 24 months and that includes National Service.
Since leaving Uni I’ve been:
Newscaster, TV presenter, Office Administrator & in Finance Management.

I even once worked in a hair salon and owned Fashion boutique and nail & beauty bar.
Currently I’m heavily involved in the Events, Media & Entertainment Industries and I work mostly with English language writing, blogging and radio presenting.

I only taught French for a grand total of 10 months.

NOWHERE in my current life (or indeed the past 26 years) does French feature except when I’m forced to respond to a dear old school mate who stubbornly insists on posting in French on Facebook or helping my kids who also seem to have caught the French fever.
My point here is that with proper guidance & counselling I could have discovered where my true gifts and interests lay and I could have chosen courses that would lead me on the right path towards a more befitting career or at least be in line with my true talents.

Us parents have a huge role to play in what subjects our students choose to study. Education nowadays is extremely expensive and we need to avoid wasting money & time on courses that our kids won’t even practice. Universities today are filled with youngsters studying meaningless courses that to gain useless courses that they are never going to work with.

My dad wanted me to be a teacher and eventually a Commissioner or even Minister for Education (hahaha) The problem is I hated teaching with a passion but in those days you don’t go against your parents whether you are 16 or 60. So I grudgingly went in to study French Education. Why I didn’t pick English Education heaven only knows – I’m obviously better at English and I’ve always loved and enjoyed writing.

Many parents fail their children and their children’s future by making their dreams their kid’s dreams.

Many parents push their kids to study medicine even though their talent and passion is in Fashion or acting. Many kids would rather be nurses but the parents can only see them as Lawyers because that’s what everyone else in the family is – even though they may be really terrible at lawyer-ing or even terribly unhappy being a lawyer.

I bet the Davidos or Wiz Kids of the Afrobeat world did not study music and singing arts.

One of the recently named 10 best black students in the UK, Kareem Daggash grew up as a PC games fanatic. Today he is recognised by some of the UK’s leading technology experts for his coding skills and looks set to becoming a top player in the field. if his parents hadn’t encouraged or even supported his choice and his passion, he could have been studying to be just another miserable Accountant

I remember many years ago when David Beckham first burst onto the footballing scene and was announced as one of the highest paid players in the Premier league and in international football. Many of us young mothers with young sons saw our boys as the next David Beckham and quickly enrolled them into Saturday football classes at the painful cost of £50 a month. My Bolaji did not stand a chance. Early every Saturday morning for months, I would drag the poor boy out of bed for a 45 minute session at our local leisure centre. You should have seen us – the brigade of Nigerian mothers shouting from the sidelines “Run now” “Come on, kick the ball, now” “Are you blind?” And so on, the amateur coaching went. I’m sure the real coaches must have really hated us being there!

However, after 3 months it finally dawned on me that my Bolaji was just not cut out for football and I sadly admitted he was not going to be a highly paid international football player or the next David Beckham – after watching him for a total of 12 classes where his feet did not connect with the ball ONCE!!

But from a very early age, he displayed a rich interest and deep passion for computers and computer gaming. Today he is studying Computer Programming in University with the plan of going into Games Designing in the future. He is that good that I am confident he will make good money from it.

Parents! Please , watch, study and carefully identify your kids talents and passion – and steer them towards turning their passion into a career.

But it must be their passion – not yours.

Parents need to live our own dreams for ourselves and realize that our kids are individuals in their own right. While it is our God ordered duty to train, educate and give them moral guidance, the choice of what they want to be must be left to them. We have to understand that we cannot always make choices for them particularly when those choices are based on our own dreams and desires. Apart from laying a sound spiritual and educational foundation in their lives, the best we can do is pray that as they attain the age of independence, at 14, 18 or 21 (trust me, even the 14 year olds think they are adults!) they make the right and the best choices for their lives.

After all, they are not living for us……and we will not live their lives for them.


Copyright Jummy Ariyo

July 2015

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