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.

An Advice to My Younger Self

With permission, I have extracted this picture-quote from Listbark.com. All rights reserved worldwide.

In my previous story on this lovely blog of mine, I narrated how I wanted to transfer to MIT when I matriculated at a local university called JKUAT in May 2007. Well, I got such mediocre grades in my first semester at JKUAT, including a 'D' in Chemistry, that I decided to apply to MIT as a freshman, not as a transfer student. Besides MIT, the other American colleges I chose to apply for admission were Yale, Harvard and Stanford.

As I worked on my applications to those colleges, I came to like Harvard more than MIT, Yale and Stanford. For one thing, Harvard was more famous as a prestigious university than the other three colleges. Even my uneducated Mum had heard about the prestige of Harvard. I remember her telling me one night in 2007 that Harvard is a tough college to get into. Of course she told me so in my mother-tongue of Kikuyu.

Then, I was inspired to study at Harvard after learning that Bill Clinton and Bill Gates, two of my favorite heroes, had visited Harvard in 2007 to give speeches to the college students. Bill Clinton was invited at Harvard that year to address the Class of '07 on an occasion known at Harvard as Class Day, while Bill Gates was invited at Harvard that year to be conferred an honorary doctorate in a commencement ceremony during which he gave the keynote address. I got to know all that from the Harvard website which I visited occasionally in 2007.

While working on my Harvard application in 2007, I contemplated writing a letter to Prof. George Saitoti, my then area MP, to inform him of my dream of wanting to study at Harvard. I thought of telling Prof. Saitoti in the letter that I believed he would be elected President in the 2012 Kenya's General Elections, and that I would succeed him as President and my area MP in the 2022 General Elections. And the year 2022 appeared to my teenage mind like it was a long time to come.

Do you know what happened to all those lofty ambitions I had in 2007? Well, I was rejected at Harvard College come April 2008. I also didn't make the cut at MIT, Yale and Stanford. Then Prof. George Saitoti, my area MP who I dreamt of succeeding as President, died in helicopter crash in June 2012. He didn't even live to witness the Kenya's General Elections that were held in 2013 following a change in our country's constitution.

And then, I eventually lost interest in politics after trying to contest for a seat in the 2013 Kenya's General Elections. The difficulty I had in raising money for campaigns and in going out there to canvass for votes from people made me discover I just wasn't wired for a career in politics. And boy, I can't believe the year 2022, which appeared to my teenage mind like it was a long time to come, is now less than four months away!

On reflecting about the kind of young man I have been in the past 14 years, I have realized that I didn't have the brains to get into Harvard. I did some lying, exaggeration and plagiarism in the essays I submitted for my Harvard application in 2007. And when I took up blogging as a hobby in 2010, I continued engaging in such dishonesty in the posts I shared on my blog - an unethical habit I stopped in 2016 after I rebranded this blog to what it looks like now.

But back in 2007 while I worked on my Harvard application, I didn't see myself as unworthy of getting into Harvard. On the contrary, I believed with every fiber of my being that I had the potential to get into that prestigious college.

Given how I got rejected at Harvard, how Prof. George Saitoti died in a helicopter crash, how I lost interest in politics and how I came to realize that I didn't have the brains to get into Harvard, if I were to offer a piece of advice to the starry-eyed young man I was in 2007, this is what I would advise him:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.
I have extracted that piece of advice from the ever-green book of Proverbs. Had I followed the advice in 2007, I would probably have made wiser decisions that would have saved me from much of the turmoil that I went through in the years that followed.

All has not been lost though because these days, I have chosen to trust in the Lord with all my heart and to not lean on my own understanding. I am always involving God in all that I do and I can frankly say that He has been making my paths straight, at least for the past one year. I intend to continue relying on Him. Adieu!

RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story on the advice I'd give to my younger self, you might also enjoy another one I wrote more than three years ago on "Some Bad Days I Once Had". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.


