By: Professor William Jackson
“By the time the fool has learned the game, the players have dispersed.” Ashanti proverb
Competition is tough, the fields of study in higher education need to be mapped out because competition is not only local it is national and international. African students continue to face a serious dilemma in their approach to relevant and stable career choices, but as the tech infrastructure grows so do opportunities, but African students must be prepared, certified and aggressive in their actions and dreams.
Educational opportunities have never been more accessible and equitable, globally our world economy has created increased competition and with such rich resources African students have a great deal of leverage. When I say equitable, today’s African students have access to the best resource in history, the World Wide Web and connected databases, historical literature, publications from globally and even experts in career fields.
Never before in history have African students had access to global learning opportunities that allow for unprecedented learning and networking. The ability to instantly research investment opportunities, digital networking and Social Engagements that open doors to collaborations with people worlds apart. The trick is to get students to see it, understand it and apply that learning, that is why African Universities need to make sure their instructors are innovators, creators, developers, dreamers, and thinking outside of the academic box of digital application.
Teaching the skills of reading for comprehension is important even in higher education. So instructors have to be connected through all measure of devices to mentor and model for students coming into the digital age. If African instructors are still set with a mind in the 90’s and even early 2000’s they are no good to students in the 21st century.
Students during their college careers should be developing their Brands and their personal Niches with guidance from their instructors. Students need to understand what an entrepreneur is because the majority of them are and the value to the process of networking and true to the
meaning of pressing the flesh to be the best should be taught. African students need to understand the delicacies of engagement with investors, leadership in building teams and how to effectively collaborate on projects.
In my Educational Technology, Social Media and STEM class, too many students even seniors did not know what STEM, STEAM and STREAM where, what PLC – Professional Learning Communities and PLN – Professional Learning Networks are and how they work. PLN’s online like #EduMatch, #FlEdChat, #UrbanEdChat and others where professionals speak honestly about their careers in unfiltered ways. Providing best practices, strategies, knowledge based skills to work smarter.
African university students should know the top 5 people in their course of study, they should know the educational requirements and where to find advice on what Social Media platform for jobs, internships and where is the best place to be hired. There is no time for being scared and unprepared when you have access to a digital tool that can spread your Brand instantly
around the world.
This information is necessary for building a successful foundation to grow and create professional and personal stability. To go along with careers, students must be unique and original by building a position for themselves online and offline. Creating and re-creating to establish their credibility in E-reputations, E-personalities, E-Branding and what the Niche will be.
Asking these questions about how people see you, do people see you as an innovator, creator, developer, community activist? How diverse is your network of associates and who you can call on for ideas and resources. Can you “Codeswitch” nationally and internationally in diverse environments and feel comfortable about not losing yourself. Do you know if you’re an extrovert or an introvert? Are you a thought leader or you’re cognitively complacent about community issues because you have your success and everyone else needs to get theirs?
The world is full of diversity and requires situational awareness. What tools do you have to handle stress, set-backs, break-downs and even how to manage success? African students will face many challenges, so their pre-parathion must be strategic and applied to real life.
Finding a mentor to talk to, share ideas with and to have a person to vent is important. Students must develop a personal winner’s reputation because every Brand is based on the reputation created. Think about the minds of your audience, potential customers, clients and even the competition. Your focus as a student is to create, plan and build a reputation that sustains your Brand and allows it to grow and open more opportunities in the future.
When possible either physically or digitally attend conferences, workshops, find a mentor, visit and participate in library events and volunteer as much as possible to build your PLN in your community and city. If you fail to take advantage of these things you may be missing out on internships, scholarships and business opportunities that others will take advantage of and grow from.
You are your own worst enemy and your own best marketing tool. “Instruction in youth is like engraving in stone.” Moroccan Proverb.