So it has been exactly 4 years 3 months since I was admitted to start the MBA program at the University of Nairobi and guess what folks!!! I finally made it and graduated on the 21st of December 2018 during the 60th graduation ceremony.As you are guessing this duration of time was more than the amount of time one is expected to finish the program (2 years) and a tad bit more time than I took to complete my undergraduate at Strathmore University which took exactly four years.With this in mind I got asked all the time ‘unamaliza siku gani?’ or ‘hii degree haishi?’ (when are you completing the degree?). I started feeling like Reese Witherspoon in the movie ‘how do you know’. If you have not watched the movie its about a lady who has been in a high school baseball team for the longest time. She is now 30 and she refuses to leave the team. The difference was that in my case I wanted to leave as soon as possible but life’s circumstances and God’s plans had something different in store. So I told people to stop asking me and others I just ignored altogether and changed the topic because I sincerely did not have an answer for them. But I am thankful to all who stood with me . My friends and family fervently prayed with me and for this day to come and it has surely come to pass.Better late than never 🤗.
I remember someone asking me when I was around 21 where I wanted to be in 5 years and my response was that I wanted to have attained my Masters degree by the time I was 25 and I was so sure of myself lol 😂 🙄. With this promise I decided to try my best to make this work. I graduated from Strathmore University in June 2014 and after one month my mum reminded me of my dream and I thought ,why not lets make this thing happen. I Immediately started researching on the different universities offering MBA’s in Nairobi and I settled on the University of Nairobi because the pricing for the degree was favorable and I for-saw with the small salary I was getting at the time it would be the best fit as I could afford to pay for it as a self-sponsored student.
I went on and applied and about a month later I was accepted to the program. I was super excited and I celebrated on getting the news and my future was bright and I was ready to take the bull by the horns and realize my dream. Circumstances came in between and I was not able to start in September 2014 as anticipated and I started the degree later in in January 2015 and I was excited to get an education in a different school and environment that was the extreme opposite of my previous University life experience.
Working during the day and attending class during the night became my daily routine. Being new in the workforce ,which means trying as much as possible to prove yourself to your employer and at the same time trying to keep the balance of school and exams was not that easy. I remember missing one CAT because I was so caught up with work and I had deadlines to meet. On one hand, the employer expects one to put in overtime and school has its demands as well. There was one lecturer who never used to allow students in to his class after he came in to class. So if you came in and found him, you better just turn around and get the notes from others who were in class otherwise, he would thoroughly insult you in front of the whole class with no mercy. The same did not apply to him if he missed classes on his part of course 😆. Lecturer is king 🤴.
So talking about the CAT that I missed due to work; at UON for this particular unit the CAT carried 50% of the marks and you cannot pass the unit if you don’t have the other 50%. So I went ahead and called the lecturer and asked him if he could give me and some other students a make up CAT because most other lectures give the same when students miss a CAT due to work or other unavoidable circumstances . I tried to talk to him in a nice way requesting for a make up and he ended insulting and telling me never to call him again and that I should delete his number 😱.So with this, I was so dumbfounded largely attributed to the fact that I am a positive thinker and I always like to think the best of everyone. In this school, lecturers/supervisors have the last say. With this roadblock I decided to sit for the same unit again because in my mind I had no other choice. Later as I sat for the same unit again, faith kicked in and I decided to give one more try and consult the lecturer again after the 2 semesters of strike were over.I prayed and I decided to talk to him after one of the classes. I approached him and he went ahead to call me his daughter 🙄 and asked me what my issue was.I explained to him my predicament and the he went like ‘why have you waited for so long I would have given you this make up test such a long time ago and I go like ????? I had tried and you insulted me and shushed me off!!!! anyway this is just what I said this in my head, I thanked God and decided to move on with my life.
