The University of Nairobi is like Delmonte Industries whose fruits are not only picked…they are chosen. They particularly chose the crème del a crème from all around the country, and then pit them against each other in strategically built arenas called campuses; where these scholastic gladiators will engage in a battle for superiority- a First Class Honours. These gladiators come from all over Kenya.The best of the best come from the burgeoning provincial institution of The Maranda School where the steel that sharpens other steel are made.
Others come in from the aplomb and sophisticated suburbs of Strathmore High, Saint Mary’s, Aga Khan, and Loreto Msongari where students are chauffeured into school with Jaguars and Bentleys while teachers ride in with their latest Footsubishi, Toeyota, Legsus and Kneesuns. Others crawl from the remains of the once high and mighty Mang’u, Starehe Centre and Alliance where status, class and academic excellence is on its deathbed, coughing unremittingly through an oxygen mask. Some waltz like zombies from the archeological archives and national monuments of Kenya High and Nairobi School ruins that experienced the construction of the Kisumu-Mombasa Railway, weathered the two world wars as well as the Mau Mau uprising. Yet still hold on to their youth with an uncharacteristic stoicism.
The rest troop in from the sprawling wattles and hamlets of Chox, Pand Pieri, Manor House, Kiambu High, Lugulu, and Bunyore Girls among those many other establishments from coast that are named after wells, prisons and the ocean.
We are all brought together by the unifying consideration of coming out with an honors degree. However, just like a good number of my classmates, I gave up my dream to attain a first class in first year. But what else would I expect when in our first lesson a professor stood in front of the lecture theater with an unmitigated chutzpah to tell us that we would never attain the grades that we got in High School. That basically meant that nobody would score an ‘A’. I thought he was kidding, till we got our CAT results back later into the semester. Let’s just say that if the marks I got could be converted to currency, it would be an equivalent of a dollar- a Zimbabwean dollar. And guess what? I was not the last student. The fact that ‘elder’ students, who have passed through his system, have no kind words of comfort to say about him does not serve to amplify our hopes either.
They explicate in cold dead words how First Class has become a far-flung notion; something as unimaginable as color to a dog. The last time somebody got it, God was probably a boy. So that is principally Law School for you- we come here thinking that we finally earned our ticket to achieving what we have always dreamt of being all our lives, only to be confronted with such a resounding alarm clock. Yeah, dreams are like parachutes, they will only soar for as long as the birds to do not poke it. And in this case, a stork in the disguise of a retired judge had punctured my chute, and my dreams responded submissively to the call of gravity.
So the results came out the other day. I am not happy about them, but I am not complaining either- at least I have no re-sits. And yes Miss Ndungy, I was with my Northern Rhodesian friend. However, I have a problem with these peeps who after checking out their results, go about showing off on everyone else’s pages, groups and timelines on facebook, and then make a lot of noise on twitter about the same. Find them on live chat. They will only reiterate the thing about empty debez and loud noises.
At least I tirade about my results on MY blog, and of course to the seven other idiots together with whom we purport to call ourselves GROUP AWESOME. Though in our defense, I think we really are awesome… I mean we got the least marks in the class (Evidence), thanks to yours faithfully here, but finally managed to simamisha ngazi. (I am assuming all of you guys in G.A scored aces in Evidence.) But just like the character Farhan in the blockbuster movie 3 Idiots I learnt something about human behavior that day; it feels bad when a friend fails, but it feels even worse when he comes first. There is this guy who comes up to me and asks to use my computer to check his results. His confidence to have me look as he logs in comes to me as a surprise because, well, with UoN you never know what letters await you on the other side. But he is relaxed. Like he wants me to see them. Then he hits the RESULTS tab and a definite trend is evident;
GPR200 CRIMINOLOGY AND PENOLOGY A
GPR201 EVIDENCE I A
GPR202 CIVIL PROCEDURE I A
GPR204 PROPERTY THEORY A
GPR205 SALE OF GOODS AND AGENCY A
WHAT THE HELL! Right? These are the kind of people who make you sit back at ask yourself why you did not simply sign up for a Bachelor of Hides and Skins course. What is more astonishing is that he shows no expression on his face. No jubilation. No frantic phone calls and texts. He does not copy paste it to his timeline. That is what I would do. That is what we would all do. But this guys just smiles wryly and then logs out as a matter-of-factly. Leaving my Chipolopolo aficionada wishing she had stayed in Northern Rhodesia, and me, googling the fee structure for BA Early Childhood Development. Trust me, that’s how you lose brownie points with a chic in campus. Imagine what would have happened if she had seen my transcript? With that kind of diversity in letters, it almost looks like an alphabetical child’s rhyme chart. Note the use of the word ALMOST…I am not that bad.
