When you are from a poor country and gone to uni, you are expected to know it all. You are supposed to be able to comment on every single subject. It gets worse if you are from a very small town. The village will come seeking your advise on everything, be it in medicine, accounting, politics, management, engineering, maths, science or even marriage – even if your are 23 – psychology,…e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g! To top it of, you can’t say “I don’t know”. oooouuu heaven forbid dare you say those words. Unending follow up questions and teasing will follow if you dared…”Haven’t you gone to uni?”, “what is the point of studying that hard all those years, if you don’t know such and such?”,…goes on and on…
Then the reality of life after graduation sets in when you land your first job (which by the way are getting harder and harder day by day). The expectation of living an independent, modest life is immediately tarnished by the real cost of things. You realize your parents have shielded you from the agonizing realization of prioritizing, and getting by month to month in such a meagre income.
The great advantage of being a graduate is that you will have options. And that’s a very important distinction earned for studying hard in a country which has very very few alternatives to get by. The ideals one has of helping his/her country (eg. 2007 AAU engineering graduates proclaimed “WE BUILD ETHIOPIA” on their year book) will be tested by the reality of living on such a small salary. The question becomes ‘How long can I endure living under such conditions?’ The majority don’t see themselves tolerating for long hence immediately start looking for other options. The LUCKY, DILIGENT, and INTELLIGENT ones won’t have to suffer that long for they will get scholarships to study abroad and hence are easily off the hook. A considerable number manage to find a relative abroad to sponsor part of their study/living costs and travel to study. Very few can in fact afford to study abroad – I guess these are not supposed to suffer in the first place even if they stayed anyway.
The guilt sets in when the rosy side of studying and working abroad is acclimated and is no longer a wowing factor for the one going through it (obviously it still is for everyone else). Old voices and promises made for the home land start getting lauder. Even if one pays his dues in cost sharing, taught in a university or served in a public sector – which are considered a legitimate way of giving back – that guilt of not contributing to the country much more is always in the back of his/her mind.
This article is to encourage concerned people to start talking about it. Whether the current situations display the need to feel guilty, when is one considered free from the guilt, do’s and don’ts to minimize it…
Have you ever been in a similar situation? How did you get through it?
You can read more of Jemal M.Hussien blogs at his website http://www.jemalhussien.com/