Being a Nigerian, the need to study within the educational system has never been up for discussion. It is an unspoken religion in my family. In fact, the damaging repercussion that would engulf one’s entire existence if ever they were to suggest to their Nigerian parents – ‘I do NOT want to go to University’ has turned into the never ending ‘joke’ which circulates within many young Nigerians friendships groups. (Unfortunately, this is something that happens not only in some Nigerian homes but across many other countries and homes and I also know the parents mean well).
Oddly enough, the perception of education is one that I never understood. I hated education with every fibre of my being because I never understood it. That happens a lot, doesn’t it? A lack of understanding for someone or something can often spur on your hatred for a person or thing. Education for me was no different. I didn’t understand why such importance was placed on this complicated system that seems to make the world go around. A system worshipped by many. Now I am not here to bash education, far from it. The whole educational system is one I will forever be grateful for, because it provided me a space for growth even without realising it. There I even compare it to sharing similarities with experiencing the thrills of childhood. Childhood like education is a man’s training wheels at life. An experience for growth from mistakes, some individuals robbed of their childhood, some experience their childhood in its full entirety and others, who lack in understanding, experience an average childhood.
From the dependent maintenance grants and loans, the 9am lectures, the group works and grounds filled with everything diversity; educational institution like Universities serve as the biggest bubble wrap of them all. Grounds that can breed into you; levels of comfortability, conflict and conformity without it being its intentions. I have seen many young people like myself fall into the system of education and used it not as it is intended to be used but rather lost in the system of its establishment. Lacking the understanding of what these establishments can stand for in regards to life in general, I struggled every step of the way to complete every key stage. Floating at an average level from GCSE to A-levels to achieving my first degree and now unto the second (all to the glory of God), my perception of education had always been very limited. I failed to see these key stages as my very training grounds for mistakes, growth, an opportunity to work on my craft and overall build myself. Education doesn’t stop at the grading systems; well it shouldn’t.
For many, the first several decades of their lives are spent in various educational institutions. They unfortunately fall under the pressure of a grading criteria in every class. They are consumed by the unconscious limitations of education that upon completion, they struggle with the life that awaited them outside of education. There is no benchmark in life like those grading criteria in education systems therefore dare to develop a more holistic view of what education can do to you. See education as that internship you use to gain recognised experience and transferable skills geared towards that ultimate career of your choice.
Education is a system; life is the school! In a system, there is ample amount of room for errors. There are loopholes but life is a subjective continuum that can be attested through experiences, culture, religion, etc. It has no grading criteria; therefore, dare to live from a more holistic perspective called life rather than the narrow view what education holds (a degree or a qualification). See education as a training wheel for life, a childhood to be experienced in all its entirety, a space for growth from many mistakes and the miniature of life, the bigger learning ground.