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My Experiences in a Mental Hospital

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

When I was matriculating at a local university called JKUAT in May 2007 to pursue a degree in Electronics & Computer Engineering, I didn't intend to finish the degree course at JKUAT. Instead, I wanted to transfer to Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in my second year. I really wanted to study at MIT and I would share that dream with anyone who cared to listen to me.

Like one Sunday afternoon in May or June 2007, I shared my dream of wanting to study at MIT with a friend of mine named Ruth Wangire who I had met at All Saints' Cathedral church in Nairobi. Ruth Wangire didn't know what MIT is and what it stands for. I had to explain to her that MIT is a prestigious university in America, and of Harvard's caliber.

Around that time I shared my dream with Ruth Wangire, I also informed an affluent gentleman whose daughter I was teaching piano that my goal was to acquire my degree at MIT. The gentleman must have heard of the prestige of MIT because after he listened attentively to me, he remarked that MIT was a great place to learn.

To achieve my dream of transferring to MIT, I ordered transfer application forms from MIT and began working on the essays that I was to submit. I also bought revision books for the SAT exams that MIT transfer applicants were required to take; I bought the books with the loan I had received to cater for my living expenses at JKUAT.

My first semester roommate at JKUAT, an alumnus of Alliance High School named Mikhail Mbelase, noted how I madly wanted to go MIT. One morning, Mbelase asked me in the presence of his friends what position I was in my high school index exam. Well, I was position 27 in the index exam but I lied to Mbelase that I was position 15 to make him think I was smart. But alas! Without missing a beat, he shot back in Sheng, "I don't think the index 15 of Alliance High School would have made it to MIT."

Although Mbelase was giving me his honest opinion that the index 15 of Alliance High School couldn't make it to MIT (and Alliance is one of the best secondary schools in Kenya), his remarks didn't discourage me from wanting to study at MIT. I kept revising for my SAT exams while coping with my engineering coursework at JKUAT.

And then you know what? Instead of going to Massachusetts Institute of Technology, I ended up at Mathare Mental Hospital - the leading referral hospital for mad people in Kenya.

Yes, I was referred to Mathare Mental Hospital sometime in 2010 by a psychiatrist at JKUAT. But mine was not a severe case of madness. I just used to go to Mathare for medical check-ups during which I would be injected with medicinal drugs and given tablets to swallow after meals. My Dad accompanied me to Mathare for those check-ups.

During one of those check-ups at Mathare, I mentioned to the doctor attending to me that I was concerned with the weight I had gained in the previous two years since I was taken mentally ill at JKUAT. The doctor wrote for me a formula I could use to find out if I was overweight. Even though I can't remember the formula and never bothered to use it, I do recall it had something to do with the relation between a person's height and weight.

While at Mathare, I saw mad people babbling something to themselves. And they were contained in compounds surrounded by tall fences to keep them from escaping. I later on came to wonder if the nurses employed to look after them were ever stressed by the deviant behavior of the mad people.

Mathare Hospital was however not all about mad people. There were shops, food cafes and residential houses on the compounds of the hospital. Sometimes I would bump into children coming from schools. The children must have belonged to the families of staff working in the hospital.

When I went for a medical check-up one Saturday morning in 2010, I decided to have a hair-cut at a barbershop in the hospital. And wa! The hair-cut turned out to be the worst I have ever had. It was like the woman trimming my hair was trying out her skills on me. Or maybe her mediocre hair-cutting skills were the result of dealing with mad people.

Well, I did stop going to Mathare Hospital for check-ups. And I have long since stopped taking any psychiatric medication because I consider myself these days as a handsome young man of sound mind and kind heart. But I will never forget the experiences I had at Mathare Mental Hospital, for they taught me what can happen to us when our dreams fail to materialize as it happened to me when I didn't make the cut at MIT.

RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story on the experiences I had at a mental hospital, you might also enjoy another one I wrote about four years ago on "Celebrating JKUAT: Kenya's MIT". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.


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