Life in Campus.Wachira John
There I was, amidst a lake of folk… (Wait, I’ve noticed I use the word folk a lot, never mind.) Where was I? Ah, yes. There I was with so many people around me. None of whom I knew. It was my first day in campus during the first year registration. While I looked at my would-be campus mates, I gladly entertained victory thoughts, those that went something like…I will own this place, I’ll show all of you people what I’m made of by the time were done here. I was happy I’d made it to campus. Now that I was here, everybody seemed oblivious of that fact. A friend said it well; nobody quite cared if you scored an A or a Z. I felt like it was a rude welcome. Then there was a Christian union tent inviting first years to register as CU members. I didn’t because I was nervous. Told myself I’d sign up later. The queues, the unfamiliarity, the crowd made me feel alone and scared. This isn’t what I thought campus would be like. Soon, I bumped into a former high schoolmate. We weren’t really friends back then but meeting here at that moment made us instant bestie’s. I wasn’t alone anymore. After I got my keys, the first thing I noticed on my room door was a faded capitalized phrase…”Not for the faint hearted” I felt my heart sink.
The classes weren’t any better. Sure you could leave any time you wanted contingent on what kind of lecturer you had. Some just didn’t care if you showed up or not. Others wrote minute handwritings and if we complained, they said they’d written like that for 12 years; so we suit ourselves. One day, a Calculus lecturer turned back from the board after solving a complex equation, clearly, almost no one understood what he was teaching. Then he went on to say that we were looking at him like he was a football match. Phewx… kumbe a calculus lecturer could crack jokes. The joke didn’t help much…that day, I left that class having understood only the joke.
The Christian Union was really the place I experienced peace and tranquility. The first time the choir sang, I thought they were good; really good. Later, a play called princess Jerida was staged. It blew me away. I knew I was at the right place; I felt it. And now, four years later, I know for sure I did well to have joined the Christian Union. I couldn’t exchange my experience there for anything. I was an introvert of introverts but I learnt to speak and interact with other people. I’ve had the opportunity to meet, interact and make friends in the CU. Some whom I think will keep that status for life. Most importantly, the CU has helped me and a host of others grow spiritually. If I don’t remember the JKUAT Christian union for anything else, I will remember the growth I’ve had in my spiritual life.
Just after my first year, I dropped out. What? Yeah, I did. I felt the course I was doing didn’t auger well with what I wanted. I did not know exactly what I wanted but I knew and felt I was in the wrong place. And so, just like that, I was out. It was the beginning of another journey. I signed up for online computer science related courses in University of Toronto and Harvard respectively. After I was done with their programs, I discovered an online campus; University of the People which offered tuition free diplomas and degrees. I thought it was too good to be true, but it was. Two years later and I know that I’d still choose it again if I went back in time. I applied and was accepted as a degree seeking student. Though I was no longer a student of JKUAT, I still reported as though I was a student there because it was the only place I knew and could fit in with an academic environment.
The years went by, my experience no different than any student attending a brick and mortar university. A lot of skills and valuable lessons picked up along the way. A lot of friends made and lost; success and failure. I’ve observed that in many ways success is not easy, unlike criticism which risks so little but enjoys a position over those who offer themselves and their work up for judgment. The important thing to me however is that in the grand scheme of things, a simple trial to succeed is far more valuable and meaningful than negative criticism. Though the world is often unkind to new creations, talents, the unfamiliar, I have leant that the very important thing is being true to God and to self; being confident that I can do it. And do it well for that matter till I answer criticism with success.
It’s a cool morning. While standing at my balcony, watching vehicles zoom past, masons at work, a kid running to school and these scenes inaudibly whispering to me, “Welcome to life after campus.” And so a new chapter begins.