Today’s article is mainly directed towards Gen Z’s who have completed secondary education and were fortunate to start a business whether it is a salon, an online clothing store, provision of services such as personal shopping services, and wig making/revamping, or even trading in stocks and cryptocurrencies.
With the invention of technology, it is less rigorous to start a business from the comfort of your home and to promote the business to attract customers. Research has shown that during the lockdown there was a surge in entrepreneurship with countless online businesses opening to meet consumer needs. With lockdown affecting education, leaving both secondary school graduates and university undergraduates at home, it was only reasonable that young people seized the opportunity to venture into businesses. While for some, it was a business that they had for long been thinking about, for others it was just opening their imaginations to new possibilities and getting their hands busy to kill boredom while being at home.
With business comes profits albeit not immediately and so the question is should the profits gained convince you that education is unimportant? The plain answer is NO! Although we may have seen the trend of university dropouts who turned out to be self-made billionaires such as Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Ralph Lauren, Steve Jobs, and Michael Dell, we understand the temptation to feel your story would be similar to theirs, and with the current profits you are making or you foresee to make in the nearest future, of course, you think education especially in Nigeria where there is a high rate of unemployment, is a waste of time.
However, despite the success stories of the likes of Steve Jobs whose specific skills and experiences triumphed over getting a degree, the truth is many companies still rely on a degree requirement when recruiting because of certain qualities a degree is thought to indicate, and whether you think this is reasonable, you can only come to terms with the situation for what it is.
If you are contemplating discontinuing your education to focus on your business, below are two practical reasons why you probably should abort such thoughts.
Dear readers, I am sure you all are accustomed to the saying that life happens. Let us give this phrase a second thought and put it in the context of our conversation. The truth is nobody knows what the future holds. That degree you think is irrelevant now may prove to be the key required to unlock an opportunity in the future.
On a different angle, while you may have decided that your side business is your career path which does not require a degree, you must keep in mind that the service you are providing now or the goods you are selling presently may be obsolete in the nearest future as consumer demands are constantly evolving.
Also, it is not uncommon for entrepreneurs to decide after some years to work 9-5 graduate jobs and if you do not have a degree this option will certainly be unavailable to you. With that in mind reader, it is better to get your degree even though it may not be beneficial to you immediately, as with your degree you have a wide range of options in both graduate and non-graduate roles. However, without a degree, you have little to no chance of getting a graduate role especially in the present Nigerian economy where a BSc is a criterion for working in a semi-skilled job.
Let us face it, have you ever heard anyone say I regret ever getting an education? What you may have heard is the literal opposite of this statement. If you drop out while you have the resources and means to continue your education, you may never have the opportunity to return even when you intend to. As you would know, life gets more complicated as you get older and so it is quite difficult to get back to education after a long break. More so, with other commitments in life like marriage, being a carer to a family member or even the running of your business- your decision to go back may fade over time and you may regret deciding to drop out in the first place. Therefore, we encourage you to take advantage of your time now to complete your education. You may even decide to run your business while doing this.
Undoubtedly it would be challenging to study and run a business, but you must clearly identify your reason for deciding to do both, remain focused, and work towards achieving your set goals. Lastly, as a business owner, you have the luxury of planning your schedule in a way that fits in perfectly with your other commitments. Therefore, you can take some days off work each week and dedicate some time to studying.
To conclude today’s article, we recognise that some people may not have the means to continue their education due to present circumstances whether finances, family, or even the feeling that it is too late to go back or perhaps you just feel the formal education method in classrooms is not for you. One of the benefits of technology is that you can educate yourself if you have a phone and the internet. There are lectures on YouTube, there are podcasts on Spotify, there are online degrees with flexible payment plans that do not require previous qualifications, and lastly, there are free online training and skills courses with a certificate on completion. The gist is whatever your current situation is or whatever your preference maybe if you are determined to get that knowledge you will get it.
The lesson to take home and reflect upon today is that education is an important life tool. As a student myself, I have learnt to view education as more than just the content of teachings in the classroom but as an experience that encompasses the gaining of transferable and life skills and the opportunity to meet and connect with future prominent individuals. Starting a business is brilliant of course but it should not be at the detriment of your education.