It’s that time of the year again. That time most colleges and universities in Kenya admit freshmen. After years of working hard in their high schools and scoring good grades, they are rewarded with places in the institutions of higher learning. As I write this, the university of Nairobi school of Business in Lower Kabete is abuzz with activities as Parents and students work to ensure that the admission process is completed with the least amount of stress. Frustration shows on the faces of the parents who feel they have not been served satisfactorily. Others are required to fill out booklets with so many pages which they find tasking.
Naivety is evident from the faces of the freshmen. They are so green and, sort of, innocent. For the next four years, what they do in University will make or break their lives. This experience reminds me of when I joined this great institution. I only have six months or few left for me to clear and I would wish to share some of the things that will make the freshers stay in school bearable. I would have called them the commandments of surviving campus but they are really not commandments. They are insights on how to make it through campus.
A freshman who gets to stay away from their parents is like a caged dove that is freed. The dove is free to roam and fly wherever. Here, you will be free to do as you please. There will be no bells to wake you up or to remind you to attend your classes. You will NEVER be coerced to assemble for whatever reason. You can sleep while your classes are ongoing. You can date and dump anyone depending on how well your game is. You can go out and drink all you want. But as you do all these, only you can bear the consequences of your activities. What I will advise you to do is to take that freedom responsibly.
2) THINK CHEAP
You might have been dropped to school in that posh car. Your dad is the CEO in one of the most successful companies in town. He has even promised to send you money twice a week for upkeep but I would like you to be frugal in your spending. I know you can afford all the expensive stuff, but put that money in proper use. Shop for whatever you need and buy in bulk so that you get discount and can save the remainder. There are discounts offered by telecommunications companies such as selling cheap data, decreased call rates and bonuses after using certain amounts of airtime. Take advantage of such. They say cheap is expensive, we say cheap is sexy. And by cheap I don’t mean you imbibe the third generation liquor that is readily available near your campus.
3) EARN AS YOU LEARN
As young and energetic as you are, you can juggle between work and your studies. You will have a lot of time to spare and instead of wasting it playing FIFA and watching all the latest series, find an activity that can get you some extra cash. There are many activities you can carry out like freelance writing, selling stuff required by students like handouts, cheap clothes and shoes, running errands for people such as printing and photocopying.
4) COMPLEMENT YOUR DEGREE
In today’s world, a basic degree is not enough for you to compete favorably for some positions. You need to take extra courses such as CPA, CSIA, ACCA, CPS etc. as a complement to your degree. Employers are increasingly looking for that person that goes that extra mile in their lives. After a certain period, you will break for your holidays, use this time to work for organizations you aspire you to work for after school. The experience gained during the internships is invaluable.
5) GET INVOLVED
There are many activities you can involve yourself in during your stay in campus. Join a club such as the Rotaract club and give back to the society while interacting with the senior students you find who are already members. Other academic clubs will expose you to the corporate world where you get to network with senior people in organizations. These networks make it easier for you when you are hunting for a job. Joining is not enough. Don’t be a member just on paper, but be active. Get involved in the sporting activities such as soccer, volleyball, basketball, hockey, table tennis etc. Get involved in leadership by running for office which will teach you a thing or two about politics.
6) ATTEND ALL YOUR CLASSES
The freedom you have in campus may deceive and make you reluctant to attend your classes. You will be required to sign in an attendance list which is considered when grading is done. Arrive early and sit at a strategic position where you can hear what is taught and are able to take notes. Remember you will be in a class of over 45 students unlike in your high school. Take your time to write good notes and read at least two weeks to the exams to avoid the last minute rush common in campus. Attending classes means you will not miss out on important information such as assignment given and dates for continuous assessment tests.
7) TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF
This includes taking care of your property such as your laptop and phones. Ensure that they are secure all the times. This can be done by carrying them wherever you go and leaving your house locked up all the times. There are people with ill intentions and might be out to harm so you need to take care of yourself. You could insure your electronics at a fee with some insurance companies that have provisions for that. This will help you recover them once lost or damaged.
8) TAKE TIME TO GET SPIRITUAL AND MEDITATE.
Take time to meditate and spend time with God. Take your time to worship Him and this will give you peace of mind.