Celebrating JKUAT: Kenya's MIT - Reflections of a Young Man™

An Honest Appeal!

To help maintain this website and to enable me lead a decent life, I am scouting for businesses to advertise on this website of mine. So please hook me up to one such business now by clicking here. How about that?




Celebrating JKUAT: Kenya's MIT

These are the enduring students of JKUAT's Electronics & Computer Engineering Class of '11 in their fifth and final year of the degree course. I would have been in this photo had I also endured the course but I ignominiously dropped out in my second year. Photo courtesy of my friend Peter Karanja. Copyright © all rights reserved worldwide.


At the time I was matriculating at JKUAT in May 2007 to pursue a degree in Electronics & Computer Engineering, I also landed a part-time job to teach piano to a daughter of an affluent couple who lived in a leafy suburb of Nairobi. I didn't perform well in the job because I was young and inexperienced but some remarks I heard while teaching there impressed me.

"This young man is an engineering student at JKUAT.," remarked the daughter's mother while talking of me to a lady with whom she was having tea.

"JKUAT!" the lady replied, "That's a university for brilliant guys unlike XY university [name withheld] which is for jokers."

That lady must have been right in saying JKUAT is for brilliant guys given the experiences I had at the university. Okay, let me narrate the story.

I enrolled at JKUAT with the intention of transferring to MIT in my second year. But then, I scored the following grades in my first semester at JKUAT:

SubjectGrade
Workshop Processes and Practice IB
Chemistry ID
Workshop Practice IIC
Communication SkillsA
AlgebraB
GeometryA
Calculus IB
Physics IC

Having scored all A's in my high school KCSE exams, I became disturbed by those JKUAT first semester grades especially the D in Chemistry. They were a rude awakening that I wasn't as brilliant as I had perceived myself. And they forced me to change my plans of applying to MIT as a transfer student and instead chose to re-apply as a freshman.

My second semester results at JKUAT were even worse because I failed in Material Science which I failed again when the university asked me to repeat the exam - a further proof that JKUAT is for brilliant guys. See?

Those results notwithstanding, I treasure the experiences I had during my two-year stint at JKUAT. First, I had the opportunity to study with seven former students of Alliance High School in the Eletronics & Computer Engineering Class of '11. I had read that Alliance sent a larger number of students to top American colleges than any other high school in Kenya did which I still think is the case. So that's why I felt honoured to school side-by-side with those seven former students of Alliance High School.

Secondly, I loved JKUAT because it was close to such big urban areas as Thika and Nairobi yet it was pristine enough to offer a rural environment that made me stay in touch with nature. As I wrote in my previous story in this lovely website of mine, I enjoyed roaming in JKUAT's bucolic fields to read and reflect.

Lastly, I came to love JKUAT hospital, a spacious well-protected one-storey building, where I was admitted twice after I went bonkers due to the hard times I underwent while trying to cope with poor grades in class, failure to get accepted at MIT among other issues. So much did I love JKUAT hospital because of its cleanliness and the friendliness of its staff that I later on sometimes wished I could get sick again so that I could get admitted back to the hospital where I had been looked after like an infant baby.

Before I end this story, allow me to mention two shortcomings I observed at JKUAT which put the university reputation at stake. It's main campus neighbouring communities have dusty roads as well as shanty houses infested with petty thieves. A lot of dust stirred by vehicles cruising in those dusty roads usually ends up in JKUAT. And the petty thieves sometimes get into the university to pilfer such stuff as garments on clothes lines.

Given an opportunity to meet the current JKUAT vice-chancellor, I would advise her to partner with the university's neighbouring communities (like the way Yale University does with New Haven) to seek solutions for those two shortcomings because the university's reputation is inextricably intertwined with the wellness of its neighbouring communities. That's all I am saying.

---------------------------------------------------------------------

Sharing is Caring

Like this story? Then share it on:



A Homage to Sir Isaac Newton



Do you recall from your high school classes learning of gravity? Of motion? Of heat energy? And of white light as being composed of a spectrum of several colours?

