Literary Circle

Degrees And Certificates Don’t Define Who I Am — John Chizoba

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Degrees And Certificates Don’t Define Who I Am — John Chizoba

“It makes little difference how many university courses and degrees a person may own. If he cannot use words to move an idea from one point to another, his education is incomplete.” Norman Cousins.

“Economists who have studied the relationship between education and economic growth confirm what common sense suggests: the number of college degrees is not nearly as important as how well students develop cognitive skills, such as critical thinking and problems solving ability,” Derek Bok.

“What I have learnt is that a whole lot of people with degrees don’t know a damn thing and a lot of people with no degrees are brilliant,” John Henrik Clarke

I have met many great men of great repute who weren’t defined by what they studied in school or by what certificates and degrees they acquired from school. Some of them opted out from school to become who they are now.

Melancholy and sadness are the start of doubt … doubt is the beginning of despair; despair is the cruel beginning of the differing degrees of wickedness.

It has become a norm in our country, Nigeria for people to qualify you or get acquitted to you based on the certificates or degrees you acquired from the university or polytechnic without having any clue of those degrees stand to offer to the society.

I am not saying that those degrees are not good to acquire or not important, we know that to compete for the jobs of the 21st century and thrive in a global economy, we need a growing, skilled and educated workforce, particularly in the area of science, technology, engineering and math. Nigerians with bachelor’s degrees have half the unemployment rate of those with high school degree but, I think that degrees should not be a criteria to judge people base on what they can do and those that they cannot do.

Don’t judge me by my educational background, I can be better than those things I was taught in the four corners of the classroom. I may end up doing better than those people that went to school to acquire thousands of certificates and degrees. We have great men who became great today not because of what they studied in school but they became great because they discovered themselves; they discovered their lives beyond what men conditioned on papers with ink.

“Leadership consists not in degrees of techniques but in traits of character, it requires moral rather than athletic or intellectual effort, and it imposes on both leader and follower alike the burdens of self-restraint.” Lewis Lapham.

We should all feel confident in our intelligence. By the way, intelligence to me isn’t being book-smart or having degrees here and there; it’s trusting your gut instincts, being intuitive, thinking outside the box, and sometimes just realizing that things need to change and being smart enough to change it. You can be all you want to be without degrees littered on your shelf. You can self help yourself and still have one or two things that can stand tomorrow. Don’t allow anyone to put you down because you don’t have a PHD or HND or Bachelor’s of science, no! Your dog only bears the name you call it every day.


Shakuntala Devi once said that education is not just about going to school and getting a degree. It’s about widening your knowledge and absorbing the truth about life. It is very relative here, a reckoning vices. Although education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who are prepared not in degrees but in what can be beneficial to the world. Stop judging people based on the degrees before their names, judge them based on what they can offer to help make the world a better place. We are all bigger and greater than those papers on our shelves.


Let the truth be told, many people don’t work with their degrees or certificates. We have many who studied sociology who ended working as presenter and those who studied psychology who ended up working in the banking sector. So, it is not all about what you study or the degree you were awarded in the university, it is all about what you can do yourself. I am bigger than those papers likewise you; don’t defined by it.

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