Confessions of a jobless NUL graduate
When she was six years old, she wanted to become a soldier like her father. When 10, she had a change of heart; she wanted to be a nurse. When 15, aspirations changed again, now she wanted to be a teacher. When she was 18, she was told by her english teacher: “You write good essays, your expression is excellent, your arguments are sound, there is always logic and coherence.” At this stage, she thinks she has to be a lawyer, but she is confused.
At the age of 23, she gets a Bachelor of Arts degree, the future looks so bright because the programme she enrolled in offered a wide range of careeropportunities. She was often asked by her father: “So you have a degree now, where are you going to work?”
She would reply: “I can work as a director, a project manager, an editor, a linguist, a columnist, a researcher, and an analyst.” The list could go on, but she withdrew herself as she could sense the cloud of confusion that surrounded her father. he could not grasp any of these professions as he was just a mere soldier. It felt good to her when reciting these occupations as they showed an element of sophistication.
The job-hunting process begins, she has so much hope. For this reason, she becomes an avid reader of vacancies in newspapers and submits job applications every week to potential employers. In good faith, she applies for positions she qualifies for and those that she does not due to lack of experience. While on this mission, she is confronted by all sorts of negativities but is determined and undeterred. her heart is set on only one desire; attaining any of the careers outlined in the information sheet of her programme.
Six months pass while still in the relentless pursuit of her dream career, nothing has come up so far. She is still persistent in dropping application letters, hoping that she will get something someday. In this period, she is even applying for jobs that require people who hold diplomas; however, she is told that she is over-qualified.
The next strategy she employs is proposing to volunteer so that she could be considered a suitable candidate when a position is available. nonetheless, this fails as well. A year has passed. There is still nothing. She has not been called to a single interview in all the attempts she has made.
At the age of 25, she is scared, deeply threatened by the thought of becoming nothing. All her efforts seem to be in vain and hope is beginning to fade. She feels like she has been overwhelmed by a dark cloud. The pressure coming from the parents, siblings and neighbours is mounting and unbearable but she does not let them see that she is faltering.
The pain is subdued yet searing. In response to their nagging questions, she often told them: “I will find something someday.” This is a deeply soul-crushing experience. In reality, she has grown weary of the endless search as she feels as though her countless applications are just being shoved into some long forgotten files. It is gradually dawning upon her that the system has become too saturated to absorb her.
People would normally ask, “So what are you doing now?” And she would reply: “I was at the national University of Lesotho (NUL).” Of course she knows that this answer is irrelevant, but she cannot bring herself to say that she is not doing anything. That is a doctrine of despair she cannot uphold. It feels like accepting underachievement open-heartedly.
For a while, this response seemed to offer a worthwhile sanctuary. however, two years go down the line without a career, the answer stops to offer the much-needed refuge. It starts to become monotonous. Her spirit begins to flag, she feels as though all dreams have been shattered. She has always dreamt of becoming something, but now she is gradually being reduced to nothing.
While deluded in the perpetuation of her ideal profession, the biological clock is ticking. Feelings of inferiority keep escalating. She feels as though she is extremely lagging behind in comparison with age-mates who are making remarkable developments in their lives. every now and then, she is constantly infested by thoughts of being a failure. She also feels like an object of ridicule when her degree fails to secure her a career that would ensure sustainability. She plunges deep into a murky cesspool of depression. Gloom and doom find residence in her mind. She cannot forgive herself for not making her parents proud. They have nothing to say about her when other parents brag about the safe careers of their own children.
At this stage, while hypnotised by the hallucinations of a white-collar job, the victim mentality steadily creeps in. Whims and caprices keep spewing out of her mouth. All the time when trying to provide the reasons for her miserable situation, she cries corruption, oppression, nepotism, discrimination, exploitation, this, that. If given the opportunity, she would even blame the weather. When in this condition, she wants to disappear and sink into the dusty walls of the earth or fly away into the sky to hide from the harsh facts of the bitter and brutal reality.
At the back of her mind she keeps having vague memories of her sweet childhood when everything seemed possible. She wishes that she could have just been a soldier like her father because that job does not require a myriad of qualifications. Not even a diploma is needed. All that is needed is to show the willingness to let the authorities decide your destiny. The utmost quality needed is being submissive. Obey orders without questioning, orders of whom to kill or who to keep. Who to elect or who to eliminate, stay loyal to the politicians; protect their interests by staging coups whenever they deem fit.
enlisting in the military seems to be the only option left in order to escape the scourging stigma of becoming nothing. With a tear washed face, she reaches for her pen and paper and begins to draft an application letter addressed to the army though perfectly aware that she still does not qualify, she feels there is no harm in trying. This seems to be an unusual application letter; it is seven pages long but she cannot stop herself from hurriedly scribbling. She starts to feel a long lost relationship developing between the three of them; herself, the pen and paper. This connection feels very much distant, yet so liberating. She finds the solace she has been longing for and she starts to dream again.