Transiting from campus is not very certain for most people these days. As final year students leave schools, they have a mixture of ambitions and anxieties. Interestingly, every person takes a path so different from their counterparts. Some find their way into jobs and internships that are high profile and pick pace swiftly in life. Others find a strong footing in ministry and missions work and have a tremendous impact on the lives of other people. Others find better to pursue further education immediately after graduating to increase their knowledge and become authorities in different fields of research. Lately, a rising number of graduates employ their skills, talents and their endowment to pursue businesses of various natures.
Several fresh graduates have unfortunately been frustrated by the systems. To their dismay, what looked like promises of hope have become sources of discouragements. The experiences range from retrenchment, broken promises, undermining conditions, overwhelming expectations, or many other things that can warrant frustrations. The result has been depressed fresh graduates who are vulnerable to irrational reactions.
The pressure of ‘making it’ has not been evitable for many. Unspoken expectations of the families and friends especially those who were the first to experience university can push one to think they have disappointed them. Some feel ashamed to go back to their community ’empty-handed’. They end up pushing themselves hard, to do some unlikely things to win the approval of the community.
To those whose faith is in the Lord, the experiences that add and remove money from one’s reach don’t define them. There are many stories of people participating in the greater needs of society, regardless of their positions. There have been personal and group initiatives to enrich the society by many fresh graduates like volunteering to teach, leading youth groups, forming Bible study groups and helping them run, helping to create professional groups or offer pro-bono services, and many other things. There are countless opportunities for fresh graduates to participate in the life enrichment of themselves and others.
We all have different narratives because God works in our lives differently. If you managed to secure a job either immediately or after a few months of search, you have enough you need for life at this time, we thank God for this gift. My appeal to you would be to reach out to one who is still tracing their path. You can pray for your friends, share job opportunities, go out of your way and host another or even send airtime to another. Consider having meetups to just find out how another is doing. Like James would say, when a brother or sister is without clothing or lacks enough food for each day, do what is necessary for them at that time. Don’t just tell them to go in peace and that the Lord would bless them.
Finally, whether you have settled in a well-paying job or are still navigating through the hustles of life, we bless the Lord for you because it is He who sustains us. Whether you are paying rent or still living with your parents, we thank God for putting a roof above you. In any situation you are in, take that leap of faith and praise God in the storm. Move-in with a trustable friend or an aunt, take risks and be open to opportunities. Go out and whatever your hands find to do, do it with all your heart and strength as if unto the Lord.
From the FOCUS Kenya family, we pray that you will fight the good fight of faith and take hold of the eternal life to which you were called to.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
The reality of a finalist
Many finalists grapple with the issue of uncertainty; where and how to settle after campus and securing a job so as to attain stability in life. It is never easy as testified by many and during my last semester, in 2017, I wondered whether I would give the same testimony. Did I have everything figured out? Perhaps, but then God had a totally different plan for me altogether. He called me to ministry. I joined the Short Term Experience in Ministry (STEM), internship program by FOCUS Kenya. I got to learn quite a lot through mentorship in STEM. I acquired, among many, Biblical Interpretation skills, sermon making, training skills and I experienced growth in my interpersonal and social skills. I as well discovered abilities that were seemingly hidden. My entire value system was changed. The STEM experience is one of a kind and I count myself the privilege to have gone through it.
One of my convictions for joining ministry was the fact that I knew we are co-workers with God in His great mission of restoring humanity back to himself. Through Matthew 28:19, I learnt of this amazing assignment given to us by Christ and that He is with us till the end of age. This assured me of God’s presence as I ventured into His service.
