Nnoma was sure she was made for Science class, even though few of her closest friends will be there. Her dad had also told her she could be anything she wanted to be. She enjoys Math very much, and quite surprisingly Literature! She would like to take up computer coding, and try her hands at Technical Drawing – ever since she saw a documentary on architecture. In fact, she has begun writing a series of short stories for a competition she wishes to enter for. She is beyond confused, because her interests are varied, and seem unconnected. What should she do?

Being a good student especially in the Sciences may make you feel like studying Science is the natural choice. Perhaps, you want to emulate your role model and what they chose to study. But your situations are not exactly the same. What if you don’t really like Science as much as you like History or Economics? Perhaps you like a whole lot of other things that may be unrelated like  Literature, Art, Computer, History. You  may even take a couple of aptitude tests and find that they are inconclusive in helping you make a choice.

Well, there are no easy answers to this type of question, but let’s look at it from all sides.

1. Don’t Have the Feeling that You MUST Study Something

Even if all the good students in school are doing it, try not to feel that you are expected to as well. Your abilities and interests are different. So, think about it deeply. Ask questions like: Do I envision myself taking up a career in it? Do I really enjoy studying this subject? (the best way to know is if you ALWAYS make an extra effort to understand the concept beyond what is taught in class, or what will be set in the exams.) Do I question some of the things I learn, because I believe it can be improved upon?

These are some questions you may ask yourself.

2. Make a Wide Variety of Choices

If your school permits it, you could make a choice of subjects across the different departments that interest you.  Since English and Mathematics are compulsory, this leaves you with seven. Do you like and enjoy core Science subjects – Chemistry, Physics, Biology; Core Art subjects – History/Government, Literature, CRK; Core Commercial subjects – Commerce, Account, Economics. Other miscellaneous subjects include Further Mathematics, Technical Drawing, Yoruba/Igbo/Hausa, French, Computer Programming, Geography, Photography, Food and Nutrition, Music and other Trade Courses

For someone like Nnoma, it’s obvious she likes analytic and creative courses, so she should study: English, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Technical Drawing, Computer Programming, Literature, Further Mathematics and one Nigerian language, say Yoruba. And perhaps join an Art club.

With English, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Further Mathematics – she can study Engineering (including Computer Engineering) at the university

With English, Mathematics, Physics, Technical Drawing, Chemistry/Further Mathematics – she can study Architecture at the university

With English, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Computer Programming – she can study Computer Science at the university

Though she may not be able to study English and Literature at a Nigerian university with her subject combination, but she may be able to take some minor courses in them if she proceeds to study abroad.

3. Work as an Intern

Think you are too young to be taken seriously? That’s not true. If others see how focused and eager you are to learn, they will be glad to show you the ropes. Want to be a writer? Could you volunteer to work with one, perhaps helping to proof-read, and learning from them at the same time? You could also do same with lawyers, engineers, computer programmers, artists, accountants, even doctors! You could spend your long and short holidays this way. Besides, you will also be gaining firsthand experience, and learning life skills that will come handy in the future.

Finally, have these nuggets of wisdom with you at all time

  • People will always have expectations of you, but at the end of the day, it’s YOUR life, not theirs! Listen with an open mind to their opinions, but let the decision be yours.
  • People don’t always have all the information necessary to advise you correctly, so their advice is not gold.
  • Aptitude tests can be inconclusive.
  • You may not know enough about the professions that you think you will enjoy, so be slow in making permanent decisions.
  • You DON’T have to follow your peers. If all your friends are doing something, and you want to do something else, it is essentially an opportunity to make new friends.
  • Don’t place limits on yourself, unless absolutely necessary. Everyone has ideas about themselves that are not exactly accurate. Doing things against type may actually help you become more well-rounded. Don’t think some subjects are for boys, and some for girls, that’s untrue!
  • Life  can surprise you, so always have an open mind. And whatever the case, see it as an opportunity to learn.