In 2012 when he was filling PUJAB forms at Senior Six, Elijah Kantinti, applied for BSc. Petroleum Geoscience and Production. He was lucky to have been admitted on government to Makerere University.
But in 2013/14 havoc started. “After attending a few lectures, I knew I did not belong there. I had offered PCB/Maths at A-Level and here I was seated in a typical Geology class. First I thought I would work hard and perform well at it,” he says.
But, he was wrong. He struggled through the first semester with no motivation at all. “I started getting in touch with my inner self, and realised that what I was studying was not going to work for me,” Kantinti confesses.
Though Kantinti started staying with one of his classmates in hope that he would motivate him, it did not help until he decided to forego the government sponsorship in the second semester of the first year.
“My family was frustrated. I took a break from school mid-2014 to late 2015,” he says. He later resumed school again in 2015; on a Diploma in Civil Engineering.
Feeling out of place
It takes courage to take a decision like Kantinti’s and many such as Daisy Muzira, a Bachelor of Leisure and Hospitality Management student at Makerere University Business School remained on crossroads.
“I had applied at Aptech for Software Engineering but when my relatives realised they did not have a degree programme, I was forced to apply at Makerere for a degree programme. I was given leisure and hospitality. I thought I would love the course which turned out different,” Muzira says.
The situation worsened when she went for her industrial training.
“First of all, the career is under looked. Most people in the field have certificates, diplomas, O and A-Level certificates and yet you all are doing the same work under the same working conditions. Actually, among the 25 trainees I was the only one pursuing a degree course. I was demoralized,” she says.
On the other hand, her parents keep telling her to hang in there, because the job opportunities are available, and so she has continued with the course, largely because it is her parent’s dream.
“I, however, plan to study the course of my choice after I am through with this,” Muzira concludes.
But Henry Nsubuga, a career development facilitator, says one can tell whether they are in the right course if they feel interested in what they study.
“Mere performance and good grades in a course do not mean that is where one’s interest lies. A course you pursue with passion becomes enjoyable and you give it your all. Besides, if a career is close to what one holds in high regard, it can bring satisfaction, prestige, freedom, then it will be right for them,” Nsubuga says.
Finally, he says, one’s personality is also important. “There are people who prefer relating with machines, others with people, and animals. A career in line with any of them will suit them perfectly. I encourage parents to be supportive to their children’s choice of courses and not impose any on them because your role as a parent is to facilitate the process of self-discovery for your children,” Nsubuga asserts.
“I was in Industrial Fine Art at Makerere University, but my parents did not consent. I was forced to change to International Business at MUBS. My first lecture was a test because classes had already started. I moved out of the class and return to Industrial Art.”
Your strengths and skills. Explore these to make a career out of them. People who do things they are talented in are likely to do them better.
Future prospects. Do you see yourself working in that career in the future? If you do not, then you have no business taking that course in the first place.
Consider costs. How much money do you need to study the course in relation to the salary you hope to earn. Do they correlate?