The Graduate

I woke up in the morning and put on my robe. It has been a long journey from Nairobi to Kakamega, though not the longest compared to that from Preschool to university. I am a graduate, that’s my title today. How I wish that this day won’t pass and that it will confirm my tenacity to pursue learning. Like a hill this was long and hard but finally its fruits are visible. True greatness, after all, is just a test of usefulness , so I think since I still haven’t tested my powers, the papers I have been given, will they fit into the job market? I kept asking myself as I walked towards the crowd cheering me on! Yes, my whole village is here to cheer me on.

My dad should be happy, his dreams to see me through university were achieved, his legacy lives on.. “Papa.. I made it”. In his place uncle Dan did not disappoint in his speech. “Son, all your hard work has paid off, we are so very proud of you. The nights of study, the projects due, you did them all and it has all paid off.  Now onto the next chapter of your life, It won’t be all cherries and roses, but keep thinking positive and work through that strife.”

With my expectations high I called my brother John to ask about city life and how with his masters Degree he has made life for himself and here I am met with realities. As my uncle said, it isn’t rosy and there are no cherries in the city. In a span of 3 years he has moved from Cities to town in search of jobs and the more reason why he couldn’t make it to my graduation celebration is that he lacked fare, his claim that he is busy was a pure lie and now that I have those expectations he had to be real with me! He later  sat me down to give me tips on how to approach this since as my big brother, he did not want me to risk losing such crucial mentorships  as I prepare for the transition into the job market.

First advice was on the flexibility approach and in his words, “The jog you want might not be available or could be but out of reach. Identify a career path and start working to gain access to that field by taking jobs and building work experience. Our ideal jobs require more than industrial attachment experience. He also advised that in any job I get, I should exercise flexibility. He said “if you want a certain experience, you have to show you can contribute to the employer’s expectations as well, a good employee should show they can adjust to different personalities and can flex their schedule when the business requires”

The second advice was on the use of social media to create great profiles. This seems true since I have noticed that most new age employers are looking at social media. This tells them the character of those they intend to bring on board, take time to build a strong profile and catalog your achievements as you go on LinkedIn. Showing your successes will mean you are projecting them to other people who are interested in your skills and this attracts talent recruiters.

Lastly, he was of the idea that one has to find a mentor. Someone who has gone through the ropes and can advise on a few things, you know how to write a good resume, what sales in your CV and how to project your skills better in your application. Having a person you can trust to help you navigate the twists and turns will be invaluable. 

For a weekend afternoon, I see this as good advice for anyone who has recently graduated and is busy engaging  employers with the intention to be on an active job by January. My view is on connections and networks, this ought to have started with your first internship and built up to be used extensively after graduation. 

© JMS2022

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