So, the other day I heard a girl ask in a voice like the ‘nani ataniscratchia’ (who will scratch for me) advert girl and she asked, ‘’ Sasa nyinyi watu wa Strathmore mnakuanga na uni experience kweli? Mimi naona kama hamnanga stories… (Do students of Strathmore have a university experience? I don’t think you do.) To say I was annoyed by her ignorance would be a lie … I was tickled by her ignorance. I mean honestly, isn’t the title ‘Strathmore University’ self-explanatory? Of course, we have a university experience. Ours might not be the normal university experience of strikes and overcrowded lecture halls however we have our fair share of stories to tell.
Picture this; It’s a Friday morning and today you are ready to shine and slay for the folks of madaraka. Your edges laid, your haircut popping, your shoes shining. You literally want to give the Fashion cops a good majestic walk because today, ‘’I am Strathmore dressed and shining!’’ So, you get to the school gate and are searched, and you even give the guard a big smile and ask them about their village. And then BAMN! No ID. That tiny piece of plastic can really do something to your mood. So now you need to summon the spirits of creativity in your soul and come up with a fascinating story as to why you should be let into school. Most likely you will be on your way back home to shine for people in your hood, but you believe in your luck. Your story telling does not work and you begin the walk of shame but fortunately you get a nduthi (motorbike) guy that takes you to Langata quick. You are back with the ID you left on the dining table and are determined to do your majestic walk, so you do. You get to class, and the lecturer decides to drop a quiz on you. You smile because ‘’umeivia hii unit” (you are good at this unit) but sadly the worst is yet to come. Remember the topic you didn’t read because you went to Siwaka to play pool? Yap that’s the one! That’s the entire quiz.
‘’Kama hujui! Si ni quiz tu!’’ (If you don’t know you don’t know. It’s just a quiz.) All these are lies you tell yourself to make the failure softer. After the cat you follow the Lec to ask for a make up because you know all you did was paraphrase every question to make it seem like an answer. ‘’Haina shida kuna exam na CATS. Quiz ni nini?’’ … (no problem, there are exams and cats. What are quizzes anyway?)
I mean yes, we don’t necessarily have things to complain about per say, not the national crisis type anyway, but that’s not the university experience really. Your memories can’t just be defined by hardships. Memories are just things you experienced and still linger. Where else do we have students complaining about the escalator to the first floor. To some who were and are in public institutions it’s a bit trivial but that’s just our reality. What other institution has their parking lot overflowing with cars and some choosing to find other places to park because they don’t like the conditions. What other university budgets for food and cocktails for its students to celebrate the creation of the University. Where else do you have opportunities to meet the who is who at breakfast or better yet on your way to class at the back of SBS (Strathmore Business School)? What other place are people given opportunities to exhibit their talents in the arts in almost every event. They have even made the dreams of the vocally evolving and vocally strained persons come true. How cool is that? Your dreams of beychellla coming true in school. Yes, ours isn’t the conventional kind but it’s still an experience, our experience, the Strathmore experience.
By Samantha Karanja.