Making the decision
It is a question of what would help one decide whether to join “full time ministry” such as FOCUS or serve God in the market place. Just like any other major decision in one’s life, it may not be a straight jacket process. Of course you need to have learnt the art of listening and hearing God. Eli was more familiar with God’s voice in comparison to Samuel, when he heard God for the first time (1 Samuel 3). As you prayerfully consider the invitation to join any ministry, there are critical questions to think about: Is this the direction God is leading you to? Is it just for our personal satisfaction and pride? Is it out of peer pressure or trying to impress someone? If there were other openings, would I still choose ministry? God alone can make things clearer. But also, consider mentorship from a mature Christian for more illumination on the area. We also need to question our motivation. I am reminded of the words of Hudson Taylor in a prayer he made after he got born again “Dear God please give me some work to do for you, as an outlet for my love”. It is on this evening as he fellowshipped with the Lord that he knew God had called him to China to be a missionary. He experienced this unmistakable awareness that convinced him that indeed it was his love for God that motivated him into missionary assignment.
The experience in STEM was very demanding. You are always in service of other people. Subjectively, I think if one is not careful about intentionally growing in their spiritual walk with the Lord, they can easily get drained. I thought simply because I was in a religious environment, automatically, I would grow spiritually. It was not the case. It requires a balance and intentionality.
We all are full time ministers
STEM is a one year program so my term ended on 28th of July 2018. It is almost a year now since convocation yet I still feel like a STEM staff. I get students calling for my attention invitations to speaking engagements. I still have a burden for the young people; to pray and walk with them. In my new environment, I feel burdened to let the word of God known to my colleagues. I have easily been spotted to still serve in FOCUS as an Associate through ministry engagements and other students. I am convinced that it neither matters where the serving place is nor does one need to be a full time minister. Market place evangelism has proven to be an area in ministry that all Christian workers need to embrace and act upon. I am persuaded that we can preach the gospel and actively serve God even outside the “full time” ministry arenas.
Conclusion Indeed, STEM was not just another year I had to live by so that I can move on with my life. It was an equipping session that I needed to go through to live out my life as a Christian. Exposure to the short-term missions, and ministry opportunities should help us carry out the mandate that Christ gave us all, effectively; to go make disciples.
By Jacob Mugendi
At some point in campus/college, especially during your final months or semesters, you will need to start planning for life after school. It is a joy to finish and look forward to graduation, but there are also many moving parts involved that can rob you the joy of completing your studies. As you anticipate a life without assignments, CATs and Exams set by the devil himself, you also realize that it will be a life without HELB and possibly the close social gatherings you have enjoyed. By the way, HELB will still be there, but this time round like Santa Claus turned terrorist, asking you to repay your loan. Blessed is the one without HELB, for they will not be haunted! Sorry, I digressed.
What’s next after campus? I faced this question almost six years ago, and with so many uncertainties, I had to decide what to do next and how to shape my life at least in the short term. What makes this a significant decision in life is that a lot of things change, and your life will be altered significantly from how you have lived in the last 20 years. Some of the major changes to expect include:
- The increased cost of living, in terms of housing, food, travel, etc.
- Decreased support from the people you depended on.
- Increased expectations
- Finding a job in a jobless economy.
- Transition to a different town/location, new community, and friends, or a new Church.
- Another 300 challenges which I have no space to mention
One of these challenges is finding a job, and I would want to talk about it in the hope that I will help someone make the right decision. While in school, we work hard in the hope that we will land on a good job and possibly occupy the corner office. Even those who do not venture into employment hope to be successful as entrepreneurs. How can we make this a reality?
The reality of the job environment today
Once upon a time, there was some
Things have changed
Today, your career is probably going to take a lot of twists and turns. You’ll work, change jobs, tarmac, get a side hustle and a main hustle, become an employer, an employee, consultant… etc. With the exception of a few people whose career path will look like the straight path shown below, most of them will have a twisted, convoluted and mixed up career path as shown
With this in mind, how can one ensure that their career kicks off well? Jobs need experience, and experience needs jobs. This cyclic loop can keep you jobless forever. Some people are also not sure which job they want to do, and others are keen on changing their careers altogether. The other problem comes when you send hundreds of CVs and receive neither response nor regret. Other times you attend so many interviews that you start doubting your purpose in life because some do not even bother to send a regret. With such challenges, here are three considerations that will help you get relevant experience to land on the job of your choice in the long run.
Internships are loved and hated at the same time, majorly because you can easily get yourself one, and also because most of them do not pay. However, internships are one of the best ways to gain some experience in a specific field.
