In my third year in junior school, just like my fellow Nigerian school mates, stereotypes made me believe that I had to be a science student to be considered a person who would most likely be successful in the future. A science student offers the core science subjects, therefore such a person would most likely be an engineer or medical doctor. Those two professions are also considered the only good ones in Nigeria. So, I had to tell myself that I would be a doctor. I mean that was what my father loved to hear.
Now, I had moved onto the next stage, first year in senior school as a science student. My new best friends became my physics, biology and chemistry textbooks. It was no longer a joke seeing as one’s high school grades make up the most important part of your transcript for university admissions. Lo and behold, I found myself forcefully studying hard to get good grades in these subjects yet I had lost interest in the sciences. At this point, I asked myself several times if I actually wanted to study medicine or it was just the stereotypes serving as my decision maker.
The belief still holds in Nigeria that only those who take classes in art subjects can be lawyers. Being engaged in group conversations with my peers often time became discouraging because many of my friends laughed at my decision of becoming a lawyer. They made jest since I offered mainly science subjects in senior school. Yet, possessing grit, I refuse to falter in pursuing my dream of becoming a lawyer.
Another mentality I think Nigerians have is that if a child does not score a hundred percent in anything that they do, they automatically do not understand anything that they learn in school. But that should not be the case. Your intelligence should not be determined by only tests. To think of it, why then do we praise these so- called over intelligent people when we do not know if they actually scored a hundred percent in every test they took.
It is saddening that young people instead of being motivated are usually shouted at for not making perfect grades. Notwithstanding, every human has the same brain capacity so we all can get the amazing grades. Do not be distracted by people but instead focus on the most important things that you have to deal with now. Challenge yourself to do better than you could ever expect. Therefore, you need to work harder than you think.
I encourage people to never be discouraged in pursuing the career that they truly desire. An individual can be successful whether or not he/she is a science student or whether he/she had the best grades while in high school. Stereotypes we have in the Nigerian society should not affect what you want or what you would like to be in the future. Your drive should instead be moved by the passion you possess.
This is a call to readers to not be influenced by stereotypes in making decisions and allowing their passion for things be the true reason for choosing future careers.