School and Education
Every high school (at least as they come across to me) had enough bunch of brethren from Nairobi – whether an inner city kid or suburbanite. They nourished and maintained a yuppie culture – an urbanized affluent lifestyle. But beneath the veneer of affluence and style was an emerging cult of entitlement that became pervasive and entrenched in our schools.
Aha! Wondrous nairobians. You talk of a new hit song and they are rapping towards the dormitory. You mention your favourite footballer and there they are, giving the history and all the literature of Man U.
They had cocoa, and blue band, and detol. Four vests, 3 pairs of socks, deodorant and a couple of pants branded Maywhether (have you seen them).
Nairobians don’t just become your friend. You must demonstrate shared values. You must be able to regurgitate all rap songs, prove you can mimic rastafarans or talk in italics. The average nairobian kid makes an open disavowal to those who live simply like their ancestors once did. Nairobi kids want to be musicians and deejays yet, no one is putting in what goes into that. They want to be global talents through word of mouth. Where are your songs?
You must also be conversant with world superstars – their relationships, love scandals, type of cars they drive, amount they weigh, number of tattoo and, whether or not they are installed in illuminati. How difficult it is to be a nairobian!
Difficult because, for one, everyone around you think you are crazy. For another, you have to assert your will singly through this yuppie culture no matter what.
Moreover, Nairobi kids don’t just walk like you – throwing your legs wherever whenever. To them, walking is something you have to be particular about – it is a vehicle for self-expression.
They walk with trousers down there, as if they had another set of buttocks! They talk too like niggas. If rural kids were fastidious about life and style, and religiously looked for a certificate of occupation to this class of culture, they would not get them.
But they did not escape the wrath of commoners. Nairobians were lambasted as excessively consumptive in their pursuit of a more dominant ideological and cultural paradigm in our schools without much regard for those from upcountry.
In as much as they tried to operate unencumbered by restrictive school regulations, their yuppie heyday was short lived. By the time a nairobian will be done connecting all the aspects of their culture, an exam certificate would have returned a grade D downstairs and a rural kid would have passed, scoring an A – even in Kiswahili they don’t know how to speak.
No one can predict the future, but plenty of people are out there talking about what the future could be – with a changing technological, legal and cultural environment. Our glitchy human behavior may make it harder for us to take actions that benefit our future selves.
But when you can imagine concrete details of a possible future, it’s easier to close the future gap and put yourself into that future and it will become less of a stranger.
Like many students, I’ve fallen prey to a cardinal paradox – poisoning the present by agonizing over a future hardship that might never materialize. The greatest fear of many students is how they will begin life after their last university paper. See, we are wrapped up in things that have not yet happened. This makes us excellent problem solvers, but appalling worriers at the same time.
So, in this article, we want to ruin our short time alive by setting expectations of how we think everything should be after our university.
University comes with a lot of free things: free flowing water, free electricity, inexpensive accommodation, free WiFi and the fastest internet connections, free meeting rooms, free playing grounds, free gym services, free books in the library, free consulting from professors who always love getting involved in student run startups, free comrades – there are so many ways you can use your comrades for free, of course for mutual benefit, whether it is being shown how to use an application system in the computer, or holding your legs as you do sit-ups – virtually free everything you would pay dearly for outside campus.
Finishing your last paper means you are kissing the world of freebies goodbye. And you begin to live independently. The minute you threw that tasseled cap in the air, your student loans are no longer mythical numbers you’ve ignored for four years, Monday – Friday, 8-5 is a real thing, the year becomes a whole 12 months not two semesters and a break.
First thing pay attention to the present, ensure you have lived a full life so that you will not whine about those things you did not do in college. Fifty years ago, philosopher Alain Watts wrote in The Wisdom of Insecurity,
“It is in vain that we can predict and control the course of events in the future, unless we know how to live in the present. It is in vain that doctors prolong life if we spend the extra time being anxious to live still longer.”
