The highs and lows of life in campus

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University. Wow. That was something. Having gone through the Kenyan 8-4-4 education system, the final 4 years of that system is where life truly begins for most young ones. I mean, coming from an environment with strict rules and all sorts of punishments then all of a sudden starting campus life is usually something else.

First of all, unless it is a seriously ‘strict’ private university like Daystar or Strathmore, campus life is basically living by your own rules or probably better phrased, living by no rules. Of course the behaviour code and list of regulations do exist but in reality that is mostly theoretical. The freshman year is all about experimenting. One gets exposed to everything one’s parents do not want you to. Oh yes, you most probably will attend your first wild alcohol-fuelled party. You most probably will bump into marijuana somewhere. If you are female, it is probably inevitable that you will be part of the annual ‘Ponyoka na Fresher’ promotion where a fourth year student will sweep you and probably a few of your classmates off your naive feet.

By your second year, lecturers will be borderline oblivious of your existence since after all, your lecture will probably have 200 other students apart from you. Classes are meant to be compulsory but this is university; you can attend or simply chose not to. CATs and examinations will be a blur amidst all the other things that will be going on. You might want to put a little effort into your studies though since if you fail a unit you will have to retake the course the following semester and that is a conversation which I guarantee you will not be eager to have with your parents.

Social events like the rugby 7s circuits will be in plenty. Blankets & Wine among other events will provide opportunities for binge-drinking and other forms of sweet debauchery with your peers. This means you will have to get some sort of side hustle to sustain such activities since trust me, HELB money is like a shooting star; it is gone even before you see it.

It is usually at this stage one’s creative juices go into overdrive and you find all sorts of ways to get that extra money. Folks will sell the proverbial ice to Eskimos just to get money to support their extravagant co-curricular activities. Ladies probably become aware of and acquire ‘sponsors’ to fund their weave-related expenses. For those who are perceived to be less ‘cool’, Friday evenings will be spent at Christian Union organized keshas or at home with their folks.

By third year, most people have had their fair share of campus romance and its inevitable drama. Love triangles and even, God forbid, love hexagons usually have left many people scarred yet still yearning for the elusive love. Some are lucky enough to meet their ‘soul- mates’ and even marry while still in campus but hey, Cupid is a selective little bugger.

Speaking of third year, this is when this simple thing called GPA starts crossing peoples’ minds. The first two years of university’s grades usually look like something the cat dragged in so third year gives you the opportunity to do as much damage control as possible. Most university courses give students the option of majoring at a particular option during this year so students at least get a vague idea of what they want to do with their lives. I should also mention that at this point in time, one has either had their fill of binge-drinking and thus takes moderate to no alcohol or one may have also become a full-blown non-anonymous alcoholic.

Fourth year is the homestretch. More often than not, folks become pre-occupied with their university project and probably catching up with any pending units from the previous years in anticipation for graduation. Maturity has also somehow caught up with you and you will get yourself spending most weekends with bae just chilling over movies or probably launching a start-up. However, people are different. For some, this is the crescendo of campus party life. There are so many naive freshers to ‘Ponyoka’ with and litres upon litres of liquor that come what may, will not consume themselves.

However, university is not restricted to sex, alcohol and drugs. One comes across so many life-altering opportunities. Corporates are scrambling to establish incubators in all major Kenyan universities where one gets to establish precious networks and pick life skills. You will also learn how to hustle and survive in this world and most importantly, your degree certificate will open doors in your life to limitless opportunities. So, what was your campus experience?

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