Of Opening Dates and an Open Mind


OFFICE OF THE CHIEF ACADEMIC OFFICER: Moi University wishes to inform all students that the double intake was too much for the institution to handle and therefore has not scheduled opening dates.

No, I did not have the dates with me; neither does anyone who cares enough to disseminate such pertinent information. I was just trying to imagine how the notice would look like if the administration was to be frank with us. I have kept an eye out for the green notices in the papers but all I see are supplementary exam notices and a graduation ceremony that caught most of us by surprise.

Every rumour in Moi University always has some truth in it. Rumours of the impromptu graduation ceremony started in April, right after we closed for the long holiday. Initially, everyone graduated in December. Thousands of students from various campuses graduated on a single day. That one day when phones did not go through. At least they did not back in 2009. I guess they do now since Safaricom put up their booster.

Last year, the administration found it wise to split the ceremony in half so that it was spread over two consecutive days in December. They must have realized that was not a very bright idea and hence the abrupt August graduation ceremony; the 27th graduation ceremony at that.

The other rumour that characterises the Moi University fraternity is that of opening dates, especially around this time. As the end of semester drew closer in March, there were speculations that everyone would be coming back for a new academic year in a few days; everyone except the soon-to-be seniors.

I use the word ‘soon-to-be’ with a lump in my throat. Clearly, I am not a fourth year yet. I would be in the original and sane plan; the one where we would go on a three to four month holiday and start a fresh academic year in August.

Rumour has it I still have three more months at home. Like I said every rumour in Moi…

I love the holidays. All the same, I would not have wished for one as long as seven months. But you know what, I am not complaining. Seven months of holiday is seven months of eye-opening experiences in and out of the house. (Mostly in, but let us move on.)

The truth is, I am at crossroads. Opening school means that I have to make up my mind right now on what I want to major in. I pursue a Bachelor of Science in Information Sciences. (Relax. I know the question that has formed in your head right now. What in the world is that? Let me explain.)

Information Sciences is, as my INS 110 lecturer put it, an interdisciplinary profession involving the analysis, collection, classification, manipulation, storage, retrieval and dissemination of information. Google will tell you that too. It is not IT. However, it does involve IT in a lot of areas. Media and publishing, library science, records and archives management also make up the meat of it.

The Margaret Thatcher Library, or part of it. The School of Information Sciences is located here.

I can now exhale, knowing that no else will look at me funny when I tell them what I do in Eldoret.

Now, the problem with a course of this nature, interdisciplinary and all, is that it places me in the perfect position among the most confused lot of the ‘hesitation generation’.

In a nutshell, I don’t know whether I want to specialize in Media and Publishing or Information Technology.

Why don’t I know? I am a grown woman who should know what she wants in life, right? But I will not pretend I do. Funny enough, when I was a kid, I knew what I wanted to be better than I do now. Then life happened. Not to mention the fact that the degree you pursue may not even determine your eventual vocation.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I take this extremely long holiday as a blessing in disguise; to make up my mind once and for all.

On my left is IT, coding is fun when you get it but irksome when you get some weird errors that you cannot see with the naked eye. (Ok, slight exaggeration there.)

On my right, Media and Publishing, sounds like what I was cut out to do. I visited a publishing house the other day and thought “My, this is boring”.

If I was going to pick one major over the other because it is easier, I will have to think again. Nothing that is worth anything comes easy.

My decision making is further complicated by good old people. Even if I wanted to pretend that your opinion did not matter, I need people with experience to help me paint a bigger picture.

Thing is, it all boils down to what I think. What I know. What I believe.

By November, a decision will have to be made, whether I am ready or not. The best thing is to be ready. Ready enough to have a research question in the major I will have picked and with all the psychological preparedness of a scholar who knows what she wants to do with the opportunities presented to her. It will not be a choice made out of cowardice or laziness but an informed and open-minded one. After all, I am information professional.

I divert all the negative energy I have towards an institution to carving out my niche in the world; the niche in which I will make the world a better place in my own small way. So help me God.

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