If you can't remember all that, let me civilize you a little by informing you that the man behind all those discoveries of nature that led to the industrial revolution that began in Great Britain in the 18th Century was none other than the great genius: Sir Isaac Newton. A true genius for shizzle.

And there is more that Newton discovered, invented, explored and expressed in depth. He not only formulated the laws of cooling, gravitation and planetary motion but also invented Calculus, the branch of Mathematics without which we would have no radios, computers, smart-phones or space-crafts. Was Newton not a great genius for shizzle?

A further proof of Newton's greatness was revealed on one occasion when he was serving in the British Parliament in his sunset years. Legend has it that during that occasion, the parliament was frenetic with noises of debates and arguments. But when Newton stood up, the whole assembly went dead with pin-drop silence. Everybody was keen to hear what the great Newton, who had hitherto never uttered a word in parliamentary proceedings, would say.

Guess what Newton did? He just motioned a guy close to a window and requested, "Please close that window." Then he sat down.

I personally came to instinctively admire Newton in my high school years which led me to make his name the password of my first email account I opened in 2004 with the then ubiquitous Yahoo Inc. That day I opened that email address, I felt a pride of achievement which I expressed to my immediate elder brother Gatonga.

"So what's your email password?" Gatonga inquired.

"It is SirIsaacNewton," I responded with probably an air of pride.

To which Gatonga reprimanded me, "You are never supposed to share that password with anyone." I felt slightly embarrassed for sharing the password with him but the lesson hit home.

Later on during my days at JKUAT where I was pursuing a degree in Electronics & Computer Engineering, I tried to develop an imaginative, inventive and effervescent mind as that of Newton by spending a lot of time in the university's bucolic fields. On noting how I spent much of my time in those fields reading and reflecting, one casual laborer warned me that the fields were infested with snakes. I didn't heed his warning because I went on roaming in the fields where I lay on the grass on two nights while gazing at the same moon and stars that Newton had observed a few centuries earlier. Luckily for me, perhaps out of divine love, no snake bit me.

I am still a votary of Sir Isaac Newton; so much that I have also formulated my three Laws of Human Nature® which I hope will become as iconic as Newton's Laws of Motion. Should I get fortunate to start earning money through my hobbies, I will have to order a spell-binding biography of Newton from Amazon Inc.

And should I get lucky to build my own mansion, God-willing, I will have to hang a portrait of Sir Isaac Newton in the living room together with those of Dr. Geoffrey Griffin, John F. Kennedy and Franklin Roosevelt. So help me God.

---------------------------------------------------------------------

Sharing is Caring

Like this story? Then share it on:



The Sad Story of Simon Makonde

Photo courtesy of Ogeezone blog. Copyright © all rights reserved worldwide.


There was this story of Simon Makonde that is said to have been in an edition of a lower primary English textbook of the '90s here in Kenya. I can't remember though of myself reading that story despite having had my lower primary school education in the mid '90s. Maybe that's why I was ridiculed as a dull and dumb boy.

I have however been able to get the gist of the Simon Makonde story from two blogs. It was the story of a man who never achieved anything worthwhile and legendary in his life. He was just born, baptised, married and then he died as depicted in the photo of the story which I have displayed above.

That reminds me of an epigram I came across in Being the Best by Denis Waitley which goes as follows:
"There was a very cautious man
Who never laughed or played
He never risked, he never tried
He never sang or prayed
And when he one day passed away
His insurance was denied
For since he never really lived
They claimed he never died."[1]
Coming to think of it, these world has been and still is full of Simon Makondes. You see, people fear standing out from the crowd. They fear failure, criticism, rejection and even success itself.

I therefore today challenge you and me not to lead our lives the Simon Makonde way. Let us endeavour to do something worthwhile and legendary with our lives so that after we die, it will be said of us that "we came, we saw, we conquered".

****************
[1] I have extracted this short poem from page 133 of Being the Best by Denis Waitley, published in 1987 by Pocket Books - a division of Simon & Schuster Inc.

---------------------------------------------------------------------

Sharing is Caring

Like this story? Then share it on:



← Newer Stories  ||   Older Stories →