The Next Step After Graduation

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 reminds every human being that for everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven. Life is made of terms from which the end of one is the beginning of the next one. The end of a month is the beginning of a new month; the end of a year is the beginning of a new year. The end of a generation is the beginning of new generation. The end of childhood is the beginning of teenage hood; the end of teenage hood is the beginning of adulthood. And so goes life.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, you are considered to have finished with school after successfully completing 6 years in Primary school, 6 years in High School and 5 years in a university. The successful accomplishment of the 17 years declares the beginning of a new age and season which a typical Congolese will refer to as “life” and will say “Maisha ime anja sasa.”

Our reflection in the following lines is to comprehend what should a fresh man from school do when hit with this new reality or season in life?

Below are three principles that can be very helpful in that season of life (more so for our entire lives):

Keep Learning

Throughout school, instructors encourage pupils not to be satisfied with what they have been given as notes, but to seek to understand more of the topic by doing personal reading and research. This habit should be carried on even after school.

From the famous quote of Albert Einstein about life being like riding a bicycle, we understand that by stopping to learn we shall not hold it for long before we fall down but it is by consistently learning that we will keep going from one level to the next and move forward. Reverend Festo in the panel organized by the youth department of CBCA Goma Ville made it very clear by saying: “After Learning Comes Death”. In other words, there is no place of stagnating, it is either you are leveling up or you are coming down.

The Bible also encourages people to know the author of live, the creator, the Alpha and the omega, the one with the final say, to be in a relationship with him and to desire to understand Him more even as He reveals Himself to us because if we do not seek to know Him, if we do  not repent of our sins and believe in His Son Jesus Christ through faith, if we do not seek to know His word and live in obedience to Him, then we are candidates to destruction (Hosea 4:6). 

Keep Serving

Jesus portrays to humanity what it means to be at the service of others. It is because of His service that those who repent of their sins and believe in Him are at peace with God, their Father and are in a relationship with Him and live with hope of eternal life with the Father. 

Serving others demands sacrifice. It calls you to put down your ego, your degrees, your social status, connections, and your positions etc. and just serve. I consider this to be one of the most difficult things to do after school. Because the feeling after school is of the one who knows, the one who should be put first, the one who should be well rewarded after His input in a certain matter, the one who understand better the concept, etc. And this feeling leads many to pride and not humility to serve. It is clear in the Bible that God opposes the proud but rewards the humble, He shows favor, He gives grace to the humble, (James 4:6). 

Dear graduate, it is a must that you will learn to be humble servants and followers. In John 13:1-17; Jesus, by washing the feet of His disciples teaches us that serving His disciples did not make them (the disciples) greater than Him (Jesus). He remained their Master, Lord and teacher. So, serving others does not make you inferior, it does not make us loose our value or status or degree, but the Bible says the one who serves others is the greatest among them all.

Keep Working

Paul makes it clear for the Thessalonians believers that “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.” (2Thess. 3:10). In fact, he exhorts them to keep away from every brother who is idle and does not live according to the teaching they received from him (2Thess. 3:6-9). 

So, after studies, we are supposed to work for us to eat, we are not supposed to be idle and not having anything to do. Just work. I understood this concept better from my brother Sosthene KYUMA, who immediately after a successful completion of his 7 years in medical studies, while waiting for his new assignment; for 1 year, decided to grow tomatoes at home and take care of rabbits. Yes, it took courage, sacrifices, humility, and it is not an easy period but it is worth it, it is better than being idle (I was surprised coming home for holidays and find the brother intelligent doctor in some funny clothes working, and cultivating the ground and going round with a sac searching for rabbits’ meals, leaves). In all these, I learnt to fight laziness or idleness in the name of searching for an employment. The Bible says that the Lord will bless the work of our hands. So, just work. What is it you that you can do? Just do it and be courageous.

David Isse Muyonga