Internships give real time experience and exposure and work best if you are targeting to intern in small organizations as opposed to big corporates. This is because, in small firms, you are likely to be given more duties and responsibilities, as opposed to big corporates. In our start-up, an intern will get more experience and exposure in three months as a system administrator than they can get if they worked in the big Kenyan companies for one year. This is because we give you as much work as we give a senior system administrator, and you will have the guidance of the senior admin seated next to you all the time.
For networks, you are likely to get an internship through referral, because many times these opportunities may not be advertised. If you know someone in an organization or business that is doing what you want to do, that will be an ideal place for you. Consider cold applications to any firm you know, and also look out for advertisements.(more…)
Joining the university, as exciting as it is, can be very draining especially if one has no one holding their hand. On one end there is the feeling of ‘rushing’ the days so that one finds themselves in this highest institution of learning in the world, while on the other, uncertainties arise of exactly how life is going to turn out; mixed emotions!
I always looked forward to the time I would join the university. “Hadn’t all my teachers in high school told me that I was a university material?” I would at times contemplate. Well, they exuded confidence, and I had to live up to that, at the very least. I toiled, prayed, carefully sat my exams and finally the results were out. Things seemed to have run pretty fast since it was not long before the Joint Admissions Board (J.A.B), now Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS) notified me of my admission to the university. I was elated. (more…)
In the past decade, 1st of March would find most of the public university students revising for their end-of-second-semester exams. Soon after, the first year students would enjoy a four months’ recess while the senior students would be busy in their industrial attachment. Such stories sound like old tales to the current crop of varsity learners. For two years in a row, the university students have been subjected hugely to disrupted learning. Consequently, students on campus have been like sheep without a shepherd because of the ongoing University Lecturers’ strike. Cumulatively, University learning halted for 142 days and counting for the past one and half years.
It is now a blame game between the government and the dons. As they say, when two bulls fight, it is the grass that suffers. In the case of the perpetual lecturers’ strikes, the university students have become the highest casualties. Their agony ranges from uncertainty, fear, financial strain, emotional torture, to despair. The parents and guardians of these students bear the pain and the painful effects as well.
According to an online survey conducted among students in Fellowship of Christian Unions with a few outliers who are likely to complete a four-year course in six or seven years, nearly half of the students will complete their university education at least a year later than the anticipated time.
The implications of these strikes are graver than the face value effects frequently discussed on the media. To begin with, many students have expressed fear on when they will ever complete school. Most of the universities so far have never issued memos for closing the universities, even when learning is not happening. This makes the students be in conflict whether to go home or stay on campus. Therefore, students have been forced to spend “money for upkeep in school without any serious learning going on. The assumption is that students are in session!” laments a student at Moi University College of Health Science. His pain is shared across the board by the university students. The confusion among students is compounded by misrepresentation of the reality. For example, recently, a memo was issued by the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (Main Campus), informing the students that lectures were to resume on Monday 16th April 2018. Some of the students who had traveled home had to come back to the university only to find the issue of strike fully unresolved.
The stress levels as a result of these uncertainties are on the rise. Many students live on the little pocket money provided by their parents or guardians. Others hardly have enough resources for the semester, let alone paying for an extra month beyond the semester. A number of the students have admitted undergoing psychological torture: “It is frustrating, being that it is our final year of school and now it might not even be. I wonder what my purpose is if I can’t even finish school and graduate in time and start pursuing my dreams!” a bewildered student at the University of Nairobi wonders. To this end, besides the infamous “return-to-work formula” UASU should agitate for a strengthened counseling department in the Universities to debrief the students when normalcy is resumed. This article may not highlight some vices resulting from the idle and stressed students, but if the social media is anything to go by, revelry among the students might be the “interim university curriculum.” Once, when some students were interviewed on national television over the issue of strike, many echoed the phrase, “an idle mind is the devil’s workshop”, pointing to the psychological and social implications of such prolonged disruptions. The prolonged strike may lead to production of “half-baked” graduates. Already, there is debate on the quality of our education. The disruptions might as well entrench the claim of minimum standards in implementation of education.