Too often our minds are set on getting somewhere else. Each beautiful day comes to an end with hundreds of unnoticed moments behind us – we didn’t notice them because they were insignificant to us. And over time our entire lives become a massive pile of unnoticed and insignificant moments on our way to more important things. Then the important things get rushed through too… to get to the next one, and the next, until our time is up and we’re left questioning where it all went. But it doesn’t have to be this way anymore. This moment is your life, and you can make the best of it. The future hasn’t arrived. The only thing that’s real is what’s happening right now.
Choose your environment wisely. The environment is more powerful than your internal resolve. As a human-being, you always take on the form of the environments you continually place yourself. Consequently, the best use of your choices is consciously designing environments that facilitate your going one step beyond. Don’t spend all your time with idiots and then wonder why it’s hard to meet someone great to provide you opportunities. Go where the people you want to be like are.
If you move home, have a deadline how long you are going to stay there. It is comfortable yes but the distance between comfortable and complacent is surprisingly short.
Keep learning. Just because your formal education might have ended doesn’t mean you should stop learning. You have got to keep old skills sharp and continue learning new ones.
As for me, I will be willing to do any job in my field that provides an opportunity for moving ahead. I’m a big fan of starting small, trying different things to see which works and which doesn’t. And iterating based on feedback.
I Kissed Dating Goodbye is a book written by abstinence author, pastor Joshua Harris. He argues that traditional dating is “a training ground for divorce” because it puts people in the habit of quitting relationships when things get tough. However, didn’t intend to talk about Harris nor his crap, just used the title to prod you into reading this:
You understand young people love articles neighboring on love and relationships. As we polish our resumes and rack up extracurricular, we may have forgotten how to love. Do we need a class in dating?
I may be deviating now but before I treat you to a great read nonetheless, may I apologize to Sophia Macharia for breaching the writing style she has always advised me to uphold. That is:
K – Keep
I – It
S – Short
S – Sexy.
Sophia Macharia has been a steadfast supporter, a passionate critic and a dear friend for so long.
Here we go, as a substitute for family and a marker of the young man and woman’s arrival at a new stage of life, university come to serve all our needs: Educational, emotional, bodily as well as social. As we begin a new month, I like to talk about the social service. Realize I love to bring my articles from a personal perspective.
Can say I had a slower transference of allegiance from my village to college, a broader world where we witness real sexual development and acquire manly and womanly identities. Never got closer to ladies or dated any girl in my first and second year. Doesn’t mean I was devoid of confidence, exuberance, enthusiasm, muscular body, handsome face and self-assured stance as hallmarks of my youthful existence.
But I became more aware of myself and environment as I advanced the classes, begun to view the female companionship as an essential and desirable alternative to the company of male university friends. This view somewhat has tempered the influences I have had from my male campus environment and restored manly vigor by allowing me to regain the long pined for society of the unenfranchised sex… Shhhh! And rather than eschewing the heterosexual contact, I have seen it more often than not as a vital corollary to the homosocial relations of my college life.
Heterosexual romance, courting and liaisons, not attachment with other men has hitertho dominated my sexual development. My regulated contact with campus girls at specified times therefore has formed an essential component in the development of my character. So this emphasis on heterosocialability has become nearly as vital to the formation of my undergraduate identity. In essence, my heterosocialability has provided practical knowledge and imparted gentlemanly qualities which are perhaps more necessary and more valued and expected from a husband in the family setup of any household anywhere.
College is a bubble, and that bubble is full of attractive people of the same age all living figuratively and literally on top of each other. A campus full of people in the exact same demographic as you with no curfew in sight equates for most of us to having our first serious relationship around this time. And although this first-love stuff is certainly incredible, dating in college is also total bullshit. It just doesn’t count as reel dating. This is why:
“Lets get hopped up and make some bad decisions!” is the unspoken collegiate mantra. Its a bona fide breeding for bad decisions and this is the time you are supposed to make them, so in a way, casual hookups aren’t really judged the same way as they can be in adulthood.
The truth is, while you may feel invincible, entitled, a pro and even believe you are an actual adult during university, you still have a lot to learn about yourself – and that includes knowing what it means to really love and be loved by someone else.
