A few years ago when I was an undergraduate student, I had friends who were also studying in Ghana frequently asking me to send them some little cash—because things were tough for them as students.
This is a case of one student at different part of the world asking another student to chip in some coins to relieve him of his financial struggles. Those I could help, I did and those I couldn’t, I had to constantly remind them that I was a student just like them, depending on a part time job.
I didn’t understand and still do not understand why most Ghanaian University students do not have part time jobs, which can go a long way to put some money in their pockets—just like most students in Europe and America do.
From College to University, I did several jobs—-I worked at Argos, Mataland, Marriot Hotel and I remember working at Hotel Chocolate one summer. I did not only have a job during school breaks, though I worked more than the usual when on vacation. Most College and University students like me did and continue to do the same. I had several friends who worked at Costa Coffee, Starbucks, TopShop, KFC, Nandos, Marks and Spencer and other places…
Working as a student in Europe and America has become a tradition, with most of the workers at Footlocker, Sports Direct, H&M and other shops being mostly students. In fact, not having a job as a student goes against the norm—students do all these jobs to help develope a working culture and more importantly, to have some extra cash to support their own offside activities.
However, when it comes to Ghana, you will hardly find a Legon student working at on the RUN, Melcom or any of those shops—simply because they think they are above working at these places. With a lot of time on their hands each weekend, you find students doing literally nothing—except to chat from morning to evening.
It’s not just Legon students but throughout the country, students have this mindset that all what a student has to do is to study and that working in any of those retail outlets, fast food restaurants, filling stations among others are well beneath their standards. Even if these students do not need the little cash that they will get from working at these places, what about the need to develop a working culture and be able to develop the required work ethics during studies?
Recently, I listened to a programme on BBC Radio 4 on which an American professor spoke about her research, saying, affluent students in America are all over the country working in Starbucks, Footlocker and other places. Considering their background, she decided to find out why these students who did not actually need the peanuts they were being paid were so dedicated and eager to work at these places—sometimes forgoing classes to even go to work.
The long and short of the above is that, even those students who do not really need the money or care less about the pay in the West are still working, occupying their weekends and nights with jobs while poorer students in Africa have develop this huge EGO—which places them above having a part time job at some of the most common places around.
Interestingly, students in Ghana do not want to work because they are students and those places where they can work are far below their standard. But when they get an opportunity to travel, you will catch these same students working in McDonalds, KFC and other places. You will argue that they do so because of the money, but that contradicts the research I mentioned above which seeks to establish that, there is more to the student working culture than money…
Being a student in any part of the world is not a certificate to engage in only academic learnings, it is an excuse to do those jobs you find less valuable and interesting—and engage in a new lifestyle that fits within the hustle scope of being a student.
I remember how together with several others, I used to go to University with sandwich that I’ve made at home because those being sold at the University restaurant were a little expensive. The excuse was, I am a student and I need to save on anything I can.
I don’t want to conclude that most Ghanaian students are just lazy but it doesn’t connect well when you can’t find any substantive reason to excuse their non-working habit. Probably, they are just EGOISTIC and feel far better than those who work in the areas they can easily find jobs…
What do you think is going on?
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