Thursday, 2 January 2014

Moi University’s 29th Graduation an Epic Disappointment

Graduations just like weddings, are very important events in one’s life. They are important lifetime achievements and people want them to be most memorable events. Moi University’s 29th graduation was supposed to be one of my greatest defining moments ever since I embarked on this journey of a scholar and professional 16 years ago. The thought of finally qualifying to put on the academic attire and given the power to read always sent a tingle of joy in my heart. In fact, I was to hire Nyaugenya Bus to transport my relatives, friends and a few villagers to witness this auspicious occasion but thanks to the financial constraints, only close family members made it for the graduation cum picnic. I know you are like a bus for graduation! That’s crazy especially for a digital youth he he he he…But I was neither going to be the first nor the last. You see for most people an undergraduate degree may not seem much. For me I thank God for everything I have be it big or small. Peeps value masters or doctorate degrees but the thing is you can get there without this bachelor’s degree that you contempt. So congratulations!

So I arrived at Kesses bubbling with lots of excitement. I went to the faculty to collect the academic attire and invitation cards to the graduation parlor but shock on me when I was issued with an oversized old gown with a stamp of Jomo Kenyatta University of Science & Technology with weird colour combinations. So here I was a Moi University graduate in waiting having a gown from JKUAT, what the hell? I was beyond dumbfounded because ideally each faculty should have its own academic attire not to mention that I had paid a whooping Ksh.4500 for the occasion as compared to my other colleagues who had graduated earlier but paid Ksh.3, 500. I asked for the graduation cards but I was told they will be issued on the rehearsal day. The officers in charge refused to exchange the gown and I grudgingly left the school. 

On the rehearsal day, I woke up early to attend the rehearsals just to ensure that I didn’t mess up the pattern during the D day. It was during this time that we took the opportunity to take class photos since during the graduation ceremony; it would be difficult to get hold of the classmates. The session was hurriedly done; I barely heard anything save for how the names will be called out. There was no important information disseminated, despite the stern notice requiring everyone to attend; it was all hot air. On running back to the faculty to collect the cards, I was informed that the cards were no longer available and the last batch had just been issued out. The signs were clear on the walls that the much awaited day was going to be epic disappointment; old, oversized and weirdo colored gown from JKUAT and missing the invitations cards was just the beginning of blockbuster gone wrong.

On the D day; graduation day, 7:30am I was already on my sit marked with my three names waiting for the ceremony to kick off. Unfortunately, the rain decided to spoil the event but not entirely. My sit was rained on and the black shoes that were once shinning and could act as a mirror were now all covered in mad aaagr! To my utter shock we missed the graduation booklets which had the names of those graduating. I didn’t know my division or grade if you like. Though, I knew the there was no first class honours given that some bugger had tampered with results in the name of moderation. I got a clue of my classification from my chair. Meanwhile, the parents had no chairs to sit and witness their children being conferred with the various degrees. I must admit that, it was quite a relief as my parents were saved from the humiliation of standing in the drizzling rain. The pavilion was thronged anyway so maybe it was a blessing in disguise for me missing out the cards.

The event was to begin at 8am but being African timers it began at 9am with so many boring speeches. In my mind, I thought it was a day to celebrate our ‘little achievement’ not listening to lullaby speeches which were not helping us. We were leaving the God forsaken institution anyway; an institution rigged with tribalism, incompetence and power struggles which will soon see it going under.  With the old dons insisting to continue reading the not so important speeches, the granduands decided to go for photo-shooting session. The graduation ceremony was now chaotic; it was now like a market place. I could not clearly hear the boring speeches anyway given the university decided to use a public address system bonoko. This, however, got me worried since I would not hear my name being called out. Going on, they started calling out doctorate graduates whose names were called in full plus their thesis titles. They were quite a number so I dashed to photo session again as the doctorate peeps heads were being massaged by the Chancellor and being worn some funny looking cap.

After the doctorate and masters peeps were done with, it was our turn for us to be called out though just one name, it was better than not being mentioned at all. So when they started the undergraduate list, I was all smiles waiting for the name OSOMBAH to be called out. Little did I know that they were not calling out names but it was now conferment of degrees en masse! They were like “First class honours madam chancellor we have none, second class honours upper division we have 100, second class lower division we had 20 so on and so forth.” What the hell? I couldn’t believe the events that were now unfolding. Now that was not graduation. It was shameful given that we had invited our family and friends to witness the occasion as our names were being called out. We had also paid handsomely for the ceremony so it was within our right for us to be offered the service in whole and with respect alah! But then again it was Moi University, anything could happen and it happened.

With names not being called out, graduates walked out in protest leaving the venue virtually empty. It was needless to sit there. I waited for a while hoping that it was some kind of a mistake and that it would be corrected but my hopes were dashed when they did that to 3 faculties. I joined my colleagues in walking away. After one hour of locating my family, I finally found them. My mum asked “why is your gown having a Jomo Kenyatta University logo?’ Before I could respond she busts into laughter. “Where is the graduation booklet”, my dad shouted amidst gift handing ceremony, (those shiny things which most graduates loathe) being worn on my neck. I told him the booklets were not enough. He said that was the worst graduation he had ever attended. He could not confirm whether I had actually graduated since anyone could put on the gowns. Maybe I could be tricking them but that was not the case, I am not that kind of person though.  And as they say the rest is history. I left MU very disappointed.