From history, the universities have tended to adopt the crash program to mitigate against time lost due to disruptions. Adopting a crash program by itself flies in the face of certain standards. For example, it downplays the ideals in learning with regard to contact hours, learning activities, assignments, and research. Each learning activity is supposed to build upon another within a specified period. When the learning momentum is interfered with, the desired learning goal is distorted.
Many students interviewed agree that it is always challenging to gain momentum once the learning tempo has been slowed down. Unfortunately, under the prevailing circumstances, the lecturers and the students alike will be concerned about passing the exams more than anything else. At times lecturers have casually responded to students concerns over uncovered syllabi with “do not worry about that, it won’t be covered in the exams” attitude. Those running photocopying businesses are likely to enjoy a boom, thanks to the many handouts and past papers likely to be recommended by the lecturers. With that kind of teaching, we are not likely to restore confidence in our education.
Economically, we shall never recover the loss. “The strike is a waste of time. For example, some students have other siblings still in primary or secondary school and the parents have always kept in mind the day their son or daughter would graduate to give way for the young ones, but due to the strike, the time increases,” a student from Moi University Annex narrates. Students could have lost career opportunities such as scholarships, internships, industrial attachments, and possible employment.
Resources have been wasted as a result of the strikes. Let us make some reserved estimation of house rent and food that has gone to waste. In 2017 and 2018 alone, cumulatively, at least four months have been lost. The average expenditure for a student on rent, food and upkeep are Ksh. 7000-10000. Considering the current university population of at least 500, 000 students, approximately, Ksh. 14-20 Billion has gone to waste on rent and food alone; money enough to build 60 of the just-completed Ultra-Modern Eye and Dental Centre at Tenwek Hospital. Or better still money enough to pay the lecturers and have change!
It is unfair for the students and parents when the dons will go smiling all the way to the bank yet no one is talking about compensating the other affected stakeholders. Of course, it is not possible to recover time lost; time cannot be renewed unless NATO discovers a way to rotate the earth anti-clockwise to reverse time. Extending the semester’s dates is not recovering the time lost. That is why we need to move away from the industrial strikes; they only lead to unrecoverable losses. Could it be time we went the United Kingdom way, where University Students Union Leaders demanded compensation for the wasted resources?(https://www.theguardian.com/higher-education-network/2018/feb/07/students-demand-compensation-from-universities-over-lecturer-strikes).
Luckily, some students have taken advantage of the time to develop in other skills. Some have enrolled in short courses while others have considered part-time jobs. A number of them are enjoying quality time with their parents and friends. A few are taking a breather from the otherwise busy academic schedule to read other materials other than academically related work. However, these are the minority of the student’s population.
Business cannot be as usual when learning is paralyzed in our institutions of higher learning. This could be the surest way of destroying Kenya. If a lasting solution is not found, we are in for trouble. More stray surgeries are on the way; and more buildings and bridges are yet to collapse if a solution is not found soon. Let us arrest the situation before we get to the point of no return. The government together with UASU must listen and act. Everyone must rise towards finding a lasting solution because the effects though invisible now, will affect everyone.
By Anthony Mjomba Mombo: A student at Kenyatta University Main Campus
Ezra 2016/2017 has come at such an appointed season in Kenya even as we are feeling the heat in a political season in our country Kenya. It is with certainty that this is ordained time……for the Spirit of the Lord is upon me for He anointed me to……do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with your God. Having delegates from different parts of Kenya not forgetting the international scholars who pilgrim from their countries to here, give me a glimpse of the plan God has for our country. The strategic position of the university Christian students is meant to bring hope in all disillusionment we have and are experiencing today from leadership institutions in Kenya.
Looking at this elephant in the room reminds me of a writer who once said I may not stop the birds from flying above my head but I can stop them from building nest on my head. So, it is really wrong for us to die silently like sheep yet we know the true which it will only benefit when it has been spoken.
Looking at Micah who confronts the injustices in his society makes me draw lessons for which any delegate must surmount to be counted.
