Oh, you’re graduating! You must be so excited, right?
Uh... no I’m not. But thanks for asking anyway.
Like seriously, what is so exciting about leaving a place like USIU? With a plethora of trees in all shapes and colors that make you feel like you’re in Karura Forest. Beautiful women and men who meet your eyes everywhere you look and almost make you wish you didn’t have a bae.
How about the new state of the art buildings that crop up every single year. And we’ve not even stepped into the world-class gyms.
Not only do you leave this upscale environment, but also your “forever-ever” friends. Remember all those cool people who you met and turned up with for the last 4 years? Hate to break it to you, but you’ll probably see them once a year after graduating.
The only thing to look forward to is the actual graduation day. When you reunite with all your old and new friends that you once joined with as fresh naive babies. Reminisce on your uber amazing campus ride, before you part and enter the big bad world.
If only that day would never end.
I know what you’ll say. That I’m overreacting and there are plenty of reasons to be excited. That you’ll finally be free of those hectic exams and long term papers. And those last two weeks of every semester - I mean why are they are always so painful?
But let’s not forget what you’ll have to give up. Your carefree campus life of probably 3 classes per day (so stressful) to waking up every weekday at 5 am - sometimes including Saturday - just to go to work. How exciting, right?
Of course when you’re graduating, there’s that big elephant you can’t escape from. What are you going to do next after school? What is your plan?
God I hate that question.
Blessed are you if you already have a well-paying job, as you will not be disturbed with such annoying questions. Better if you’re earning from your passion. Personally, I am self-employed, and no I am not making money from this writing gig. Yet.
But I’m not about chasing it, money knows how to chase excellence. Ama?
Anyway, this is not about my ending friendships or fruitless journalism career. It’s about the 5 things I’ll desperately miss about USIU now that I’m finally graduating.
Do I have to go though?
This is definitely one of the best times to be a USIU student. You get to admire and buy exotic outfits from other cultures, especially for impulse shoppers like me. Ride high on camels around campus (did you see that 2017 parade) and plaster friends and strangers alike with color like Holi Festival.
And the food, oh gosh the food. Now that’s something worth missing.
And the ladies too
As if this isn’t enough, all the multicultural celebration culminates in the one event that attracts more USIU students and alumni than Campus Awards. Or even Mr & Miss. Everybody heads to the field that night just to watch conservative cultures shake their bam bams in front of the whole campus. And we are never disappointed.
Remember when Kenya thought they won the overall culture of the year 2017 award? The spirit of patriotism and competition is completely fueled in that one week of the year. You really don’t know how passionate USIU students can be until Culture Week.
Also known as the USIU turn up inside campus. This hyped event is organized and hosted every semester by the best radio presenters and DJs from USIU Radio 99.9FM. To keep things interesting, each edition hosts a new theme and performing artists from USIU and beyond.
One of the most unforgettable ones was in 2016 when we got to sample wireless headphones from Wireless Events. That evening at Smokers, you could tune into one of three different channels that played reggae, hip-hop or house. So if someone’s headphones illuminated in the same color as yours, you knew you were in the same party.
Silent disco was brought straight to USIU.
And then there was the Valentine's Edition in the cafeteria where many daring souls tried out a speed dating session (I met a lot of cool people that day, that will probably never see again after graduation).
And to end the USIU Radio dance party, we feasted on free humongous cake from Black Forest House. I can still taste it in my dreams sometimes.
It’s quite a rare thing for in-campus events be more lit than local club parties (ahem Bottoms Up). But The Frequency has done it over and over again. Because if you can party without alcohol being involved, now that’s a turn-up.
Just because we like to party doesn’t mean there’s no time to relax. For the four years I’ve been a USIU student, Mama Afrika has been the top spot to chill. Trees from all ethnicities envelop you in all directions, easygoing leaves swaying gently in the breeze. Then there’s the well-tamed lawn nearby that you’re allowed to see but not touch.
It’s the garden of Eden inside USIU.
No wonder it’s such a popular conference center for study groups, even Bible study. Yoh, si we meet after class at Mama Afrika. Or meeting area with your crush aka future bae. We've all made plenty of good memories over there, if you know what I mean.
Something I should also mention, the new green garden at FAB center is giving Mama Afrika some serious competition with its larger seating area. Speaking of, when is that second cafeteria opening?
Few students know this, but Michezo Afrika stages the most entertaining plays this side of Thika Road. I say this because the auditorium is hardly full whenever they perform, and most of the attendees are visitors.
One thing about their self-produced plays is they are always hilarious. Starting from my first one Sweeney Todd, K Street edition to the latest and my absolute favorite, the Uncommon Room. With only a cover charge of 200 bob for students, even KNT can’t touch this.
The eccentric USIU drama club also holds salsa nights every semester for the secret Alejandros and Camilas among us. I know very little about bachata, so this is the only time I got to pick up a few dance moves from a learned stranger. And the Alejandros are always so nice and gentle.
If you’ve always wanted to salsa, I don’t know why you’ve never come to sweep or be swept off your feet during these fine nights.
Yup just like you, USIU also gets random sometimes. Event posters hit you on the regular on notice boards and school-related Whatsapp groups, but you probably ignore them. Like that coffee chat with Dr. King and Prof Scott during Black History Month, which was complete with free laughs and coffee.
Or how about those regular guest talks in the auditorium. Sure, not all of them are interesting to common mwananchi. But like TED Talks, most will challenge you beyond your normal thinking capacity.
The most recent event was when Teardrops the poet, Stonee Jiwe and Eko Dydda took over the basketball court one random Thursday night. That was after we were treated to a free slam dunking session by USIU basketballers. It was the coolest thing I ever saw as they shot some incredible hoops. People’s reactions looked straight out of a Worldstar video.
The Kenyan stars then performed and turned up with us all night. They were backed up by blinding lights that must have been borrowed from Safaricom stadium during IAAF championships. And a booming sound system which probably kept the whole USIU neighborhood awake until the gig ended.
The best things in life are truly free. And random.
So as you complain about long term papers and how you can’t wait to leave USIU, please remember my words friend. And that 9-5 job waiting for you in the big bad world.
I don’t know about you, but graduating from USIU is like leaving that ex you weren’t ready to break up with.
Please don’t ask me if I’m excited, you already know how I feel.
Ati the alumni card is free for the first year after graduation? Haiya. See you next semester folks.