Credentials VS potentials


When in school, we got free money and all we thought of just getting that top notch job that spins our world. Then, I felt every musician, even though successful, was a product of dull academic brain, or over-hyped talent. So when I heard Wizkid and Davido were out of school to face music, Ilaughed. This laughter covered everyone in the entertainment industry. Basically everyone who dropped out to face a passion or talent.

I’ve been in the real world for a while. My definition of real world is “the world where you solely call your shots”. The world where you might consider others, but it’s about you; where you have to pay your bills; the one in which no one can point fingers elsewhere but at you for your actions. In short, the world where money and fulfillment is priority.

Let’s get to the gist. Education seems over rated now. No doubt, what’s worth doing, is worth doing well. But please, if you have a talent which you think puts you in the limelight, pursue it hard. Now, I’ve not said you should leave school, because:

Education is meant to polish your potentials.

Undisputedly, obviously, we see a lot of rich folks who we shake our heads for at their level of illiteracy or poor packaging. That skill, gift, ability or treasure you have, is a vital tool to launching you into the deep. Besides, we all know that services are more yielding than products. If you have not discovered you key abilities, try to figure it out. If you have, start showing them, interact with superiors and polish these skills.

Your potentials are bmeant to polish your credentials.

Not all of us are born to be academic professionals. Chimamanda Adichie left medical school to face a life of writing.

Credential is good, but as things are now, your credentials alone might not sustain you in the real world. If you depend solely on the fact that you graduated with a good grade, then you might end up frustrated in life.
This over-dependence on credentials has (so much) affected the youths that most of them do not care to know if they possess any abilities that could be developed into a career, all they care about is how to go to school, graduate and then join the unemployment queue in search of unavailable white collar jobs.


On a practical note, it is not your credential that matters but your competence and ability to carry out tasks. A result-focused employer is not really concerned with what you graduated with, but his interest is on whether you have what it takes to move his organization forward.

I believe school should be a place where potentials and talents are refined and developed, and not merely a place for acquiring paper qualifications. Paper without potential makes you a liability.

Many guys at computer village fix phones and gadgets better than our computer science graduates. Mechanical engineers just know paper work with no ability to fix up a quad bike, talk more of a motor vehicle.

Let’s say it as it is: it is not about what you know, but what you can do with what you know.
Would you hire someone to fix your car just because he is a graduate or because he can actually fix the car perfectly? Life is about delivering value. For my dreams and goals, I hold firm to this phrase:

It’s either it brings money in, or opens door for me.

It is this credential-mindedness that has affected the economy of the country negatively. Why can’t we develop our potentials like the Westerners? Most conglomerates started while the founders were still in school; companies like Microsoft, Dell, and Facebook started in school, likewise Google and Yahoo which were actually research works.
These entrepreneurs were able to achieve this feat because they concentrated on their potentials and abilities and not just on their academic credentials.

Does this take out the importance of education?

Going to school and becoming a graduate is a good thing, but I’d like you to understand that there is a difference between ‘Schooling’ and ‘Education’. Education is the general process of knowledge acquisition and self-development, while schooling is just a subset or aspect of education.

It is actually possible to be educated through other means like ‘self-thought’, apprenticeship and experience; in fact there are lots of successful people in the world today that are self-thought. They never passed through any formal school system, while some even dropped out of school (e.g. Steve Jobs, Larry Ellison of Oracle Corporation).

It is not all those theories you learn in school that would sustain you in real life, especially if you are a graduate of certain science disciplines from some of our Universities, where students are not put through practical education.
The real world is a jungle where you are not placed in a class and then given examinations at the end of every semester; life is more practical with lots of obstacles, challenges and battles to be fought.
Schooling shouldn’t just be an avenue for you to acquire degrees, but you should use the opportunity of schooling to discover yourself and develop your potentials.

It’s not unusual for your potential to be different from what you studied in school; imagine a comedian studying Chemistry in the University; a graduate of medicine becoming a musician (Dr Sid); a graduate of Chemistry becoming a successful entrepreneur and founder of an internet company (Jason Njoku of iROKO TV).

Does the thought of going to work send wrong feelings? Start reconsidering. In the end, it’s not about the billions we amass, it’s the self-satisfaction and fulfilment we live with.

Do you want my candid advice as a fellow graduate? This is it! Develop your potential and either look for a job or create one that relates to it.


5 thoughts on “Credentials VS potentials

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  1. Education in Nigeria is a personal business now. Like criously I would advice people to go for their talents in addition to schooling.. Its the best right now. There is a better fulfillment in going for what u derive pleasure in doing. Thanks Kola.


  2. Thanks for this piece. I think the whole idea of education albeit schooling in Nigeria is really overrated as you said. In the true sense, going to school is not everything. It’s just sad that sometimes the fear of the unknown keeps us restricted to those certificates we have acquired.
    Nice one Kola


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