Keeping busy after Form Four

Completing high school marks the end of four years of hard work, pressure from all quarters and challenging national exams, but what next? Njoki Chege explores what high school leavers can do to occupy themselves as they wait to pursue the next level of education

This is probably the longest holiday you will experience thus far. While sleeping till noon, watching telly till 4am and hanging out with your friends might seem like great ideas, you can’t do that for all the months you will be at home, as you will need to do something productive.

From the experiences of these young people who completed high school recently, you can get ideas on what to do to keep busy, be productive and at the same time have fun.

MARCI MITHAMO, 19: Completed high school last year and currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations at the University of Nairobi.

The feeling of completing high school...

Must have been the best ever. The thought of having no more early mornings and late night preps was such a good and lasting feeling.

What you did after high school?

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Besides enrolling for an International Computer Driving Licence (ICDL), I established a small business, whch involved making bracelets, neck pieces and earrings from beads and ceramic pearls. I sold them to my friends and family who marketed me to other people. I also modelled.

How did these activities benefit you?

I earned some pocket money and modelling allowed me to market myself. Who knows, I might one day be on the runway.

ALAN MOLA, 20: Completed high school in 2010 and is currently a photographer with his own business —Alan Mola Photography. He also studies TV and Video Production at East Africa School of Media Studies. 

What did you do after high school?

Three of my former classmates and I registered an IT and online marketing company called Surroyal Ventures, which started out as an idea when we were in high school. In our new business, we were able to meet among other entrepreneurs the managing director of Davis & Shirtliff, David Gatende, who is our role model and business mentor.

Tell us about Alan Mola Photography...

It is an interest that I am patiently carving into a formidable business. This is where I spend most of my energy and I also take advantage of the social media to market my skill.

What can you tell this year’s Form Four leavers?

Graw up and keep their priorities in check. I was once told that starting something can be exciting, but maintaining it could be boring. However, if you are able to deal with little responsibilities, then the big stuff comes easily.

IAN MATI MUTHANGYA, 19: Completed high school last year and is currently pursuing a degree in Economics from the University of Nairobi.

What did you do after high school?

I got into network marketing that involves buying and selling products to people around me. I gained personal development that made me think of myself in a different way. I was able to start making money at a young age, which was an achievement for me.

Other than business, what else did you do?

I engaged in community service. While in high school, I started a foundation called Wipe A Tear whose aim was to help orphans. We visited children in homes such as the Agape Children’s Home in Dagorretti and the Cancer Ward at the Kenyatta National Hospital. We spent time with the children to show them that we care and that they still have a place in the world.

Advice for those who have just completed Form Four?

This is the best time to start a business. It may be small, but all businesses start small before they grow big.

WANGECHI MWANGI, 19:

Completed Form Four last year and is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Business and Information Technology.

What did you do after high school?

A few friends from Precious Blood (Riruta) and I organised outreach activities through a social network called Azama — a Kiswahili word that means purpose. We were trying to promote the idea of being ‘youth with a purpose’. We visited the sick in hospital, taught children in children’s homes, mentored children in slum areas and visited Jacaranda School of Mentally Challenged students among other activities. The experiences were humbling and taught me so many things.

How did you benefit from the experience?

The vision I had when we started Azma was that as former high school students, we would be more aware of our environment and become better individuals, citizens, career and business people.

Besides charity work, I interned at iHub Research where I interacted with tech-preneurs and spent time with Akirachix (a group of women technologists). This made me discover that I had a great interest in technology. I always thought of myself as leaning towards business, but being at iHub made me change my life path so as to accommodate technology.

TREY NGUGI, 23: Completed high school in 2007 and currently works at Brand2d, a branding and marketing company.

What did you do after high school?

Instead of spending my caution money on something trivial, I used the funds to register a company that enabled me start my small hustles. These gave me great pride and a little cash. Although many of the businesses did not pick up, they taught me vital lessons that helped me become a better entrepreneur.

What challenges did you encounter in the process?

I suffered from a condition that ails most young men in society: “Boyhood and boyish thinking”. However, through reading and studying the lives of great men such as Richard Brunson, Benjamin Franklin and Nelson Mandela, I realised that success in life is a by-product of personal development. This proved to be true because the more my character grew, the more money and responsibility I commanded.

What must Form Four leavers know?

Charles Richards once said: “Don’t be fooled by the calendar. There are only as many days in the year as you make use of. One man gets only a week’s value out of a year while another gets a full year’s value out of a week.”

Form Four leavers have life’s most precious resource: Time. Spend it wisely to ensure you work towards your goals.

Mavuno and the youth

Pastor Grace Ndege, a youth pastor at Mavuno Church, encourages ex-candidates to enrol in personal development programmes before they start college or university.

For instance, Mavuno Church has a one-year programme dubbed ‘Ex-Cans’ that seeks to enrich the lives of ex-candidates who have a lot of time on their hands.

“We take the ex-cans through the Mizizi programme, which helps them discover their purpose in life. We then go to schools, visit children’s homes to serve there as a team,” says Pastor Grace.

After eight months, the programme then gives the ex-candidates an opportunity to experience job-shadows with various members of the church.

“They are paired up with some of our church members who let the ex-candidates work for them in their offices and places of work to gain important experience,” says Pastor Grace.

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