Mike Gitonga is a KTN news anchor and morning show host. The former radio host and basketball player is also known for his co-starring role in the 1994 film 'The Air Up There'.
Where did you pursue your undergraduate degree?
Initially I went to France, but the language barrier made it difficult for me to study. After three months, I opted to go to the United Kingdom where I enrolled in Nottingham University to study electrical engineering. I am also passionate about music, so I did a course in making and engineering of musical instruments. My interest in engineering was two ways; one was pressure from my dad as he desired me to do something 'sciency' as he was a scientist. The other was my love for gadgets.
Did you suffer culture shock in the UK?
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The weather took a lot of adjusting to. I was also shocked by how kids related with their parents. I remember one girl telling the mother that she will be 16 years in a year and that she would move out and the mother did not respond. What shocked me was the obscene language she used and her tone while addressing her mum. Overall, I had a great experience because my fellow students were friendly.
What is the misconception that people have about people who study engineering?
People assume that engineering students are boring geeks lacking in creativity. I would say it all depends with an individual. Are they all bookworms? Not all of them. I remember my peers studied hard and play even harder.
How did you switch from engineering to media?
My switch was passion driven, I found myself doing radio and TV shows in my head, and I once recorded something when I was around 13 years old pretending to be a show host. Later on in life, I went to a radio station to place an advert for a church meeting that was coming up and the person in charge of recording told me the ad could not run because the voice artist had left for the day. I insisted on trying and, fortunately, he agreed. As I was recording, the owner of the station happened to be passing by and asked to see me. The rest is history.
How did you manage your finances?
It was tough as I was paying my own fees and had to work at night and attend classes during the day. The secret was focusing on what took me there.
What were your side hustles?
I washed supermarket floors at night and stacked the shelves. Towards the end, I was a cab driver.
Did you date in campus?
I did not date but had many friends. I think dating in campus depends on the person’s age, but my view is that it is too early for most people to make serious decisions
What were your best and worst moments?
My worst moment was having to work at night. I recall a day when I dozed off at the traffic lights (I was so tired) only to be startled by an ambulance. My highlight were the friends I met and the culture exchange I experienced.
Advice to campus students
Live life but stay focused. All the fancy things out there have their time. Also, heed to advice. It is meant to help you, not stop you from having fun. Fun is overrated.