Subject: what I want to become.
From the Desk of Mike Mbugua.
When I was growing up (in primary school) I did not have a solid vision, neither did I have a convincing dream or ambition; I had no idea on what I wanted to be become. It always depended on where I was. Sometimes I would want to become a driver; other times a policeman if not a soldier. While at the Hospital, I would want to become a Doctor until I got into the injection room. Whenever, I saw an aircraft flying across the sky I would want to become a Pilot. When I listened to the Radio, I would want to become a Radio presenter. When I read a newspaper, I would want to become a columnist; sometimes a cartoonist, despite the fact that I am not good at drawing though that doesn’t mean I can’t be good at it.
When I joined High School, I decided that, to stay focused, I needed to make a career choice. Luckily, I loved Physics (in future I may write why I love Physics) and on one of the front pages of Physics Book 1 there was a list of a variety of courses that one could pursue upon studying Physics. I went through the list, course after course, while examining my interests. Given that I had a curious fascination for electronics I chose B.sc (Electrical and Electronics Engineering).
If you asked me what I wanted to become I would confidently say B.sc (Electrical and Elec….). I didn’t know what exactly the course involved but I was certain it had something to do with Electrical power, electrical circuits and electronic devices. Almost everyone around me knew my ambition. While in form three, if my memory serves me right, my teacher of English, M/s. Damaris, who happened to be a graduate of the University of Nairobi brought me pamphlets from the Department of Engineering at the University of Nairobi. I was elated to know someone cares about my dreams. I owe her a gift in near future. I went through the details, and that’s when I learned that for me to qualify I needed quality grades in Sciences, languages and in the aggregate grade. The information gave me new impetus to work even more harder.
Throughout the four years, I did not consider any other career other than B.sc (Electrical and Electronics Engineering). By instincts, it seems, I knew the art of concentrating effort, energy and the principle of obsession; focusing on a single thing until you get it. I worked hard with one aim: to become an electrical Engineer.
When I was in Form four, I happened to interact with two University Students from Egerton University who had been contracted to assist us in revision and generally raise our morale. One was studying B.sc (Economics and statistics) and another was studying B. Education (Science- Math/Chem). At the same time, I interacted with two more from JKUAT; one was studying B.sc (Double Mathematics) and another was studying something close to microbiology: I had no interest to discover what those courses involved. All I wanted was B.sc (Electrical and electrical Engineering). Out of this interaction, the desire to join campus was reinforced. I became obsessed with campus; particularly, Egerton and JKUAT.
In addition, an Equity Bank Branch had been opened in our District (Loitokitok) and through the Equity Leaders Program (ELP), it was absorbing the best boy and girl in the district for an internship in the bank. In the year 2008, the best boy (Samanya Kanchori) came from our School, Kimana Secondary School. This development fired me even more. I read…read…and read…that when asked a question I would simply scratch my head and pop up the answer effortlessly.
Finally, I sat for KCSE in 2009. The exam was easy, but tricky. Nevertheless, I passed well and genuinely. I never used any short cuts. Having being a zealous Christian and Vice Chairman of CU, I was determined to live to the call and lead by example. I shunned any attempts to lure me into dishonest tactics or schemes. On the eve of exams, I would spend perusing through my revision materials, consulting and being consulted.
When Prof. Sam Ongeri announced the results on 2nd March, 2010, I had scored an A – (minus) of 74 points. I was second in the School while the first (Timothy Lemaron) had scored an A – (minus) of 76 points. The third had a B+ (plus) of 73 points. In the District, I was position four (4) while Timothy was position two. The best boy in the district had scored an A – (Minus) of 80 points and the best girl had scored an A –(minus) of 75 points. Both were from neighboring Schools; Oloitokitok Boys and St. Claire Girls respectively.
Though slightly disappointed, I was glad that I had qualified to pursue the course of my dreams, B.sc (Electrical and Electronics Engineering). Earlier, before KCSE began we had filled JAB (KUCCPS) forms to be considered for admission through the Government sponsored programme. Assuredly, my first choice was B.sc (Electrical and Electronics Engineering).
However, when time came for revision of courses, later in 2010, it dawned on me that despite my stunning performance I couldn’t pursue the course of my dreams through JAB; supposedly because of limited slots prompted by inadequate facilities and the high number of applicants. I was crushed. The ones who qualified are those that had straight As or strong A – (minuses). This realization crushed my competitive spirit. I wondered why I had worked so hard; why I had denied myself time with friends, time to read novels and other useful books; time to relax and participate in co-curricular activities.
Other options were to join through the Self-sponsored programme; and which was unlikely because of the hefty School fees, especially at the expense of a subsidized programme (regular). It is common knowledge that Self-sponsored students pay in a year what regular students pay in four years. I was not in a financial position to take that path. The second option was to join a polytechnic which was likely not accredited to offer a course in Electrical Engineering or join a middle-level college for a Diploma in the same. I was not ready. You cannot tell a 19 year (young) who have scored an A- (minus) to join a polytechnic or a college when all he has been dreaming and fantasizing about for four years is CAMPUS. You must be very naïve and ignorant to imagine that you can convince an ‘A’ student to trade campus life for a dream career. There are very few teenagers who would accept that path. I was not ONE.
On 5TH May, 2011 I was admitted for B. Education (Science). I settled for Math/Physics. On 16Th December, 2016 I graduated with a B. Education (Science- Math/Physics).
The only dreams, I seem to have achieved include:
(1). Joining a prestigious and public University, Kenyatta University; now my Alma Mater; the University of our time.
(2). Training as a teacher in subjects that would help others (supposedly my students) become Electrical Engineers. On this point, I beg to stop here or there, whichever you want!
(3). Becoming a ‘columnist’ because I am now a blogger, and growing bigger in my writing career. I have already written a novel that is still ‘fermenting;’ when it’s ready I will let you know.
Campus life was not easy, but it taught me a lot more about life. I developed in my intellect, social life and generally grew wiser and relevant. It was characterized with a bit of complacency in academics, latent curiosity, spiritual incredulity and socio-economic/political awakening.
Out of my experience, I have learnt to have Plan A, B and C, in regard to strategy, but maintain the focus. There can be no other target other than what I want. Even when the strategy changes, the ultimate goal, objective or target must not change.
Now as a graduate, I have one goal; to become the better of me every day. Better in terms of character, mindset, attitude, knowledge, skills, competencies and relevance. And though, I am open to career opportunities that are challenging and impactful outside my training, I know what I want. I may take an alternative path, but eventually, it must lead me to my destiny; where I want, where ought to be and towards what I need: a happy, relevant and fulfilling life.
“DO YOU FEEL ME?”
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