One is ones’ character. One of writers wrote `when wealth is lost nothing is lost, when health something is lost but when character is lost everything is lost`. Jesus said… you shall know them by their fruit. ` The three young men who stood their ground and did not eat defiled food nor did they bow to other gods are good examples of men of character. All this as Mr. Simon taught in the seminar on Holy Spirit are the outcome of persistent walk of obedience and submission on Him.
Second is counting the cost. It is out of this that we can match the Spartan warriors who either come back with the shield or on the shield. Let us prepare for situations like those for John the Baptist who was detained for speaking the truth and faced the gallons later on. Like Moses who choose to identify with his own Hebrews and not pharaohs’ even if it meant exile. As you do that look beyond counting the cost, there lies hope for seven areas of influence in Kenyan. Politics, religion, education, media, family, entertainment and judiciary shall be rescued from the hand of the slayer.
Finally, don’t be drank of the position and forget God. Yes, like Uzziah who was lifted by God in the beginning of his reigned but he abandoned Him was no more to be seen. You shall be accountable at the end.
By Gideon Lyomu: A student at Kenyatta University, Main Campus
Pilgrims on a journey to a great destiny, whose good descriptions we cannot exhaust. This is a short description of the Christians. On a journey, which like that through a thick forest is full of uncertainties. But why uncertainties? Because there are things we encounter each time a day dawns and before the sun sets,its indeed a lot. Encounters that move us to tears, fear despair and even try so much to kill our hope.
The interesting part of it is that though we are faced with uncertainties, our journey is a different one since there’s always hope. Hope of light no matter how great the darkness may be. But as said earlier, what grieves much is that this hope faces much opposition and is always at the verge of being destroyed.
Though we look up to our destiny; heaven, we can’t ignore the fact that there’s a land where we are sojourners and this is our nation, or country to say.
But our place of sojourn has been turned into a place of deep sorrow, sorrow as see our nation go up in flames of corruption, tribalism, injustice. The list is endless and the smoke that rises form this is so great. Great to behold! Innocent lives are destroyed, those who stand for justice are executed and the doers do it in impunity.
That which we held to as normal has been eroded and new normal has cropped in. Corruption is now the new normal, the order if the day, a language in every place. Sexual immorality too, land grabbing, exam irregularities,injustice, inauthentic leadership, industrial boycotts from one sector to another and from time to time, tribalism and what surprises, in the house of God, gospel for money, faking of miracles and much more. This is surprising because those who ought to the light of the world have confirmed to the darkness and rottenness. All these is what one encounters as you watch news on television, listen to news on radio or even read newspapers. As we encounter them, a major question crosses our minds every moment: Is there hope that this will come to an end one day? Is there hope for a better nation and a better life,? From this then rises another major one; Are there an answers to these questions? Definitely, there is. And the answer is: yes, there is one.
In the bible, as we go through the book of Micah, we find that the same situation we are encountering prevailed at that time and God works His judgment upon the people due to their sin but towards the end of the book, we see another face of God. This is the face of love, mercy and readiness to forgive. We have to agree that if at all we want to fight against the prevalent social evils and win, there’s a weapon we must never put down. This is HOPE. Take note that I said, fighting. This is because it is not just about sitting down, wailing and waiting upon God to come but RISING TO ACTION. Clearly speak of the evils to those who are doing them and confidently confront it.
In the midst of all voices that are ever rising, many of which are discouraging, there is a voice; that of our Almighty God which whispers to our ears, “THERE IS HOPE” But only if we cry to our God, trust in Him and act according to His desire will we receive His restoration. No matter how loud other voices may sound, we ought to turn our attention to this small still voice, to hold on to it. As we hold to it, we shouldn’t forget to firmly stand against these evil even if it will cost our lives. But since it is for the a just reason, it isn’t a loss but great gain, for if we sit down and silently watch the evil continue, great is the punishment that awaits us, both who are doing evil and the righteous. The only voice by which we are assured of a better life. THE VOICE OF OUR GOD… THE VOICE OF HOPE.