By Tony Obande.
The Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE) brought with it thoughts of the future, what next? Where next? And such.
It was refreshing to know that I wasn’t the only one with these thoughts, although our perspectives were very different. For instance, while a good number of us wanted to go straight into the university to get a degree, there were those of us who wanted to take a break from books and just rest through the next year.
Interestingly there were some who didn’t even have an ambition to further their education – these ones had gotten as much as they needed to make it through life without being referred to as illiterates.
I asked a friend in my class then what he had in mind and he just wanted to rest from school and its “wahala” for a year after which he’ll think “what next?”. A girl who was my classmate too wasn’t even considering options after high school, there was only one: it was that she was going to get a degree. Immediately, she’ll rest after.
I shared both sentiments, they both made sense to me and I could easily accept either, and so could a lot more of us writing the exams. Though I had to let fate decide for me as I didn’t even know for sure if I would make my grades, talk less of deciding what I wanted to do with it.
A few people who wanted to rest from school “wahala” had agenda to learn entreprenural skills and maybe earn some money while at it. One of my neighbrors had a legit reason for staying home for a year though, he had applied to the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) which required him to wait a year. I didn’t quite have a plan yet but the thought of being in the military was intriguing I must say and maybe I too would apply eventually.
When my result came I had made my grades well enough to qualify for admission into the university of my choice and for my choice of course too. Now I finally had a plan, I was going to go to school immediately. If you’re reading this post, then you must know how that worked out for me.
A few people didn’t make their grades and were definitely staying home, they’d also have to re-write the exams which meant their one year was to be spent reading even harder than they had the first time around; and with parents like mine, that year would have been hellish. Thank God, I passed.
Now I had to figure out how best to use the one year I had ahead of me, knowing full well that in this year I would have to re-take Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) of JAMB, and reapply to universities and, maybe, NDA. I’d also have to prepapre for the university Post-UTME for those who did that. All of these wouldn’t take up the whole of the year, but I didn’t know what to do about it for a while and stayed home watching television, listening to music, eating, sleeping and just being bored all round.
I consulted with my friends as to how they were spending the year and I must say, we all found the above stated routine relatable. We also realized that it was really demoralizing to know that your mates were in school and ahead of you, especially when it was no fault of yours. We decided the best thing to do with the time was learn something new and enterprenueral.
I had a liking for photography and went ahead to get some insight in it, and it fetched me some little change as I went along with my mentor on his jobs.I also enrolled for saxophone and guitar lessons. I’ve grown spiritually, too and engaged myself in that by attending conferences, I even volunteered to help during my church’s Vacatio Bible School. Now I’m interning as an editorial assistant, prior to further studies in September.
I have definitely rested from the school “wahala” but I’ve made the best use of the time as much as possible. I have plenty lesuire time too which I spend visiting and hanging out with friends, I also play my favorite games from time to time. I’m a lot better at my favorite sport, basketball.
My year has been filled with different experiences, from learning skills, to earning some money, and socialising ; and, of course, just a touch of boredom.
The bottom line to this story is, staying at home for a year or more after secondary school is not necessarily a good thing but is definitely not the worst either. What you do with that time could either make or mar you. What you spend the time doing is what determines whether or not you have a wasted year.
Most people now ask, does staying back from school a year after high school pay?
I say, set targets and goals that improve you in every way and, yes, it would pay. Plus, an unengaged mind is less likely to do well in an exam after a whole year of not studying or inactivity. Remember, an idle mind is the devils workshop.