First of all, everyone gets to university these days. Yes, everyone. Including that guy who borrows your pullover for an outing only to give it to the girl he was hitting on. The situation has been made worse by the fact that greed has taken over the University administrations and they offer courses that should be offered in village polytechnics, in the same way they are offered in the said polytechnics. Talk of duplication of duties, huh! Besides, everyone passes KCSE these days. Because of this, there is a growing need for a guide (for dummies) on how to go through campus life less roughly. I could have said smoothly but campus life can never and will never be smooth.
The excitement of confirming your admission into your university and course of choice, or your disappointment at KUCCPS thinking that they know what’s best for you and throwing you to some upcoming university in some remote village, has eventually died down and now the anxiety of the reporting day has taken its place. This is the time most wonder if their fashion sense, or lack of it thereof, will draw giggles from passers-by or whether the ladies will swoon over you because you are that person Denzel Washington wishes he was when it comes to looks. Or so your mother tells you every other day and you have come to believe it because she wouldn’t lie to you. After all, she’s your mother and Kimbo says that mothers are always right. What if your shoes were out of fashion in 2008 and you never got the memo? Well, don’t lose any more sleep.
#1 Your Accent Will Sell You Out
The fake Timberland boots[Simbaland, Timbaland, Timerlamb and Gwucci shirts you bought from the proceedings of your send-off party, because the people of Nkuene sends their academically-gifted sons to the university with something small, will not get you into the cool kids club if you have a thick accent. Forget all that talk on ‘be who you are’.
You brought a lot of pride to your people when your name appeared on the local dailies for making mince meat of the national examinations. The only other person from your area to ever appear in a newspaper is the local MP when he was launching a DSTV connection at some local school. Even the MCA (albeit grudgingly because he suspects you’ll graduate and compete him), contributed 10K towards your kitty. So armed with a small fortune, you go shopping for the latest trends in Meru town befitting a man of your status in preparation for the reporting day. Heck, you even get the trendiest haircut or weave.
However, ladies, you soon learn that you cannot claim to be uptown if you have Kiraitu Murungi’s accent. Your human hair weaves will count for nothing if you talk haven’t gotten rid of the vernacular influence in your grammar. Neither will asking that cute classmate of yours for coffee in Bifwoli Wakoli’s voice get her to say yes. Vain and shallow, but that’s just the way it is. Neither should you overdo the uptown accent, because you will look more plastic than Man City fans.
#2 You Are On Your Own
In high school, everything went by the timetable and was strictly(and sometimes violently) enforced by the Deputy Principal, Teacher-on-Duty and those deluded little devils known as prefects. Or captain, if your high school was the type that didn’t rely on CDF to buy a school bus. Your waking time was decided; they dictated when to have your meals and what to eat. And you had to exercise whether you had any real athletic talent or otherwise. They were even kind enough to inspect if you were maintaining standard hygiene practices. They even told you that you could only visit the washrooms during breaks, and they didn’t give a hoot about the condition of your bladder.
In campus, no one gives a damn about your life. You could as well be a dirty class skiving drug abuser in the day and an adult film actress by night and no one will give you parliamentary summons so that you explain your unbecoming behavior. No one cares what you eat and even less, if you eat at all. Finally you don’t have to feign lung failure anymore because games time is no longer mandatory. Better still,there is no games time.You will only see university teams during sports days and wonder where and when they do train.
Nothing can stop you from being a Rastafarian now. No one tells you to go to class and when you choose to go, you are at liberty to wear that American flag tights you bought during your shopping spree. And mum can no longer drag you to church. What a place to be alive!
You make the decisions on what to do with your time, what and when to eat and if you want to even wear clothes at all or walk around wrapped in handkerchiefs. There is no one to police you. You can realize your lifetime dream of showing the world that you are sexy and you know it, thanks to free unrestricted Wi-Fi. And mom can no longer pop around and whisper into your ears that men are dogs when your MCM is busy dropping lyrics that would make Celine Dion an amateur. College is all about anarchy, right? Not really…
Comrades are guided by the same principles as that of teachers, Solidarity Forever. But still, everyone is to himself.
#3 There Are Rules and Regulations
Yes, you read that right. There are rules and regulations in university. All the laws of the country apply to you as well the specific ones to your university. What about “a comrade is always right”? Well, that applies only when a comrade is breaking grammar rules and chanting lewd songs.
For starters, you have to attend classes if you want to do exams. This is standard procedure across all universities, at least on paper.For example, my university had an 80% attendance rule for one to sit examinations. Also, you can’t abuse illegal drugs. Or ‘steal’ examinations. Or use firewood to cook in your hostel room. Neither can you cohabit. Some universities even have a strict 10 by 10 rule, which forbids one from being in the hostels of the opposite gender after 10 pm and before 10 am.
Others have dress code which you must abide to. Sorry if you had bought low cut t-shirts to match the pink skinny jeans and you are enrolled into this universities. In these universities, ladies aren’t allowed to wear skirts which rival handkerchiefs in material and length. But these are mostly private universities, right? True, but not absolutely. There are some lecturers in public universities who wouldn’t allow ratchetness into their classes, or as one put it, looking like a DJ.
Most universities give a booklet of these rules and regulations on admission or during orientation. However, you forget about them as soon as you see the continuing students breaking them and getting away with it while presumably showing a middle finger to the system. Well, you can break the rules too, but here’s the catch…
#4 You Need Friends
Simply put: You need friends in campus. Even Cobblepot needed a friend and so did Sheldon Cooper’s girlfriend. The continuing students mentioned above can bend some of the rules because they have friends. What if you don’t want to bend the rules because you were brought up well? Or you are just the epitome of morality. You still need to have friendsMs. I-Hate-Humanity. Here’s why:
Because the bible says so,and because friends make life less difficult. That’s why. Friends will save your starving ass from death when your student loan delays or when you squander it on ass and boobs. It’s is friends who sign the attendance register for you when you are away on your cousin’s dowry payment negotiations. Where do you go when your roommate with an unbridled libido exiles for the 13th time in a week? At your friends.
It is friends who tell you where there’s a vacation job or lower beer prices, so make and keep some. It is the friends in campus who will provide you with intelligence on whom your boyfriends did assignments for. They’ll even ask their friends to ask their friends if he has a history of taking small loans which he defaults on from his girlfriends. Campus is the place you make friends and make merry. You need someone to watch your back.
Makes friends with everyone. Classmates, the university’s manual laborers, the housekeeper and any other living soul you meet. Except your lecturers! First, you don’t want a situation of conflict of interests when he asks you to hook him up with your crush. You also don’t want talks of ‘why do you let me down’ whenever you do something they don’t like, and the only thing they like is you hooking them up with your course mates. But above all, you certainly don’t want to be branded a snitch by your classmates.
Ps: The writer has a five year experience in campus life. While he isn’t a professional student like ‘Mugabe of UON’, he is qualified enough and ISO-certified to author this guide and any subsequent ones that may come. Listen to him!