In June 2017 I had I was done with all of my units including the lecturer drama and I was ready to take on the project which was the last piece of the puzzle as written on it ‘partial fulfillment’ of the course.I was ready to put my all into it so that I would be able to graduate in December 2017. I paid the project fees and the drama began. A supervisor was allocated to me and I immediately not wanting to waste more time gave him a call and started engaging him on email.We made a one meeting progress then he went silent. This was already around August. I started panicking because i was like time is running out and graduation is around the corner.I gave him a few calls then one day he finally responded and told me that he was sick and could not continue supervising me anymore and I was like whaaatttt??? you cannot be serious. I know i was supposed to be considerate of him and think of his well being but at that time i just could not believe my bad lack. With this i was advised i needed to write to the dean for a change in supervisor and of course this process takes a bit of time.In around October another supervisor was allocated to me and I still had hope. I was like ‘its possible! its possible!’ 🙏🏾. The funny thing is this same supervisor was up and running supervising other students by the next semester and I was like really !!!! 😳.
I started meeting with the other supervisor who had to take time to understand what I was doing with the other supervisor. Of course this went all the way into December and with this the year was gone and so was the graduation. So I gave up the plans to God and told him may his will be done. Of course i did not know the million other little steps that I needed to take to actually get to the end. You had to go through another person called a moderator who when I called told me ‘call me when you have learnt how to speak proper English’ so I had to write another letter for change in moderator because I was just tired of all the drama,there was also a proposal presentation,project presentation and external examiner validation. Needless to say the bureaucracy is outstanding.
All this clearly took me a whole year but the experience is different for different people.Of course if graduation is not near the supervisors have no hurry to help you finish the project on time, this being the last step and all.
Clearing and Graduation 👩🎓
By the time I was receiving my document back from the external examiner, believe you me it was 2 weeks to graduation and there was no time to waste. How time flies 😵. The documents of course need to be bound in the university library and due to the large volumes received right before graduation, it took one week to get them back and it is part of the University clearing process so one cannot escape it.
So here we were E,C and I on a friday one week before graduation. E was an angel sent to me during the last days of project completion and clearing process. She was always keeping tabs and pushing me to ‘finish this thing!’.Fortunately we had the same supervisor so we did most of the final processes together and she kept telling me of the next steps to take at each point.We met at the UON towers elevator and she swore she knew me from class (even though I could sincerely not remember 🙈) and we hit it off immediately.Anyway getting back to the story, we had been trying to get hold of our supervisor since thursday that week but to no avail.She was not picking our calls nor was she responding to our texts. So we were like lets all call her a million times at the same time until she has no choice but to answer. She did answer but only E was able to get her to sign her document on that Friday. C and I now were left to battle another day.
If I had not explained earlier the supervisor has to sign the bound project before the clearing process begins. So with that one signature, one person can seal your fate or vice versa.During the next three days until Monday at around 2pm when the lecturer had to be called by the admin to show up, she had completely ignored our calls and texts where we had pleaded with her to even go wherever she was. There were other students who had to actually fly to Kisumu, Mombasa and Machakos to get that one signature 😳 so I guess my case was not that bad off 😜. On Monday we got the coveted signature and everyone was too mad to even say more to her and we were immediately on our way to get another signature form a person called the ‘coordinator’ 🤦🏾♀️.
To make the long story short, there were two more days of enduring long queues and standing the whole day with no where to sit for the whole of Wednesday until I felt like my feet were going to fall off , right until the whole process was completed with acquiring the gowns that Wednesday evening. After this whole ordeal I did not bother to go for the rehearsals on Thursday as I was completely tired and out of it.
The icing on the cake was going for graduation where they called us out in terms of serial numbers. I think I fell in between serial 55 to 100.No individual name calling because of the large numbers.There are those who complained about it after. As for me I was just glad that it was all over.The untold price and hustle of getting an education. So when you see me smile and thanking God for reaching the end of the journey there is definitely a story of a lot of endurance and resilience.There is obviously a lot more that I have not put in here but I was like hey! let me share half the story.
So congratulations to #uonmbaclassof2018 I am sure each of us has their own story but the bottom line is we all deserved to be awarded that degree as it did not come easy.
Love and Love