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:
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.