A Student Again, but Campus Girl?

So I am a student again. I started a Master of Science degree in Telecommunication and Innovation Development. I’m sure you’ve never heard of it before, lie to me and say you have! It’s a new course started at Strathmore University in partnership with the Safaricom Academy. It’s offered on scholarship and I couldn’t turn this opportunity down.

This is certainly different from undergraduate! I was excited to be going to campus back then! I was going to be a part of the young and exciting group of campus girls. I was going to do all I wanted to do: such is the freedom in a public university in Kenya. You can attend classes whenever you feel like. You can wear what you want, when and how. You can choose to stay up all night and sleep during the day. You can choose to drink all your school feels. You can choose to get pregnant and ask your friends where to get an abortion. You can choose to keep the baby. You can choose to join the puff puff pass guys who never seem to get any sleep.

There are rules in public universities, but it’s like all are meant to be broken. The only rule is not to get caught! In short, you have the freedom to do whatever you want… including studying and passing well. You can decide you want to get a first class honours degree and get it. You can decide you don’t want academic honours but practical knowledge. If you’re in computer science/IT you know what I’m talking about.

That was what being a campus girl was all about. About having fun and studying when you take a break from that. I was young and carefree.

Now? Not so much.

The general plan was to get a job before finishing campus, work for a few months before moving out, work for a year then go somewhere like Oxford/MIT for a masters degree.

Then I got this scholarship and it’s a full-time course for the first few months. There are definitely many differences between my alma mater, JKUAT and Strathmore University. I will be blogging about my life as a student again, but I think I did all the crazy stuff I needed to do as an undergraduate!

Here is what I don’t like so far:

Commuting:
If this is what people who work 8-5 jobs go through everyday, I’m not looking forward to that! My commuting day is 5-8!
I have to be up at 5am if I am to make it to school by 8am, and when I leave at 5pm, I arrive home at 8pm! I spend at least 4 hours daily on the road, what a waste! Hopefully, I will move nearer SU soon. I cannot wake up early in the morning to do any meaningful work, and by the time I get home in the evening, I’m too tired to do anything constructive. I wonder what time I will have to study!

Did I mention classes are Monday to Saturday? And strictly the whole day. Attendance is compulsory.

In JKUAT, I lived within the campus… and classes were spaced out widely between Monday and Friday. Never had a Saturday class!

Apart from time spent in traffic to and from school, there is also the matatu woes. I should do a post on this. Matatus are Kenya’s main form of public transport.

A matatu in Nairobi. Image from wordpulse.com

Dress Code

So SU has a dress code. All clothing must be fit loosely. Emphasis is on loose. Skirts’ hemlines should be below knees. No sleeveless tops. No jeans. No rubber shoes/slippers. Etc. There is a fashion cop whose work is to stare at you (and all you got) and decide if what you’re wearing is inappropriate. So I wore my most decent clothes.. even went ahead and bought new ones.

So far I’ve been turned away once, my trouser being “too tight” and on another occasion got a warning, my skirt too “short”. I’m learning to adapt.

Back in my undergraduate days, anything goes. You could wear bathroom slippers and pajamas to class. I shall miss those days.

Small campus
SU has many buildings all in a small space. It’s not really their fault, there is no land in Nairobi! I just miss the wide spaces, trees, grass, paths that was in the main campus of JKUAT. You could take walks (to as far as the farm) to clear your head, sort out issues with a friend, bond with a lover etc.

Rules, rules, rules
Here, rules are set and they have to be followed. Do not hug too tightly, male and female should not hold hands (!), rules of etiquette, punctuality and attendance.. almost like being in high school again! I can’t complain though, I’m done being a renegade!

What I like so far:

Professionalism/Politeness
You know how government workers are stingy and rude with information? How serving you feels like they are doing you a favour? Workers here are polite and helpful. Most of the time.

Internet and Electricity
They must have a back up generator for the electricity, I’ve never even seen the lights flicker! This was a daily thing back in Juja! The internet is fast and stable most of the time.

Free Food
So in addition to the free tuition, we get free tea breaks and lunches at the cafeteria. Good food. No need to resort to vibandas (roadside shacks) for cheaper meals!

So remind me to do posts on matatus and coding later.

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20 Responses to A Student Again, but Campus Girl?

  1. Sibo says:

    In class again…
    Take it one day at a time.

    All the best!

    Thanks Sibo. One day at a time.. will do so.

    Like

  2. SupremeGREAM says:

    Am trying to imagine what can be achieved in those four hours in traffic. But take heart, I have heard worse tales of traffic when there was El-nino in the 90s. Tales from a graduate on SU. You’ll hack.

    Nice title… tales from a graduate in SU. I can read but most of my work needs me to code! Can only do that on a laptop and you can imagine the inconvenience! I gotta move!

