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A letter to the first years

By Peter Kim | August 30th 2016

Dear fresha, Hello, how are you? Finally you’ve landed in university. All that hard work paid off. You are now a comrade and no one will ever be there to guide you in your campus life so I’m going to offer you some tips. You are going to encounter true freedom for the first time. Be careful how you utilize it, it’s your future you will be either making or breaking here.

You probably received a comprehensive ‘rules and regulations governing the university’ leaflet with your admission letter and you are noticing no one is really adhering to them and no one is also enforcing them. Be careful though, this is Kenya where no one really observes the rules but, when you decide to flout them yourself someone suddenly realizes that a rule has been broken and an example needs to be made of you.

Trust me when I tell you that you do not want to appear before the university disciplinary committee. They tend to be unforgiving and love dishing out expulsions. Think you experienced peer pressure in high school? Wait till you find yourself contributing to a mini-harambee to buy mzinga with the money your mom sent you for your meals for the rest of the month; you are going to experience real peer pressure in university.

Be wary, groups tend to mislead people. You will probably experiment with alcohol and drugs. Let it be just that, an experiment. Remember how your parents toil for you to be in school, don’t add drugs to the list of items they are to finance. Clubbing and partying are common in university and if you are not careful you will leave with a degree in clubbing minus the degree you were admitted to take.

Ever heard people say degree ni ujanja? It’s true. Kua mjanja pia. Don’t be fooled by people sleeping all day, just lazing around, running businesses, drinking, partying, flirting around or watching series throughout. Just wake up at around 3a.m and go to the lecture halls and see for yourself. You may find your BFF there among many students seriously reading like their lives depend on it. The same BFF who will lazy around with you all day or watch that captivating series with you.

The same BFF who will help you pack your stuff after you are expelled after being found using mwakenya in an exam. If you have never experimented with sex you will most definitely do it in university. Remember the story of Sodom and Gomorrah? Kenyan universities are contemporary Sodom and Gomorrahs. No matter how much you are told to abstain or you have sworn not to engage in sexual activity you will still do it anyway, that’s the reality.

So I’m going to offer you real advice; have one sexual partner and be faithful to each other. Embrace the use of protection and have your HIV status tested frequently. Take my advice, you wouldn’t want to hear my voice whispering “I told you!” in your head when the doctor tells you that the funny itch you have been experiencing down there is Syphilis.

 Yes, these things exist beyond textbooks and affect just anyone. Be careful! AIDS is real kiddo! Plus you wouldn’t want to be a parent while still in school. Remember ABC? Abstain, Be faithful, Condoms. Well, since you will most probably skip A live by B and C.

Lastly, if you ever get the opportunity to make some cash, take it. You are now an adult, you do not have to always ask for money from your parent since you cannot even afford a biro costing 10shillings on your own. Plus it is not right to spend your parents’ money on things like clubbing and partying or treating your girlfriend. It just isn’t right.

In university you get to chart your own course and make decisions that determine the direction of your life. You may decide not to attend classes or even walk out during a lecture, no one will question you. But remember freedom is like alcohol, it is best taken with moderation.

As much as you will want to chant ‘comrades’ power!’ or torch the school or stone motorists keep in mind your parents who are expecting to attend your graduation after four or so years. Just how will you explain to the same parents you have been expelled? Remember those disciplinary committees I mentioned? You face them alone, not with your parent like in high school. So it will be up to you to explain to your parents why you are back home with all your belongings when the semester is only halfway done.

Try explaining to your parent that you were expelled for causing fracas while drank, or for taking part in a strike because lunch was served late in the school mess. Good luck in your first weeks of being a comrade.

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