This is the time you remember how you cheated on lectures with wine glasses and movies. You start accepting the fact that you are a self perpetuating victim of circumstances. This is the time you loathe that mate who deferred law school just when the exams are two weeks away; after enticing all of your afternoons with swimming, hitting the gym and catching up on Spartacus. Then you start making the same resolutions you have been making since first year; but then defaulted on the second day of opening. You draw up timetables and stick them on the cover of your book. The same book you came to register with in first year- because, since you never write notes in class the handful of times you attend, there is no need for a new one. You hark back to the days just before exams when everyone was cracking shaggy dog stories about Cesare Lombroso and you could not just get the joke. You remember pulling a Silencer stunt- pop pills, cram jargon senselessly; and then invest in X-rated magazines to derail other students (after extravagant group discussion hours with Jaber bore no fruits- because even then, all you ever did was imagine how the night would end with the both of you wrapping legs)
Okay, that last part is not remotely true.
Anyway, my grades are not responsible for this post, the law school renegade aforementioned is. Just after the release of our results, he opened a typo-infested blog site and went on and on about how the stork- professor awarded marks arbitrarily. Apparently, the law school deserter was awarded a B grade yet he never made it for the exams. He raged and ranted about how his heart goes out to the future of the legal profession. In it he said in verbatim that professor owes all his students, God, The republic of Kenya and his integrity an apology.
Is he kidding me? I am a student of the professor and I think I am the one who owes the professor an apology for the kind of things I wished would happen to him just so that he would not be able to mark our papers. But thank God he did! This man has been a prayer item for everyone in campus- including our beloved brother and sisters from the Christian Union. His level of generosity when it comes to marking of exams is infamous throughout the campus. We all pray that he would be as kind as to throw us a bone- D grade, just so that we do not have to re-sit that unit. But then in this case, he offers everyone a B. It would be easy for this bloke to shout his throat dry, because he has long been rusticated from law school, but the truth is, I (just like very many of us) am more than grateful.
It is not like we did not deserve it anyway. There was no soul in our class last semester that could not rap Chapter 31 Laws of Kenya from the top of his/her head, point out the errors in the Act, and explain with the aid of decided cases every provision of the legislation. I remember how I literally sang to it. The endless hours I pretended not to be my room so that I could recount all the fifty provisions of the Sale of Goods Act have not yet peeled off the walls of my mind. The grade I got was not given to me arbitrarily- I earned it. Swot for it. I paid for every bit of that grade with sweat, blood and at some point sleep.
So this boy, the same one who rode away to Software Engineering at the first sight of trouble, has the audacity to stand in the midst of men, and claim in writing that I deserved less. He should die just for that reason.
Verily, I am lamenting three-fold: As a student, a friend and as a man. And when he suggests to the world that I ignore the clear intent of law, he offends my sensibilities as a prospective district attorney. When he champions that I do not deserve a good grade, even when i have worked so hard for it, he offends me as a friend. And when he claims that the professor was immoral in giving me my just desserts, he offends morality itself…and I take it personally as a man. He is my friend, and I his. That I why I am going to be brutally honest with him. Clear and naked openness. No skipping of paragraphs. The truth is that it would be a great insult to human nature to understand why he wrote such condescending piece as that. But it is even greater outrage for me as a friend to tolerate it.
(Taps his chest with his palm calmly followed by a long deep breathe.)
‘Aal Is Well’