My Desire Is Somewhat Cultural
Posted August 11, 2010on:
Nigerian culture places heavy emphasis on higher education. It’s not enough to go to college, one must attend college and return to school for a graduate degree. No questions asked because college isn’t an option for us Naija kids, it’s a requirement.
There isn’t a discussion about school, it’s sort of just understood. Nigerians don’t ask ‘if you are going to college?’. Instead, they ask “Where are you going to college?” and “What course will you be reading?” Reminding you to ‘Make your parents very proud.”
It’s a simple equation really.
Nigerian child + collegiate degree + graduate degree = Proud Nigerian Parents (*This formula holds true for any immigrant group. Feel free to substitute your country of origin.)
Even though I have always wanted to return to school to earn my master’s, I recognize that my desire is due in part to my culture. Part of socializing in the Nigerian community is attending graduation parties. We eat, laugh, dance, and congratulate the graduate for focusing on their studies. Parents of the graduate thank God for providing the grace to raise the child and publicly tell the graduate that they are proud of them. Now how’s that for some heavy-handed reinforcement?
For some reason, I only took notice this summer. I have attend so many graduation parties that I can’t keep track. So and so graduated from high school, a childhood friend just finished medical school, a relative completed pharmacy, another person got their bachelors, and the list goes on.
My father once told me that no matter where in the world you are if you find a university, you will find a Nigerian. “We [Nigerians] know how to read book [study hard]. We read book from ‘pali to pali’ [translation: cover to cover].
I soon will be reading very hard. My MBA program has condensed a two year degree into one year. Yea, you read that right. I just might use that Nigerian study trick my father mentioned years ago. Something about placing your feet in a bucket of cold water while you read to keep from nodding off. Don’t hold me to it, though. I said ‘might’. I make no promises.