Findings from a recent study revealed that university Students do not sleep and your guess is right; it is not for all the good reasons. Far from that, a certain quote from 1968 is to blame for the misconception that there is a lot of free time in campus to be wasted. In essence, that time is there to be utilized, a truth that has never dawned on many on-campus students. It is only after four years that reality dawns on you. You realize that you’re shallow and ill-equipped for the job market and begin to think that perhaps it is your degree that is useless. No, it is you who has rendered yourself useless by the virtue of the time you wasted.
By classifying students into different categories, we can easily deduce how easy it is for one to waste time through the entire four Academic years or more:
1) Clubs, Society and Association “member-in-chief”
This one believes that an employer will be impressed by the numerous club participation certificates that he has. He has joined every club and society that was formed in 1945, while serving as an official in all the new associations within the realm. He attends all meetings, day and night; from the Journalism Club to the First-Aid Society, planning events, seminars and workshops. 90% of his club engagement is not related to his line of study but still his agile blood cannot resist the urge to walk out of an afternoon lecture just to go and address newly registered club members.
2) The political hoodlum
This one thinks that he can change the system. He is the reborn Karl Marx and Malcom X of the current century. Or let us put it in plain language, he is a goon with misconstrued ideology. He has the habit of pushing his opinion to everyone who cares or cares not to listen. He believes that a day is not complete without a demonstration to the University administration block. Again, he strongly believes that he is an oppressed victim of the status quo. Very easy at skiving lectures, you’ll meet him carrying twigs at the student centre in readiness for a protest march. It is only after four years that you’ll realize no one really cares about whose freedom you fought for while in campus.
3) The student leader
A student leader, elected by the majority vote puts him into a pitiful comfort zone. Because of his daily interaction with the University administrators, he believes that the system should treat him with gloved hands. He deserves an automatic 2nd Class Upper division, if not a 1st class because of his “diligent service” to the institution. A god and a goddess who doesn’t have to attend all lessons; after all he sits in the Senate Chambers that schedules the academic calendar. For every new day, he is up and about, carrying brown envelopes to and from the University Finance Office; always in a hurry waving to acquaintances from a distance as if he is some VIP delegate running late for the UN general summit.
4) Booze and shisha ‘partyholic’
This is either a spoiled kid from a rich family who’s discovered an unlimited version of Freedom 101, or a broke person spending time with rich folks to fit in their class. He parties 25 hours a day and 8 days a week. His head is clogged with decomposing puffs of weed; spits saliva that is 115% alcohol while lungs bloated with shisha, shashi and something else that scientists haven’t found the right chemical name to describe.
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5) The business man
Walking door to door after 5pm, selling female underwear is no crime on earth. Everyone needs money, especially in campus, HELB loan has never been enough. Now, this one wakes up at 4am, bakes 754 mandazis, by 7am the sales are done! Then he stays in his room to wait for late assignment doers to come and photocopy their colleagues’ work, by the service of his small ink jet HP printer. When all these are done, the midmorning lessons have passed without his attendance. He then leaves for town to restock; socks, vests, boxers and foolscaps. He’ll return in the afternoon and begin the door-to-door sales till that time he returns to the room to open the MPESA service that he’s secretly kept from the Hostel Janitor.
6) I am a digital consultant
This one has a twisted version of consultancy. Just because he does online writing for some lazy Cambodian client, he thinks he is now fit to use titles. He sits all day on a laptop he inherited from his sister’s uncle-in-law with a cracked orange modem, doing assignments and writing internet researched content on incomprehensible topics for some foreign national. The dollars he earns keeps him alive. Except that he doesn’t know that he’s missed six CATs, just this week alone.
7) ‘Ndugu katika Yesu’
God is good all the time; all the time God is good. It is a proclamation of faith that I too believe in. In an ideal society, no one should criticize any ‘mtumishi’ and I’m not about to do that. Some of the best Bishops, Deacons, Priests, Pastors and Shepherds of the flock are people who took their studies seriously before going for the calling. Today they preach with admirable knowledge and sufficient understanding of societal concepts. But there’s this student whose religious ideals are too extreme to accept that, class is equally important. Last week he was in a “mission” in Turkana; next week he’ll be facilitating seminars in Mlolongo and then he has this “youth workshop” to attend next month just as the exams begin. By the time the academic year ends, all his semester exams have been differed to the next calendar and the circle continues.
8) Series, EPL, POOL, FIFA and NFS guru.
This lazy bone has nothing better to do than to sit all day long glued to the latest and oldest Movie Series. He later switches to computers games, takes a break to play pool table and returns to watch English Premier Football; a norm he observes religiously for all the 105 days of a semester.
9) The 5000 out-campus employee
Having gone for the semester break, this chap was lucky to have landed a temporary internship, earning him Sh5000 with a slightly higher or lower margin. Apparently it is a blue-collar job with a local firm out to exploit cheap labour, a temporary research assistant job with a start-up NGO, or a Teacher assistant in his village secondary school. When the semester resumes, he becomes too reluctant to return to school. Appeased by the $50 dollars in stipends he earns every month, he enters into a comfort zone believing that he is a few inches from self-actualization.
However, that is not just it, there could be more instances revealing the sad state of affairs. ‘Campusarians’ rarely see this. The regret only comes long after the damage has been done. You walk with papers for five years tarmacking without cracking into the competitive job market and then begin blaming the government and a corrupt system for your misfortunes. Why not blame your misdeeds too. You’d have sharpened yourself in preparation but instead that time was obliviously thrown to the dogs.