Coming of Age in Nigeria: Secondary School or University Affair

Coming of age basically means the process of growing from childhood to adulthood.  During the period students spend in schools pursuing formal education, many things change simultaneously.  These changes take place all the way from nursery school to university.  The most obvious change, perhaps, is the fact that their bodies undergo changes from childhood to adolescence and eventually, adulthood.  But what about their mental development? At what point do they discover who they really are?

Nowadays, there are much younger children gaining admission into universities than there were in say, the '80s or '90s.  I am talking about 13, 14, 15 year olds who are already in their 1st, and even 2nd year, pursuing one career path or the other. Because we often associate age with maturity, I think it is safe to say that many students entering universities (who are still minors under the law) are not mature enough to deal with the unique demands of university and post-graduation life.  Boarding house, and secondary schools prepare you for life's challenges in their own way, but I think the system is set up to benefit those who start at the right age (10 or older) and graduate at more mature ages (17 or older).

All these issues raise the question of where the child's coming of age occurs.  In other words, at what point does a child grow into adulthood mentally?  Is it still at the secondary school level or at the university level? With all the Nollywood and Hollywood movies on coming of age, there seems to be a split.  Nollywood movies seem to favor university as the place where children "come of age,"  while Hollywood seems to think it is high school.   What about you? What do you think? Kindly share your thoughts.

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I think the last 2 years of high school for most people, around that 16 - 18 years, but like you pointed out, this is in University for some people these days. IMO, that is too young unless one is a genius or something.

I think University is where that maturity hits; the point at which you are able to stand on your own and make decisions. Even people in boarding school are limited in the decisions they make as compared to those in College. There's something about relying on yourself and making your money work for you that matures people


Myne: Lol! I like how you put it: "genius." That sounds so American. Truthfully, I have heard Americans say the exact same thing, but this age thing doesn't only happen in Nigeria. It happens in some countries in the Caribbean too. Age 16 - 18 sounds about right though.

Dayo: Yes! No matter how much independence you think you have in boarding school / secondary school, it is nothing compared to college independence. That one is on another level. And definitely, maturity will hit in college, if it didn't happen in secondary school.


I would love to hear your thoughts. Please Share.

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