Navigating University Academic Terrain for Outstanding All Round Achievement.
All of you are seated in this Orientation Ceremony because you qualified to join Kibabii University by attaining high grades. You registered this sterling performance through extraordinary commitment under very difficult circumstances occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic and accelerated term dates.
You deserve special accolades. Congratulations!
Orientation is a ritual every University student must go through. Even those seated in front of you went through it. It is an activity intended to help new students in a number of ways including to:
- Preparing them to enter a new phase of life where they are challenged to make good choices and lead positive lives.
- Grooming them to be socially and emotionally sensitive.
- Guiding them to make critical decisions that will have effect on the rest of their lives.
In this regard, I wish to extend a very warm welcome to you to this Ceremony and to KIBU; Kibabii University.
Ladies and gentlemen,
You made the right choice. Kibabii University is not any ordinary University. It has been adjudged as home to several Centers of Excellence attracting students from not just all the 47 counties in Kenya but also the states that comprise the East African Community. It is a new Age University with formal tie-ups with many top-ranked universities and organizations globally. As you have noticed by now, it is a student friendly University!
One does not need a superior capacity of judgement to confirm its profound serenity and scenic beauty as well as aesthetic fashion of buildings exemplifying application of meticulous planning and modern architecture. Perhaps the most outstanding attribute of this fast growing University is the warmth of her faculty, staff, students and even neighboring community. What a beautiful place to call your home for the next four years!
I, however, wish to caution that it may not be the case because of the misconception most students joining university have. They include:
- Feeling that they excelled in high school. It doesn’t really matter whether you excelled or not and what you excelled in.
- Fantasy of entitlement to every service and favor. After all they are at the top of the social ladder.
- Thinking that University is a place of fun and letting go.
- Campus is a place where there are no rules or at the very least people live by their own rules.
- Arrival on Campus gives one the licence to everything their parents warned them against.
With my experience of nurturing the young ones in the university set up for many years, I am able to list the following reasons as to why one may graduate late or fail to graduate at all. These include; Suspension or expulsion for disciplinary reasons including examination irregularities, dropping out after failing to pay fees, imprisonment for criminal offences, alcohol/drug abuse, marital issues, external manipulation, brainwashing by religious or political leaders, suicide, mental problems, procrastination and so on.
Working from 23 years as the average age when students graduate from University against a life span of 70 years, you can imagine the number of years one can waste by taking the wrong direction. Forty-seven to be conservative. To the contrary, we have persons whose stars started shining at university and they went on to become outstanding personalities. Notable of these are Nelson Mandela (Fort Hare University); Julius Nyerere, Mwai Kibaki and Ngugi wa Thiong’o (Makerere University); Wole Soyinka (University of Ibadan) and many more.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The theme of this presentation is Navigating University Academic Terrain for Outstanding All Round Achievement.
How do you attain this? I will focus on only six points.
One. Ask yourself why am I here? Whom am I studying for? You are not here to stagnate or mark time. While here it is inevitable that you will grow. You shall definitely grow physically. Depending on the route you take, you may also grow socially, mentally, spiritually and emotionally. So every second, minute, hour, day, week, month, year counts. Total effort is required. To grow like Wanja Mbuthia, Sunday Nation 21st August, 2022 says, you must always be ready to learn, unlearn and relearn. This is the way to get good education that will enable you earn a valuable certificate that can make you a useful member of the society. Start preparing you portfolio and CV this minute.
Two. University years can be the best time of your life. Life on campus is colorful. You may never have that kind of life. Enjoy College experiences as much as possible. However, remember it can also be misleading and distractive so there is need balance between the many competing activities. Take responsibility for yourself and your actions. Whom will you blame for failure to complete your studies.
Three. Don’t be marginalized. Avoid temptation to be an island. Get to know people around you. Make friends. Be wise in choosing friends though. Let them know where you are all the time. Speak out when you have a problem.
Four. You are a student first. It is imperative that you have a positive attitude and mindset towards studies. Attend all classes. Meet with your professors. Know your academic advisors and wardens. Seek out Career Services Office. Know course requirements and due dates. Increase knowledge beyond what your lecturer will give you. Be self-driven. Over and above all, you must strive to brand yourself. Don’t be a copycat. Reflect own character. The greatest soccer players of all time are Pele and Messi. Yet each has unique attributes. Pele used both feet and head. Messi uses only left foot.
Five. Be cautious! Avoid activities and actions that will risk your health and life. Take good care of your health. Eat well, sleep well and live well. Most students join while HIV negative but end up being HIV positive. Almost all join when they are teetotalers but towards the end of four years are total wrecks from alcohol and drugs.
Six. Don’t rush into relationships. Weigh your options. Remember love at campus can involve multiple partners, may be driven by material things and fades as quickly as it blossoms leaving in its wake misery and casualties.
I wish to conclude by emphasizing that in today’s world that is evolving everyday there are many opportunities but only those who are alert, focused and in the right place at the right time will benefit. Always endeavor to stay on the first lane. One of our students participated in the Tokyo Olympics 2021. She has her degree and is preparing for the Paris Olympics 2024. You can also do the same. Why not?
God bless you! God bless KIBU.