Campus Life Opinion People

Are dreams really valid? The life of a Kenyan campus student

Joining campus is momentous for any student.

It comes with an array of excitement, a bundle of ‘freedom’ and a great deal of relief, particularly after the pressure to excel in academics and other co-curricular activities that characterise the final year of studies in secondary school.

With the raging emotions that extend a few months into the student’s stay in college, soon boredom sets in.  As such, ‘freshers’ often indulge in social ills like drug abuse, alcoholism and even irresponsible sex – that they drag along into their entire college life.

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A university is a place where one gets weaned on all fronts. You cut teeth of wisdom in readiness for the package of intricacies life has in store for you. And, the juiciest, brightest, remarkable, loveliest of accomplishments. Like a proverbial honeypot, it is the sweetest thing to one’s taste buds upon being conferred with certificates from an institution of higher learning.

Life in campus often exceeds anything in all quantitative parameters. It is a mystery most intriguing, one which has always spectacularly eluded the grasp of many comrades’ intellect. It is a jungle where all beasts drink from the same pool; the coarse-mannered drink from inside the pool, while others soil the water after they’ve drunk it.

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In as much as ours is “a university with a difference,” and students with a distinct indifference, life over here plays out pretty much the same as elsewhere. “What hath ye to say if thou hath not tasted college life?” I’m tempted to question.

Of what we make of our time during our stay in the campus, is one’s own to decide. I decided to speak to a few comrades to find out what life is like in the “University of Choice”. You just could trace your story from these

Phanice Ochola, first year student

Phanice, joined campus in September 2018. She is a first-year student pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Community Development. “It was hugely refreshing to finally join campus,” she says “Moi University was my dream. It still is. I longed to be here.”

Though she radiates nothing short of determination, she admits that the main campus based at Kesses Constituency was never part of that dream. “Me thinks its fate…whatever… but, I find myself at Main Campus,” explains Phanice.

She is seemingly grappling with the reality of lecturers’ syndrome – missing classes, and the idea of free time. Nevertheless, she vows to be a true disciple of her principles,  “I will consistently honour my plans as I had from the outset,” she states.

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She is fascinated by the booming businesses and how comrades are making a living out of class activities. She has since identified a lacuna. Should she make up her mind to venture into pastime hustles then, an MPesa shop would do. “I would be privileged to have my own MPesa shop,” she says.

With about four years remaining to her graduation, Phanice is hopeful that she will graduate at the right time and walk out shoulder-high to religiously pursue her childhood career that she opportunely landed at Moi University. “Ideally, I have found a home away from home,” she says.

A university is a place where one gets weaned on all fronts. You cut teeth of wisdom in readiness for the package of intricacies life has in store for you.

Patricia Mumbua, Communication student, third year

“It was both exciting and fortifying to join Moi University,” says Patricia who is now a campus mum.

Two years into college life, she fell pregnant; an experience she says changed her perspective of life. “Waking up to think of my Tiffany’s welfare gets me going. I acknowledge that her fate solely depends on my knack to nature her,” she says.

In a phrase: “How the heart is sightless! If it has loved a rock, then in the rock it has found a home,” Patricia recaps how she got herself paged.

Juggling with academics and the thoughts of her baby’s well-being through the day is an epic balancing art she has seemingly mastered.

“In school, I purely concentrate on academics. You know it’s hard, right! In the evenings, it’s purely mum-child moment – I’d rather spend the whole evening calling my mum to know how the day was for my angel than engaging in nonsensical issues ,” a cautious Patricia adds that she has since reconsidered the kind of friends within her circle.

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On grounds of ‘Not two wrongs make a right’, unlike most girls who when befell with desperate situations, desperate solutions come in handy, Patricia resolved to walk the otherwise tricky space. “Most of my friends were for the idea that I abort but I did not,” she adds that they were even willing to support her financially.

In what she recounts as having to hoodwink her parents, accepting the fact of being paged and the fateful path of eventually being a campus mum was never easy.

“It was distressing to break this heavy message to my parents,” stated Patricia. She later confided in her mum who has since provided emotional, financial least to say psychological support, thanks to her profession. Patricia says that her mum is a teacher and a part-time counsellor.

“I am sincerely grateful to my mum,” Patricia appreciates.

Two years into college life, Patricia found out she was pregnant; an experience she says changed her perspective of life.

On whether the reality of things and her ambitions still marry her debut aspiration when she joined campus, Patricia has reaffirmed that she’s more focused than she has ever been.

“Being a mum while still in college has widened my understanding of the world. In fact, during the recess, I interned at various media houses. I now understand what my career entails, “a resolute Patricia tells.

Victor Rono, third-year student

Victor is a third-year journalism student and a good humoured young adult who wears his jolly disposition like a hat of honour. He likes telling African stories to Africa and beyond since childhood.

Joining Moi University, he says, “was an immense nostalgia veiled in excess euphoria. On one hand, it’s gratifying; on the other, a difficult, a demanding and a scary endeavour – the thoughts of delving into a crowded career upon certification, not so formidable a thing to keep in your mind.”

Like in tendering, journalism is for the best in the art. How Victor braces himself: “Even as a first year, I was already blogging. Buying a professional camera sometime last year was just accelerated by the urge to tell stories better. To this point, some already referred to me as ‘the CNN guy’. It’s a wonderful thing, it always got my ambition enlivened,” narrates Victor.

