Announce your arrival, way before the day, to ensure you get to a place to spend the night in Main Campus. Otherwise you will end up walking to the venue and perhaps not even make it to the ceremony.
Bring your own camera, despite everyone else bringing theirs and tagging you incessantly on Facebook. You have to record these memories.
Care is to be taken, lest your belongings are stolen in any of various points on campus. Cameras disappear, the green book also grows a pair (of legs) among other prized possessions.
Don’t wait for your name to be called out like it was the norm during your parents’ time. You might even leave the grounds wondering why you came in the first place. Sweetheart, the first degree is like attending primary school nowadays. You are too many to be called out at a graduation ceremony. Those little kids graduating at kindergarten level have a higher chance of having their names called out than you do. Of course you could attend a private university, I hear they tend to be a bit more organized.
Eat before you go shoving people at the graduation square gates. You will shove your way in and you will shove your way out. You need extra energy for that. Some of us who never take breakfast learnt this the hard way. Thankfully, there’s always a lot of eating after the event.
Find a way to communicate with your people. Think smoke signals and Morse code, not Safaricom and the like. On this day, your cellphone will be useless by the time it hits midday. Recruit your dad to WhatsApp, it tends to get messages through a little bit faster than actual texts.
Gowns will cost you an arm and a leg, be prepared. Then when you get yours, you spend some valuable time trying to make it look good because half of them look pathetic. Did I mention that the university actually borrows gowns from JKUAT, complete with the labels? Some gowns even have zips. Yes, zips like the one on your jacket. The caps available can make you weep so there’s is no point trying to throw them up in jubilation. They may just land back in your hands in pieces.
Have fun! With a PA system that sounds like it was the one used during the first graduation ceremony in 1984, there is no point going to the ceremony to struggle to listen to those guys. Mingle with your peers, you may never see most of them again. Laugh and savour the moment.
Insist on getting your marks. Call people, even travel to the university and bother the concerned. If you just assume you will graduate, you may be shocked when the list is out. This is a public university. You are not pushed, you push. You become resilient and learn to navigate the corridors of ‘power’ to get what is rightfully yours.
Just as you came, so shall you leave – alone. Degree si harambee. That is why people are classified according to performance. Whether you used a mwakenya or not, that is your own decision. Some have principles, others do not. Whether the first class honours are actually legitimate or not, no one really cares. Just do your best.
KTN has a special relationship with Moi University. If you have been here long enough, you know that. It is the only station that covers the graduation ceremony live. If you are new to the university, always look out for announcements in The Standard. If a graduation or opening is postponed, keep your eyes glued to KTN. Trust me.
Life goes on after graduation. So make sure you make the right arrangements with concerned parties. Inform your workmates, friends, relatives and everyone else. Some tend to get really disappointed if you do not let them know. They were there throughout your four or five years of study, the least you can do is inform them and ask them to join in as you give thanks for the milestone.
Motorbikes are dangerous things. So if you choose to get on one to beat the mad traffic jam, be careful. Take it from me. I fell off one on my graduation day. Don’t laugh. I was just blessed enough to fall while it was literally at a snail’s pace so all that happened was that I got a nice bump to the back of my head as I hit it against a truck. Don’t ask.
New faces will sit next to you in those tents. This happens when your university has quite a number of campuses to its name offering the course you took. Eventually, these campuses churn out marks that have to be consolidated. In the process, you may be the unlucky one whose marks end up missing. I know for a fact that some students tried to have our graduation cancelled by court order since they were messed up by the system. Fortunately or unfortunately, they did not succeed.
Order is not a term that can be mentioned in the same sentence that you find graduation in Moi University. Unless, of course, you are speaking about the lack of it. For one, no one is ever sure of when graduation will take place until about a week from when it is scheduled to take place. Second, the entire ceremony is chaos. That green book is stolen from those who have them because not everyone gets it. (Even if it is available on the university website, parents will still want to see the printed thing. And here you were thinking that print is fading away. Not now.)
Parents will do anything to make it to your graduation ceremony, even if you do not want them to. Even if you tell them there is no point coming. And they will definitely bring you those shiny things, despite having told them ages ago not to ever bring them since you are pretty sure you are not a Christmas tree.
Queer people will show up around the days to graduation. They will probably be high on something, just to pump up the mood and remember things you did in campus and hoped everyone had forgotten.
Reunion is actually what graduation in Moi University should be called. That is the only positive thing you actually get from the whole event. I will miss the class of 2013. You guys rock!
Shout like a mad person if those security men make you go round in circles to get into the graduation square. You may be a graduand but they obviously do not think you deserve a designated gate. Shout, shove and scream until they let you in.
Traffic is synonymous with any enormous graduation in Kenya. It gets worse when it is in a rural setting. You will be stuck in traffic for hours. If you consider yourself bright, you will park your car away from the venue, say, Kesses. Better still, if you know the other short-cuts to the place you are set.
Umbrellas are important accessories to own because you never know what the weather will decide in Eldoret. This time round, it decided to work up a nice drizzle that morning. We waded through mud and spend the rest of the ceremony playing hop, step and jump in the tents.
VIPs get special treatment, even here. That graduation ceremony that took place in September was specifically fine-tuned for a very special VIP, even postponed for him. Need I say more?
Wear your best dress (pants). Where else will you do it anyway? Some of us rarely wear dresses after all. Do not let that look waste away by not posing for as many photos as possible.
X. I do not have a word starting with that letter and it is understandable. But I have one that sounds like it. Lots of exes converge and smile at each other during this event. Life is too short to hold grudges. You may never meet these people again.
You will need people. You are not self-sufficient and you will never be. Cultivate relationships that last a lifetime. Even when people you fell out with seem to be very nice and ready to patch things up on the day, embrace the opportunity. Love makes the world go round. 🙂
Zero to hero. That is what you will feel like once you are conferred the power to read and to do all what appertains to your degree. The reality, however, is different. It may takes years to get to where you want to be. All the same, feel this moment, as villagers compose songs in your honour and shower you with praise. You deserve it.