SOCIAL DYNAMICS OF CAREER CHOICES AMONG UNIVERSITY OF LAGOS FINAL YEAR STUDENTS
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Our successful existence in the contemporary world means the ability to solving numerous problems and making countless choices. Fast changes around us show that the number of choices to be taken grows daily. Some of such choices are about friends to move with, types of school to attend, programmes of study and choice of career. Career has been defined as the total pattern of one’s activities held during a person’s life-time (Natalie, 2006). According to the Webster’s international dictionary (1998) career stresses an individual’s achievement or advancement in a particular career. Career is a life work. Career is a lifelong experience, which enables individuals to earn money or to get all his or her needs provided. The individual who has the career may be able to live a good and a fulfilling life. Such an individual is able to raise a healthy family since with a good career choice all may go well for such an individual. These and many things show how relevant a career is in the lives of all humans. The need for career choice then becomes quite obvious. Indeed career choice is as important as choosing a life partner since it is also a lifetime process. Just like becoming miserable when the wrong marriage partner is chosen, one can also become very unhappy if ones career is not well planned (Bedu–Addo, 2000).
With a career choice in mind, a student can send application letters to companies even before school is completed. This may make it easy for such a student to look for a career because the student has an idea of where to go with an application letter and not to roam from every company looking for any vacant position.
According to Hewitt (2010) most people are influenced by careers that their parents favour in order to avoid conflicts in the home. In the same vain, Taylor (2004) revealed that children may choose what their parents desire simply to please them. This makes the youth confused as to why parents still see them as kids and incapable of making their own decisions. Such an individual enters this career for the parents denying the self which may render the individual incomplete in the career. Other choose career because of financial and social status while academic performance in another factors in career choice. These social dynamics has greatly influenced the choice of career among students all over the world.
Social dynamics can refer to the behavior of groups those results from the interactions of individual group members as well to the study of the relationship between individual interactions and group level behaviors. Like system dynamics, social dynamics is concerned with changes over time and emphasizes the role of feedbacks (Sterman, 2000). However, in social dynamics individual choices and interactions are typically viewed as the source of aggregate level behavior, while system dynamics posits that the structure of feedbacks and accumulations are responsible for system level dynamics (Sterman, 2000). Because social dynamics focuses on individual level behavior, and recognizes the importance of heterogeneity across individuals, strict analytic results are often impossible on how one individual affects the behaviour of one another. Social dynamics of career choices has taken various dimensions 1.e. students has influenced the behaviour of each others in several ways towards a particular career choice, for example many undergraduate students in sciences has ended up being musician because of behavioral influences from peers, hence this study among University of Lagos Final Year students. The University of Lagos – popularly known as Unilag, is a federal government research university in Lagos State, southwestern Nigeria.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Primarily, the social support system of a student is made up of parents, relatives, siblings, peers, teachers and counselors. As we can see, there are many opportunities or paths to be explored by final year undergraduate students. Final year student of a university will only have accomplished choosing a career if a complete, thoughtful, education decision was made, evaluating all of the social factors possible in career choice process. Peers and parental influences with the perceived social elevation attached to some professions have been the dominating factors and determinants to consider in the social dynamics of career choices of students. For example, entrepreneurship studies has always been chosen by fewer students in Nigeria, this course is considered very important to the development of any nation, this will have serious impact on the development of the nation since the course is considered unattractive by prospective students. Several studies have been carried out on career choices of undergraduate students, but there have been no studies on the social dynamics of career choices among students. This led to the decision of the researcher to embark on this study.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The general objective of this study is the analysis of the social dynamics of career choices among university of Lagos final year students and the following are the specific objectives of this study:
- To examine the social dynamics of career choices among University of Lagos final year students.
- To examine the influence of parent on career choices among University of Lagos final year students.
- To examine the influences of peers on career choices among University of Lagos final year students.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
- What are the social dynamics of career choices among University of Lagos final year students?
- What is the influence of parent on career choices among University of Lagos final year students?
- What are the influences of peers on career choices among University of Lagos final year students?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The results from this study will be useful for the students, their parent/guardian and the policy makers on education in understanding the social dynamics of career choice among undergraduate students. We live together as individuals in our various societies, individuals interact with each other, through this, they have influence each other as social animals. This study will educate on how these interactions (either with peers or parents etc) have influenced the career choices of undergraduate students in Nigeria.
This research will be a contribution to the body of literature in the area of the social dynamics of career choices among students, thereby constituting the empirical literature for future research in the subject area.
1.6 SCOPE/LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
This study is limited to the final year students of the University of Lagos. It will also cover the social dynamics of career choice among the final year students.
1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Career: an occupation or profession, especially one requiring special training, followed as one’s lifework.
Choice: a job that is selected as one’s favorite or the best.
Social: of or relating to society or its organization.