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4 secrets no one tells you about your KCSE grade


4 secrets no one tells you about your KCSE grade

Dear Form Four leaver,

The results are finally out. It’s the talk of town. That euphoric feeling you got after walking out of high school is long forgotten. Even the disappointment after learning that getting an ID does not mean you get to do anything you want pales in comparison to the pressure you are currently facing.

You are probably dealing with numerous calls, texts and chats from classmates, friends and relatives who did not even bother sending you a success card. You could be jubilating and basking in the glow of congratulatory messages and gifts. Or you could be hiding from their disapproving looks after failing to hit their required target.

If you are anything like me, I walked well over 15Km the day the results were being released and during that time we did not have the SMS system of getting the results. You had to have a good rapport with a teacher who would inform you over the phone what you had achieved. 

If you weren't lucky, you had to drag yourself to the school where a mass of students were craning to look at the list of candidates’ results. It was a perfect time to hate on those fourth formers who were bullies and had not excelled. 

You then realize your results meant another chapter of agony had been opened. Telling your parents the grade and looking anxiously at their face for their reaction. For some, it was agony other times it was anger and for the lucky ones, jubilation all round. 

Thereafter, you had to deal with your classmates who exerted another pressure on you. You were angry because they performed better than you yet you had always done better than them throughout the four years. Now, they were going to do better in life than you.

Then of course there were the neighbours and relatives who are suddenly full of ideas on how you could have performed better. 

Yes, I understand no one would like to be in your position at the moment and that is alright. But here are a few things no one seems to be telling you.

1) That grade will not define your life

It only takes me a second to remember the grade I achieved in high school. It was the single most important thing in my life. No one told me that there is more to life than that single letter and mathematical sign. No one told me that, 10 years down the line, I would be pursuing something totally different from my Law aspirations. No one told me that I would work for people who achieved a lesser grade than I did and that is fine.

2) Academics are not the key to success

I mean sure, the papers help open doors but they do not keep you in the room. It might have been drilled into your head all these years that you will not amount to anything if you are not educated. Tell that to the millionaires in Marikiti and Muthurwa or some of the athletes training in Iten.

What they don’t tell you is that hard work and dedication can be applied to more than just academics. Sometimes we are better in other fields that are not necessarily in academics.

3) Going to Public University is not the ultimate sign of making it

During our time, there was talk of ‘She is the first one in our family to go to university’ and it was considered part of a family’s legacy. However, going to University these days is like going to ‘Majuu’. Everyone is doing it. On the contrary, while going abroad was considered the surest way of being wealthy, there were many more who got wealthy right here at home.

I am not saying don’t go to university, I am saying you have a lot of options. From 31 private universities, over 50 technical, vocational and trade schools and well over 200 proprietary schools you are literally spoilt for choice.

That nonsense of repeating form four needs to stop!

4) Do not make decisions based on your grade

Just because you got an A does not mean you have to pursue Medicine, Engineering or the other ‘serious’ career courses if you are not interested in them. Having a C or D does not mean you have to settle for ‘lesser’ career courses if you want to aim for other.

You have a chance to do what makes you happy. They say find something you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.

Your dreams are not too big, neither are they unrealistic. Follow your heart, not other people’s opinions for your life.

You will be just fine.

Yours truly

A former form four leaver who left high school 12 years ago with a B+ before becoming a software engineer only to realize that writing was her true passion. So here I am telling you what someone should have told me all that time.

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