2016 Essay Competition - View all entries

Family and Life Experiences

Cyrinus Ogbu - Cyberjaya, Malaysia

The essence of a good career choice is to fulfill one's life aspirations, make a good living, lay a solid foundation for one's family, guarantee lasting happiness and achieve self satisfaction. Hence, the choice of a career is one of the most important but difficult decisions one can make in lifetime. It is important because a well thought-out and chosen career can make one achieve self-actualization in life. On the other hand, a career, chosen without in-depth consideration can mar the person's future existence. It is also difficult to make a career choice because so many contending issues may come into play. These issues include the person's numerous desirable careers, capability to accomplish it, family background, and financial ability to actualize it amongst others.

As a matter of fact, some years ago, I was personally faced with this all important but difficult decision to choose a career. Some of the factors that influenced my choice of a career include my family background with parental influence, and my personal interest arising from life experiences. Others comprise my ability and performance in my subject areas, school influence through Guidance and Counseling services, my educational path, the flourishing nature of the profession, arising opportunities and divine influence.

Basically, my family background with parental influence contributed to my choice of a career. I considered the background of my immediate family and the occupation of my parents, whether they were sufficiently pleasing and desirable. In my early years in the primary school, I grew to discover that my parents were in the academia, being primary school teachers. They eventually rose to the peak of their career as Head teachers. Even though they were able to provide the basic needs of the family, I was not particularly pleased with the miserly kind of life surrounding the family. More so, many of my uncles and aunts from both paternal and maternal sides ended up as teachers too. It seemed to me as a poverty-reflecting pattern, resulting to lack of exposure to the modern world and so much confinement to our immediate community. As a result, my parents wished that I become a medical doctor and guided me towards that career as much as they knew. I also desired to break this pattern of restriction and liberate myself and subsequent descendants from this life of near-penury. Hence, I began to build my interest towards the medical profession.

Furthermore, my personal interest arising from life experiences influenced my career path. I considered various professions I deemed lucrative in the contemporary society, examining their pros and cons. I noticed that medical doctors were indeed knowledgeable, well respected, flourishing and positively contributing to the well being of the society. Also, I observed that the military profession, though not so common in my area, was equally highly honoured and fulfilling. Then, the military was at the helm of governance in my country. So, their disciplinary impact and tremendous exploits were vividly seen in the society. These reasons made me develop interest in both the medical and military professions.

Another consideration I made was an assessment of my ability and performance in my subject areas to qualify me for either a medical or a military career. I worked hard in major science subjects such as Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and in compulsory subjects such as English Language, Mathematics and Computer studies and excelled in all of them.

However, I lacked proper guidance as I had no career counselor or mentor who had gone up to university level to enable him/her direct me in my choice of university. My secondary school then had no Guidance Counselor to assist students in the choice of a career. This affected me negatively and on completion of my secondary education even with the requisite university entry requirements, I couldn't get an admission offer to study medicine in my first attempt at the University entrance examination. Also, my university of choice was made out of proximity not realizing that it was highly competitive. I ended up studying Agricultural Economics in the university; however, I was still not deterred towards joining the military.

The educational path I took therefore had some influence in my final career choice. It is pertinent to note that my personal interest and passion revolved around medical and military professions. Having drifted by studying a different course other than medicine, I needed to retrace my steps now that I became more mature. Consequently, my options were to go back afresh for medicine or to switch into the military through the graduate short service scheme. Considering the years involved in medicine, I took to the military option.

In addition, the flourishing nature of the profession stirred up my interest and influenced my choice. I had a quest for nobility and to carve a niche for myself and my subsequent descendants, so I prepared myself for the military. I was physically fit, mentally sound and academically well-above average, so when the opportunity for the military recruitment arose, my first attempt at the Army short service selection process was successful. I eventually joined, trained for nine months and at the passing-outparade, emerged as the 'Best Overall Passing-Out Cadet.' Hence the nature of the profession and arising opportunities were essential factors to my career choice.

With the development, my dreams were actualized as the interplay of all the factors I considered brought me to the fulfillment of my desire for a unique, noble and lucrative profession. One can therefore say that my decision was made after due consideration of the aforementioned factors. In addition, I strictly avoided short-cuts, illegalities and immoral life style. I observed diligence in my endeavours while summing up all my efforts with a divine direction through personal prayers. On clinching an entry into the military, I undoubtedly had a feeling of inner joy. Till today as I grow in the military profession with an ambition for the peak, I still experience that joy.