Positive Quote For Today

"The only way that we can live, is if we grow. The only way that we can grow is if we change. The only way that we can change is if we learn. The only way we can learn is if we are exposed. And the only way that we can become exposed is if we throw ourselves out into the open. Do it. Throw yourself."— C. JoyBell C.

Why I Dropped Out of JKUAT

This is a JKUAT building where I used to attend some classes. More about those university days in the story below.

Back in 2006 when I was a callow 18-year old teen, I joined a network marketing company called GNLD. I somewhat enjoyed being part of the company where I picked up a passion for reading motivational books. But while I strived to sell the expensive GNLD products and get more friends into the company, my parents were worried I might get carried away by GNLD and forfeit my university education.

As it happened, I gave up doing business with GNLD and in May 2007, I matriculated at a local university called JKUAT to pursue a degree in Eletronics & Computer Engineering. My parents were enormously proud of my enrollment at JKUAT. But guess what! I eventually dropped out of the university in 2009, something I have repeatedly talked about on this blog.

Of late, I have been reflecting on the reasons why I had to drop out of JKUAT. And today, I thought it wise to share those reasons on this lovely blog of mine, hoping to enlighten youngsters out there on what they should and shouldn't do at university if they are to finish their degree courses.

The chief reason that led me to drop out of JKUAT was my lack of passion for the engineering course I was pursuing at the university. Prior to joining JKUAT, I had come to believe that true learning should be intellectually and emotionally arousing. But when I joined JKUAT, I found it hard to live by that principle. Like all my classmates, I did a lot of rote learning, such as cramming a complex formula known as Schrodinger's Wave Equation, so that I could pass my exams.

There came a day in 2007 when we did not attend classes at JKUAT since it was a public holiday. Gosh! I felt relieved and wished we could have more such public holidays. That clearly shows how I just wasn't passionate about the engineering course I was studying for.

Well, I did sense there was beauty in Electronics & Computer Engineering - the way electricity and magnetism interact to create the magic we see in computers and the way algebra and calculus are used to analyze electrical circuits - but somehow, that beauty eluded my understanding. How frustrating!

I remember wondering whether the likes of Mwai Kibaki had to understand during their university days the abstruse concepts we were learning at JKUAT. (Mwai Kibaki was then the president of our country, who, in my eyes, was the embodiment of success.)

Even though I found the engineering course to be a tough nut to crack, I could have applied myself to diligently understanding the course. But the problem was, my attention was split between pursuing the course and applying to four top American colleges. I would spend hours revising for the SAT exams and going to Starehe Boys' Centre, my high school, to get the recommendation letters that the American colleges required.

When I went to Starehe, I would meet with James Rafiq, a handsome and amicable former schoolmate who was then working for Starehe. On noting how frequently I visited Starehe to get recommendation letters, Rafiq joked to one secretary in the school that if she saw a young man wanting to go to America, that was most likely me.

Due to my lack of concentration on the engineering course I was pursuing at JKUAT, I failed a first-year unit called Material Science. I was on a long holiday, eagerly waiting to hear from the American colleges I had appleied for admission, when JKUAT authorities informed me I had failed the unit and asked me to retake its exam.

Thinking that I would fly to America, I went to JKUAT and retook the Material Science exam without revising for it. Not surprisingly, I again failed the unit. What's worse, I was rejected by all the four American colleges I had applied for admission.

I am sure if I had passed all my first-year units, I would have felt encouraged to continue pursuing my engineering course when I reported back to JKUAT in May 2008 for my second year. But since JKUAT had a strict policy that no student could proceed to third year without passing all first- and second-year units, my failure in Material Science demoralized me. That was the third reason which led me to drop out of JKUAT in 2009.

Although I didn't finish my engineering course at JKUAT, I treasure the experiences I had at the university and the lasting friendships I formed there. As for what lessons youngsters can learn from my experiences at JKUAT, I will leave it up to them to deduce for themselves from what I have narrated. Adieu!

RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story on why I dropped out of JKUAT, you might also enjoy another one on "What Happened When I Repeated Class" which I wrote a few years ago. Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.


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Thinking Like a Harvard Graduate

With permission, I have extracted this picture-quote from a website called The Quotes Master. All rights reserved worldwide.

While going through an old Reader's Digest magazine earlier this year, I came across an interesting tidbit of information about a Harvard graduate who went back to Harvard to address its students. He told the students that the world would expect so much from them and that if they committed small blunders, they would be ridiculed. If, for example, they gave less change to a customer, they would be asked, "And you were in Harvard?"

I ardently wanted to attend Harvard when I was applying to top American colleges in 2007. And when Harvard rejected me during that application round, I decided to reapply to the college. In my efforts to make my dream come true, I created what I called a "dream book" in which I pasted photos of Harvard College that I had cut out from a Harvard prospectus. As it happened, Harvard again rejected me when I applied to the college in 2009.

If I had attained my dream of attending Harvard, I am now wondering how the world would have reacted to the blunders I have committed over the last twelve years. Such blunders as doing lots of lying, exaggerations and plagiarism in the stories I have written, texting friends silly messages and running away from home. The blunders would definitely have left the world asking me, "And you were in Harvard?"

I have also been slow at understanding instructions. Last year for instance, a music producer named Lenny Ndirangu told me to alight near a certain footbridge on Thika superhighway here in Kenya when I was commuting to his studio to record a song I had composed. It being the first time I was travelling to Lenny's studio, I got out of a matatu on a bus stop next to a road that was under another road, thinking it was the spot Lenny had told me to alight on.

Upon alighting, I phoned Lenny to inform him that I had arrived. Lenny quickly came to fetch me. But alas! He couldn't see me. I then crossed to the other side of the road to see if he was there. He wasn't there either, and the frustrations of him not finding me began to grate on his nerves. Sounding irritated, he instructed me to hand over my phone to a motorbike rider who knew the place well. After the rider told Lenny exactly where we were, he asked me to get onto his motorbike so that he could take me to where Lenny was, a service that cost me Ksh. 50.

When I finally met Lenny, he informed me that the place I had alighted - with one road underneath another - was an underpass. He explained to me that a footbridge was the structure next to us for pedestrians to cross over to the other side of the superhighway. It turned out that I didn't know the difference between an underpass and a footbridge, an ignorance that would have left Lenny wondering "And you were in Harvard?" if I had attended Harvard.

I am now endeavoring to think like a Harvard graduate. Well, from my interactions with three friends who attended Harvard, I understand each Harvard graduate is unique and different.

One of the friends is Paul Byatta who once agreed to meet with me sometime in 2011, and since then, he has never responded to my messages. Another is David Mbau who was very helpful when I was reapplying to Harvard in 2009 but he abruptly stopped communicating with me in early 2011, probably after realizing from the silly emails I sent him that I was immature. And the other friend who attended Harvard is David Mwakima who has been very supportive in my blogging hobby.

However different each Harvard graduate is, I tend to think they are all wise, brilliant and discerning. That's why I have resolved to be thinking like a Harvard graduate. I will strive to be thinking happy, cheerful and confident thoughts, thus making each day count regardless of the challenges I face. In doing so, I hope to remain perfectly at ease and deeply at peace wherever I am in this world.

My beloved reader, I challenge you to also think like a Harvard graduate regardless of where you attended school or the level of education you reached. Entertain only positive thoughts in your mind and purge from your thinking any thoughts that are depressing. Be thoughtful in all you do and conduct yourself in a manner that will command the respect and attention of the world. Adieu!

NEW! NEW! NEW! If you missed my social media update three days ago, let me take this opportunity to inform you that I have produced a new hymn which is available in the videos' section of this blog. Just click on the "videos" link on the menu at the top of this blog to access the hymn.


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