Happy New Love Month
#Writing Is A Labour Of Love ☺
Twenty one year old writer of a book about life; Thrills and Chills – Trudging through life and an engineering student at Technical University of Kenya (TUK), Boniface Sagini has made, on Facebook, a critical observation on the dwindling role of university lecturers that I find of import to build on. These people exude a characteristic degree of professional insolence and arrogance as we shall see.
Here is Sagini “Public University lecturers are inspiring not altogether (at least as most of them come across to me) in so far as they teach or dress or treat students.
The lecture hall is supposed to be a learning, mentoring, nurturing space but it seldom is. Our lecturers don’t inspire us to become anything. ‘Lecturer’ is a title with a certain sheen and glamour but really what the teachers do is read PowerPoint slides, give us CATS they don’t mark, tell us how we are spoiled and make draconian rules in the class. Some of them connive to fail us and make our lives miserable. It is as though it soothes them. Some of them can throw you out of class and banish you from ever attending the class again for barely any good reason. Some of them are an affront to their own profession. Some of them are just plain mean.
Rather than goad us to be leaders and professionals ,they stifle us. And they don’t earn our admiration.”
As I have observed too, we have been treated in lecture halls as a separate category of existence altogether – almost an animal of a physically different class; a being to be treated with a distant severity generally, with a splendid condescension sometimes, with a friendly interest never. We have been relegated to a position of secondary importance oblivious to the fact of our elevated and noble position as a regular factory of lawyers, economists, educators, doctors, psychologists, community developers, bishops, statesmen and what not in futuro.
On top of Sagini’s point of view, I abhor the inability of dons to respond adequately to the intellectual and emotional needs of students and only remaining opportunistic careerists who are only far too willing to eschew their ethical and professional responsibilities of their positions to gain personal advantages. We have observed a contagion of their abuse of their roles as examiners by needlessly and callously punishing or failing undergraduates.
So lecturers of this description, forgive me if I may say that I can scarcely bring myself to regard you as friends. It seems little short of sacrilege to couple the hallowed names of friendship and admiration with yours.
#Writing Is A Labour Of Love ☺
There’s some intuitive justification for what sounds like a whimsical, sentimental literary device; infamous heroes in school are never heroes in life. And this is why…
There is a crop of unamenable, stiff-necked and deviant students in any school worth its salt. And they do all manner of negative things from bullying other students – shoving and teasing, stealing, noise making, refusing to do manual work. But the most important aspect peculiar to this group is the disrespect of teachers.
Talking about this group is talking about those people you schooled with. Fellow students we could shudder in their presence. Who made it difficult for us to enjoy the educational process. They trended in almost every ugly incident there was.
While other students came to limelight by sheer hard work, getting paraded for presents and gifts, this lot’s social identity was earned by doing the most uncouth and reckless of things, unbelievably annoying stuff. The former’s fame rested on solid personal achievements: on books, sports, debates and contests.
Almost everyone in school knew them like the back of their hands because every assembly day, we could hear their names called out – for bad reasons of course. Expressing a desire for more control in the classroom, and acting inappropriately made them feel powerful.
They meted out violence on other students, often expedient, crossing lines to be served first in the kitchen and water points. Menacing bullies we could not stand their force. We often shrinked before them.
Relating a personal story, I schooled in a remote primary school in the backwaters of Bondo town. And we got this freaking lot, only we got them in excess. They hid machetes in their clothes, walking around with sagged shorts, feeling important yet in the actual sense, they were all show and no substance.
Any teacher who dared confront them was in for a rude shock, infact no teacher could properly handle them except the headmaster who was often out of school, leaving them marauding like stray elephants.
They could not bring themselves to understand the value and power of school, they had the reciprocal of their priorities.
As a consequence, most of them got expelled from school, devoid of basic education. They have hitherto remained illiterate, unemployed and unemployable, living shaky and desperate lives. They have ultimately dipped themselves into oblivion, they are nolonger heroes!
Those kids who used to be cool, vulnerable and quiet have continued to tower, influencing lives, shaping communities and building the nation.
#Writing Is A Labour Of Love ☺