It all feels different now. For the past 3 years my feet have shuffled through these pavements carelessly; noticing nothing, focusing on nothing, except maybe the occasional flamboyantly dressed girl who would walk past me and my friends on our way to class. Now, I notice everything; the leaves falling on the grass lawns on either side of the paved road leading from the main gate; the woman sweeping off the rainwater that has collected at the side of the road; the nivea ad on the clock next to the administration block. I am tempted to stand and read everything on the notice board outside the department offices, despite never paying attention to it in the entire duration of my study.
Just the other day I remember sitting at the graduation square for freshmen orientation. In a few hours, I’ll be sitting in the same graduation square again, only this time I’ll be in an oversized gown, staring with wide eyes at an unknown future. I have grown so much, in such little time. Time just flew by too quickly. In my head, in imaginary echoes, the words from a John Mayer song repeat themselves.
Stop this train
I wanna get off and go home again
I can’t take the speed it’s moving in
I know I can’t, but honestly
Won’t someone stop this train?
I look at everything with finality; like this is the last time I’ll ever see it. And that makes me miss everything, even mundane things like the attendance sheets we had to sign in class, or the queue at the students’ Finance Office. How strange is it that the thing that repulsed me so much while in school is something I’m beginning to miss?
Even the air smells different now. The bloom of flowers makes the school pavements a beautiful collage of red, yellow and purple. A silent voice questions:
What will you miss most about College?
In first and second year when we lived in the school hostels, we would go to the GK labs at night to download movies and watch YouTube videos because the WiFi there was super fast. Then we’d return to our room and watch horror movies late into the night. I miss those nights the most.
Also, we’d get hungry at the weirdest times. Hunger would find you at 1 a.m and because the tuck shops never seemed to close, we ended up spending so much money on soda and cake. If we saved that money we’d be so rich right now.
I’ll miss hanging with the boys and playing FIFA after class (I was king). Sometimes we just chilled at studeez playing cards or discussing girls (or playing cards while discussing girls). Or we’d have group meetings at one of the green benches for an assignment we’d been given, in which we inevitably ended up discussing girls instead of the actual assignment. Basically spending time with the gang. I did some stupid things, too. I remember during a photography class the lecturer asked me the importance of photography and I told him that in the morning, girls use their phone cameras as mirrors.
Linda Kariuki (Shay):
I’ll really miss my classmates. We had such unity. And the energy; the freedom, and basically just being young. Those years just flew by!
I remember the parties. We had quite some fun, didn’t we?
Hahaha. Yes we did. We did! Like that time when he spoke to a tree while peeing on it, though he’ll utterly deny it if you ask him.
Maybe you’re wondering what I’ll miss most about College?
‘Chapo tatu mandondo’ and Coffee for only 53 bob at the Mess. Oh, how we loved those chapos. We lived for those chapatis!
And because unlike my friends I am a decent human being, and also because I need closure, I cannot just walk away from that relationship of three years without saying farewell. One last meal, for old times’ sake. So on graduation rehearsal day I will walk to the mess one last time to say my goodbyes. To tell those chapos that I miss them so much it hurts and it’s not them, it’s me, it really is. To tell them that I don’t know if I can ever replace what we had and I don’t think lunch will ever be the same again but that is a risk I’ll have to take. That I’m at a point in my life where I need to leave and find my own way and I don’t think our relationship can withstand the pressures of long distance. I want to tell them that I’ll never forget our times together, that they’ll always have a special place in my heart and no other chapos could take that place away.
But then I am sure that the queue at the dining hall will be too freaking long and I am not a very patient man, so I will just leave without looking back because my eyes will be getting foggy, and I will almost feel the wind rubbing its icy hand on the back of my neck and whispering eerily, winter is coming, and I won’t want the chapos to see me like that. And so the chapos of JKUAT will always think I am a jerk.
*Compiled By Jude Mutuma
Now let me pitch in. Its rude to interrupt a man when he’s laying bare his feelings you know. Jude Mutuma, together with his friends, are a few hours away from graduating in the JKUAT 28th Graduation Ceremony. Yet already, the crippling tentacles of nostalgia are latching on to them, especially Jude, from what you’ve just read. Together with Linda Kariuki, David Gambo, and Abdikarim Salat, they’ll be graduating with Bachelors of Science in Mass Communication. Except for Philemon Angwenyi, who pursued B.Sc. Supply Chain Management.
It is said goodbyes hurt the most, especially when the story was not finished. So as much as these promising young minds should be glad they’re done with Campus, I resonate with their bitter-sweet nostalgia. After all, it’s not goodbyes that hurt, but the flashbacks that follow. Having graduated not so long ago from JKUAT and now working here, as I walk around, interacting with people in my quest to tell stories, I sometimes bump on some chapters I never read. Some paths I never took but should have. Words left unsaid, potential goldmines untapped…So get this from a big brother;
Have no regrets. Remember you came, you lived, you grew, and now its time to move on. Cherish the memories, but don’t look back at the pitfalls, for you’re not headed there. But brace yourselves, for as Jude mentioned, winter is coming! But if it’s any consolation, it gets better with time.
May the odds always be rigged in your favour. And may the Force be with you!