    Like

  3. metobo says:

    aah!! cool went thru’ all that 9yrs ago wait till you start feeling funny doing casual clothes after that culture sticks with you. how abt the cafeteria taking back ur utensils and separating the dirt and different cutlery? gives you discipline that will come handy in later wen ur are required to do those in the real world. so wen are we getting our first ‘mobile app’? copyright savvy? looking forward

    let’s hope in about 2 months! I should make an app for my blog 🙂 or for myself. Which combines all my public info/blog/career/fb/linkedIn/Twitter/photos etc.

    Like

  4. Safari sounds says:

    You go girl am wishing am in ur shoes now! make full use of your time now coz later you will be proud of your self!! your an achiever and a go-getter! reach for your stars and shine brighter and may you fly so high over the rainbow! wish i could rewind time! 🙂

    Thank you so very much for the encouragement! I’ll now have to live up to your expectations!

    Like

  5. OtienoHongo says:

    Yep, feels like work to me! Now go through what we go! Anyway, congrats for the scholarship and looking forward to reading about your life there!

    Thanks! This working life is hard!

    Like

  6. Maua says:

    Savvy, all I can say, post grads are easier than undergrads. Reading abut your achievement in JKUAT, disctinctions are yours. Go get them.

    Thanks! With so much time spent on the road.. I have to learn to manage time better.

    Like

  7. woolie says:

    Lovely post. Hope you can move closer to SU as soon as possible. It is not right that you spend all that time on the road. As Supreme above points out, 4hrs a day in traffic x 6 days is a whole 24hrs of your life lost. Think of the total (wo)man hours that our fair Republic loses annually. The price of progress(?).

    Please tell this to my dad, he has refused to let me move! 🙂 I’ve decided to be patient and will convince him eventually!

    I think I have to agree with the others today – when you mention the inconveniences of ‘going back’ – as it were you do not come across as a whinger and complainer. Your positive attitude will see you through even the most difficult days. Seize the moment Savvy.

    Thank you woolie!

    Like

  8. kentheone says:

    Aiiih Savvy si you move to an sq at madaa…I did a mobile app course there and yeah that was after I was at jkuat Isaw a guy get turned away for coming with a basket ball jersey like that would have happened in JKUAT(during Wanjohi’s time). BTW we were given Mukimo at SU during my time there good food.

    I’m looking for a place to move… though my parents are set against my moving!

    Like

  9. Our Kid says:

    So do they have like a ruler at the gate that they use to measure the shortness of mini-skirts? Tightness of pants is probably even easier. All you need to tell someone is to squat.

    Enjoy the joys of SU. Beats the craziness of a Kenyan pubic university any day. Uh oh. Public.

    The craziness of a public university is a suitable undergraduate experience I would relive gladly!

    LOL @the squatting. It’s an effective method though!

    Like

  10. peculiar says:

    making us kenyans proud sure is ur dream. hiyo masom fanya bidii ile ya mchwa. halafu utupee lessons on how to even open a website.

    you want advice? email me : savvy.kenya@gmai.com 🙂 thanks

    Like

  11. megasheng says:

    Its a great honor of you, grab the opportunity girl. Not everyone get that shoes you wore. I am proud being an achiever so go go go.. take it and soon you get proud of your self because you make it.

    thanks!

    Like

  12. cesky cess says:

    I’m proud of u Savvy. All the best in your studies!

    Thanks Cess! You kind of inspire me too!

    Like

  13. Edwin says:

    Graduating from JKUAT to Strathmore means graduating from loose behaviour to loose-fitting threads; it’s a good thing. That you appreciate it shows how much you’ve grown.

    True, I have come from far…

    Like

  14. Wow..great things are happening for you so quickly! Congrats on pursuing your master’s degree – you have a great future ahead of you.

    Those rules..damn. I thought post-grad was supposed to be relaxed since at this point you should be certified adults????? I would so fail the skirt/dress code. I’m tall and it seems the fashion industry does not accommodate tall peeps, so I’m always inappropriately dressed at work but never been sent home:) I’m sure they understand my disability:)

    I still don’t understand this people! I’ve decided not to fight them though, I might risk being thrown out and it’s a scholarship so…

    Thanks! In about 4 months I’ll be done with full-time coursework and I can start working as I learn!

    Like

  15. pitzevans says:

    sounds like a place id never study at, all the best though

    thanks. this place with its rules sucks, but with technology is one of the best in Kenya.

    Like

  16. techratic says:

    jeans n fitted, nililenda huko interview but sikupenya. unaambiwa uandike composition juu ya my family, fuck!!!!!!!!!!!!
    dress code, clerks me prefer, jeans n fitted. JKUAT is way to go

    Like

  17. Anonymous says:

    Where is the 17th comment?

    Like

  18. amoudy says:

    congrats on the masters!!!!
    that must’ve been culture shock from JKUAT-strath, utazoea adaptations lol, but i thought they were more lenient on masters students, shocker!!

    Like

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