Finding an Occupation
A trend I have observed here in Kenya is that students who score an 'A' in KCSE exams are generally expected to pursue Medicine, Engineering or Actuarial Science at the university. Only a few 'A' students break the norm and venture into other courses. And because I was an 'A' student when I was finishing high school in 2005, I contemplated on pursuing Actuarial Science and then Medicine before finally settling on Electronics & Computer Engineering.
But alas! When I matriculated at JKUAT in 2007 to pursue Electronics & Computer Engineering, I had a hard time understanding the course - something I have narrated before in this blog of mine. Eventually, I gave up engineering in 2009 after three frustrating years at JKUAT.
As I was dropping out of JKUAT in 2009, I set my sights on venturing into politics because I used to admire charismatic leaders like John F. Kennedy, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama whose speeches I would listen to again and again. I thought in my mind that I could become as great as them. When a lecturer at JKUAT in 2009 heard of my ambition, he advised me that I could finish my engineering course and still get into politics. He gave me an example of Raila Odinga, a prominent politician here in Kenya who studied engineering in his undergraduate years. I didn't heed the lecturer's advice because I went on to drop engineering like a piece of red-hot charcoal.
That I didn't have a clear idea of what I wanted to do with my life was also demonstrated in my applications to top American colleges. I applied to the colleges in the years 2006, 2007 and 2009 - that is before I matriculated at JKUAT as well as while I was there.
When I was applying to the American colleges in 2006 before I matriculated at JKUAT, I mentioned in my application that I wanted to pursue Computer Science because I was fascinated by the way computers work. I also said I aspired to be president of my country someday. As it happened, the colleges didn't think I was worth their salt - so they rejected me.
Then when I was applying to the American colleges for the second time in 2007 while I was at JKUAT, I said in my application that I intended to study Physics. I contemplated studying Physics because of the way I admired great particle physicists like Albert Einstein. Again, the colleges didn't accept me.
You know what? That time I intended to pursue Physics in America, I tried studying Physics books at JKUAT library. And wa! What a difficult read the books were! I particularly remember going through one Particle Physics book page by page without comprehending anything; it was full of mathematical formulas that made extensive use of Greek alphabets.
Due to that difficulty I had in understanding Physics, I changed my mind on the course I wanted to pursue in the United Staes when I re-applied to three top American colleges in 2009. This time round, I said in my applications that I desired to pursue History or Political Science or International Relations. (I can't remember exactly which I wanted to pursue.) Remember, 2009 was the year I dropped out of JKUAT where I had been pursuing engineering. Unfortunately, the American colleges didn't accept me this time either.
Undeterred, I did follow my ambition to get into politics by running for a political seat in Kenya's 2013 General Elections. And you know what again? Running for a political seat didn't turn out to be as easy as I thought - especially raising money and going out to talk to people.
Well, I did try to psyche myself up by opening a Facebook group and updating my friends on how my campaign was progressing. But those efforts didn't help because I struggled to get out of bed on most mornings to go sell myself to people as a great leader. Little wonder that my campaign was a complete flop. As in, I didn't put forth a spirited campaign that would have made me noticeable in my home-area.
In all those years beginning in my late teens when I contemplated on pursuing a career and then giving up on it, I have discovered that all along, I have had a consistent passion for sharing my thoughts in writing and in music. Today, I thought to myself, "Aha! Why not make music and writing my full-time occupation?"
I have therefore resolved to continue honing my talents in those two hobbies while praying for breakthroughs so that I may become the kind of self-reliant man I desire to be. So help me God.
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story of mine on finding an occupation, you might also enjoy another one I wrote sometimes back on "The Doors God Closed For Me". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.
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Book Review: "Life's Little Instructions Book"
Life's Little Instructions Book is a collection of 1,560 instructions by H. Jackson Brown Jr. They are on how to live a successful and purposeful life. H. Jackson Brown Jr. originally wrote the instructions for his college-bound son. I think he decided to publish them in a book after he figured out that he could make fame and fortune by doing so. Or maybe he just earnestly desired to inspire young people by sharing his wisdom with them in a book.
If H. Jackson Brown Jr.'s motive for publishing the instructions in a book was to inspire young people, then he succeeded with me because I was personally touched by most of the life instructions in the book when I read it in December 2015. So much was I touched by the instructions that I penned the ones that animated me most in my quotations book and then typed them on my Facebook wall in a series of ten posts. But I later deleted them from the Facebook wall because I didn't want to get into trouble for reproducing a lot of contents from the book without permission from the publisher.
However, I don't regret the effort I put in typing the instructions because it helped me drill them into every fibre of my being. Recently, I was impressed with myself that I could remember many pieces of advice from the book - more than three years since I last read the whole book.
The instructions in the H. Jackson Brown Jr.'s book encompass all the important areas of a human life such as thinking, reading, praying, living with integrity, having a successful marriage, bringing up children and interacting with our fellow human beings. Let me briefly share with you, my dear reader, on what the instructions say about those areas.
On thinking, H. Jackson Brown Jr. tells us that our minds can only hold one thought at a time; we should therefore make that thought a positive and a constructive one. He advises us to be positive and enthusiastic. And he seems to be aware of the toxic people in this world because he urges us to protect our enthusiasm from the negativity of others.
On reading, H. Jackson Brown Jr. beseeches us to read a lot and watch less TV. He adds that the more we know, the less we fear. And he advises us to re-read our favourite books and lend only those books we never care to see again. What I like about H. Jackson Brown Jr. is the way he exhorts us to include the Bible in our reading repertoire. I like that because I am a Christian.
On praying, H. Jackson Brown Jr. tells us to believe in the power of prayer. And he advises us to pray not only for things but also for wisdom and courage. As a Christian, I find that a sagacious advice which I have been implementing in my life over the last several months.
On living with integrity, H. Jackson Brown Jr. urges us to live such a life that when our children think of fairness, caring and integrity, they think about us. He advises us never to compromise our integrity or work for people of questionable character.
On having a successful marriage, H. Jackson Brown Jr. cautions us never to marry someone in the hope that they'll change later. He advises us to marry only for love. And we should marry someone who loves music and one we enjoy talking to. He reminds us that a successful marriage depends on two things: (1) finding the right person and (2) being the right person. And he further adds that a successful marriage is like farming; we have to start over again every morning. Those are wonderful pieces of advice that can save us from the pitfalls of divorce and separation that some people find themselves in.
On bringing up children, H. Jackson Brown Jr. tells us to start saving for our children's education as soon as we get married. He extols us to be good role models for our children, to create in them a good self-image, to never compare them with their siblings and not make finishing everything on their plate an issue. "Good children are like good soup," says H. Jackson Brown Jr., "both are home-made."
On interacting with our fellow human beings, H. Jackson Brown. Jr tells us that 80% of the success in any job is based on our ability to deal with people. He exhorts us to be forgiving of ourselves and others as well as to never lose our anger or allow anyone to intimidate us.
All told, H. Jackson Brown Jr.'s Life's Little Instructions Book is a delightful read. I recommend it to all young people out there. And it will certainly be my gift to my children when they turn 18 if I ever get lucky to have kids. Adieu!
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story of mine on the review of H. Jackson Brown Jr.'s Life's Little Instructions Book, you might also enjoy another one I wrote sometimes back on "Book Review: "Think Big"". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.