I emerged the primary performer at the university entrance tests in our school, four years ago. Happening of which afforded me a comfortable place among the paltry 3.3% who achieved the government’s cut off mark in our school.
Yet, the teachers were disappointed at my inability to rock straight As as they forecasted. What irked me, however, was the riffraff commentary on the courses I would not do with a B+.
Then there was a session of hilarious comments about my fate, which remains just the tip of the iceberg in our academic ocean, the giant is still underground and I know where.
One teacher noted that with my grade, the best course I could qualify for was woodworks or bachelor of science in hides and skin. Pretty much showing how some courses are already decidedly weired, with no one wanting to give them a second thought.
In the foregoing, we can appreciate that what our adult environment and stakeholders wanted us to pursue was things like medicine, Engineering, law, Bcom, Computer Science among other ‘honourable’ courses.
In these courses, we find that the perceived stability, status, safety and salary remains the idols that stakeholders worship. If you choose to take a course that is considered ‘soft,’ you spend your lifetime with a voice that whispers that you are a failure.
The argument against the ‘weired’ courses is steeped on misleading information about career choices in so fas as solving real-world problems is concerned, creating the illusion of consensus and reducing a complex topic to a simple, open-and-shut case.
In Kenyan, majority of campus students are in courses they didn’t ask for, but were pushed to – or they pushed themselves, courses which are sucking to the core and annoyingly boring.
Take the case of Erick* who is MBChB student at Egerton. Doesn’t like medicine and wants nothing to do with it. He got pushed into this yet, his passion lied in the field of mathematics. He was the best mathematics student in Kenya during their year. He shared with me his frustrations and wants to start pure mathematics at the university of Nairobi upon completion. Getting good grades requires motivation, and it’s far easier to stay motivated about something that interests you.
And when it comes to motivation, the vocational courses you have been pushed to or you have pushed yourself due to the perceived superiority can be more misleading than it is helpful.
Erick’s case is just one of the examples of the woes of our own making; our fanatical inclination towards ‘honourable’ courses.
America remains one the nation that proves that there is no such thing as honourable and dishonourable course. Here, all courses count as long as an individual has passion, grit, drive and determination to turn whatever course one choses into a robust career path.
She boasts of having the highest number of psychologists in the world. They have done some of the world’s amazing work on issues of social import. Their professors have published some of the most powerful books we use and helped shape the various theories and ideas that we blindly consume like ‘ How to make her orgasm.’
Let Psychology alone. They have excelled and prospered out of the courses we put in the back burner. Imagine being an erudite professor of Hindu Religion, and expert in Baking Technology Management, a scholar in Theatre Practice and Puppetry or an ace in Yacht Operations. We have different educational environments but I do think we need to borrow a leaf from how they approach education and careers.
Now, with these sophisticated courses, giving some slick bragging rights and promising a higher return, we have had students flood all in and there is no longer job market. I stand in defence of the strange degree, as perhaps weird can be wonderful, too. In an increasingly competitive jobs market, perhaps studying something a little, well, unusual might help your CV shine.