Saara Meke Amakali
Taking into consideration that a degree is vital for personal growth and in bigger terms national progression is unfortunate how the whole concept of being a graduate is plagued by unrealistic expectations and misconceptions.
Graduates have better odds of getting a job and a viable path to long-term career success, compared to non-degree holders.
However, having succeeded in a learning environment, often with no practical experience, one has to produce enough to earn his/her keep.
While a degree offers diverse options for career change and growth, it is a mistake to overestimate the chances of getting well-paying jobs.
Some people may think that finding a job is quick – and if they do not get jobs after graduation, it is because they did something wrong.
Those who have been job-hunting can attest that job search is a difficult task.
Job-hunting is as much about skills and qualifications as it is about patience.
Others think there are many chances of finding their dream jobs from the start.
The essence of getting a job should first aim to balance academic and practical experience in the workplace.
Work experience will add to various anticipated opportunities and illustrate that one can apply him/herself to other areas.
Like other investments, academic qualifications pay off over time.
First, “get a job, not necessarily the job”.
In an era of so many graduates competing for jobs, the focus should be to develop workplace knowledge and useful conduct.
Regardless of the position or industry we find ourselves, there are more critical proficiencies such as the development of teamwork, management and leadership skills that pave career success.
Individuals also take for granted that the only reason to get a degree is to make more money, hence the distressing stories about graduates having wasted their time and accumulated debt in a failed quest. It is important to note that crossing the finish line depends on where you start.
The perception of earning a degree and getting well-paying jobs or getting promoted faster should be weighed realistically to break the false dichotomy between academic credentials and career success.
It is quite normal to have doubts and concerns about what is next - but it is more crucial to note that a career journey is not linear.
There are certain realities that we have to digest to create stronger support systems in our communities.
Graduates should consider looking for guidance on how to get ready from university to career transition. It is best to also view a degree as a step in learning and not the ultimate goal.
Learning is a lifelong process.
The burden can also be eased when organisations focus on the need to establish more entry-level jobs for graduates.
* Saara Meke Amakali is an Industrial Psychology and Sociology graduate. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.