Victor has since Vlogged 22 stories on his YouTube channel called YouthBase.

“If by earthly standards, just as it were in the Israelites exodus era, asking and believing were enough then by now I would have been a CNN correspondent based in Africa,” an enthusiastic Victor continues to narrate.

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While “Moi Varsity, got a history of sending/giving its students on long holidays and the lecturers not any different from any other in the public University within the republic,” Victor says that the breathers are good enough to build an individual with the an appetite for greater ambitions beyond mediocre feat.

To him, the satisfaction derived from studying a career one is passionate about is not equational. “There’s no better ingredient to the greatness bestowed on me by the Providence than being in a journalism class,” says an ambitious Victor.

Victor who subscribes to the ideology of “telling African stories the African way” says the art of storytelling ought to be nurtured at earlier stages. He prides himself with having known his calling long while still in secondary school. “Having the right vision from when one steps into campus keeps them from deviating from their ultimate goal,” Victor says.

Omath Oketch, recent graduate

Thrilling, overwhelming, exhilarating and a dream come true! Such were the feelings when Omath first set his foot on campus soil. His maiden trip to Moi University is one he fancies recollecting.

“While at high school, campus sounded like this land full of honey and milk – worse beer, which your results slip, was the only ticket, as a result, I had a hankering for joining campus especially after four years of pure struggle at secondary school.

As well, my erstwhile classmates were apparently ripping big from their passions. By joining campus I also had an opportunity to set the world ablaze… I needed to set the ball rolling as soon I’m at the institution of higher learning” says Omath.

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He noted after some time, the anxiety faded away as the realism dawned. “You realize that you either choose to drown for four years or swim in the pool with others,” he narrates.

In a field he was never buoyant of pursuing, Omath, now an alumnus of Moi University, says “the decision to quit the love for legal studies was influenced by his friends.” He then plunged wholesomely into journalism – an endeavour he finds rewarding. “I practised it daily – I still do. It gives one a platform to relate what they study to what they do,” he adds, “it’s the only course that you get to practice what one is taught in real time…as such, you master the art of storytelling before you get certified.

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I was a writer with the Communicator since 2014 then Editor in chief from January to September 2016,” he says adding that being in a university can either make or destroy someone.

“As soon as the actuality strike, the boredom sets in and the once anxious soul finds itself engulfed in the incredible tempest of financial constraints of college life, the tedium of lack of fulfilment from the course and a dead end of enthusiasm dryness, one then becomes reckless with their lives in campus.”

According to him, being a campuser is the toughest test of all time. If one weathers it, then they can survive anywhere. He adds: “at this moment, a comrade may find himself wallowing in the wildest of thoughts; being a sluggish student whom academics is not a concern anymore, settling for drug abuse worse even is when one gets dragged into boozehound.

When I left the lecture room never to return, I was confident that I am a better, more productive and a resourceful citizen – Omath Oketch.

Others choose to gallivant but for him, he began blogging to help him while away his ‘lazy moments’. He could write for “the big fish” in the media industry as early as second year. Later, the newfound quest for videography and production that whetted his desire to own a camera – so that he can manage his productions without relying on someone who more often than not, tend to disappoint.

There is a thin line between free time and leisure moments particularly to a college student and, how Omath managed his time; he tells that peer pressure can dupe an individual into engaging into atrocities that ruin the entire student-college stay.

“If not well used (leisure time), it can divert into total rue and can of worms. There’s need to be careful with your life in college,” he cautions. He says, weekends are the best time to use; for personal gains.

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From January 2018, since the inception of Mobile journalism, Omath has been the video content producer doubling up as the political editor of the weblog. He prides himself with having achieved so much during his college days.

“I am proud to be able to film a story and even edit whether video or text format. When I left the lecture room never to return, I was confident that I am a better, more productive and a resourceful citizen,” retails an ambitious victor who’s hopeful to secure a job soon.

However, he advises against being content with whatever one is taught at school. “Get out of your comfort lest you waste away your four years of being in campus.”

Surviving campus life 

“Actually, to whom much is given, much is expected,” Ms Njeru a counsellor says.

“You either make or destroy yourself. I would advise that let everyone who qualifies to be in a University to always revisit those times when they would pray to God for a breakthrough. You know those times when KCSE is approaching? That’s when everyone, even the pagans call for God’s help.

I know, there are sometimes when you might need this screw fixed here and a bolt tightened there – all these translates to cash and the financial support from home may not be enough. As such, students come up with businesses which they execute to act as a rescue point in case of emergency. However, I would advise that you practice safe business; one that does not lead you into rubbing shoulders with the administration.

Life in campus often exceeds anything in all quantitative parameters. It’s a mystery most intriguing, one which has always spectacularly eluded the grasp of many comrades’ intellect.

Drugs are to be avoided like plague. They ruin lives. It also happens that you come out of campus certified but not professional. How painful!

Well, it does not make sense to advice and the words carried by the passing wind. The ball is on every campuser to realize the extremes of sacrifices and investments someone somewhere – a parent or a guardian is having on them.”

After looking at the different situations of each comrade, do you see part of your life in campus too?

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