Course Stereotypes

This post may be long. I suggest you get yourself a cup of tea and settle in. It’s also the last in this week I shall be doing exams. This is the stretch from the main road to school, where cops lined up to ‘welcome’ us when we reported back after the strike.

Part I

I wouldn’t have written this if my phone hadn’t refused being charged, and since I had no budgetary allocation for a new one, I decided to see the ka-local repair guy downstairs.

What’s wrong with it?” I asked after I’d explained how I charged it all night and it still wasn’t getting full.

Hii inadrain moto. He said rather importantly. (It’s draining the power.) Hmmm..I suppose that makes sense.

Kwa nini?” Smart ass me deiced to continue.

Ni regulator imeharibika. Si ati unaweza elewa hiyo ni nini. Hata huwezi kujua regulator ni nini.” (it’s the regulator but it is not like you can understand what it is.”

Now I know I wasn’t looking my smartest most. After all, the repair shop is just downstairs. Perhaps he thought am a househelp; I was having a bad hair day. But this guy was arrogant and dismissive. I think the physics I have learnt so far can help me understand what a regulator is; except why would I want to? I can’t know all the hardware and wiring behind every gadget I own, can I?

This reminded me of my first year days. Those days, we were polite and welcoming, even to these groups of guys who thought they’d “ponyoka with a fresher.

Caro ako hii room?” They’d ask and before you can say no, there is no Caro in this room, they’ve already sat and made themselves comfortable.

“If there is no Caro in this room, si basi you tell us your names?”

As I said, we were polite, probably bored too so we’d grant them audience.

“What course do you do?”

“Guess…” These guesses have elicited strange answers.

“Um..let’s see, Food Science?”

“No, why?”

“It’s just that most chicks do Food Science. How”


“BCom?” (Bachelor of Commerce)


“Post harvest technology?”

“There is a course like that? No..continue guessing..”

“What else? Si you just tell me?”

“Those aren’t the only courses in this campus. There is engineering, computers, IT….”

“Hizo hapana. They are too hard and very few chicks who do them.”

Meaning? It’s too hard for me? So I answered…

“I actually do computer science.”


“Yeah, why don’t you believe it?”

“You don’t look…..” am sure he was going to say bright. But the look on my face must have made him complete with “….the type.”

I guessed it was time to get myself a geeky look, if I looked not-so-smart. How do smart people look? was time to get my myopic self specs, though ironically, my parents thought I wanted glasses just to look cool.

“I don’t understand, why you? I have perfect sight. Your mum has perfect sight. No one in the family wears glasses.” My dad complained when I told him I was writing notes from my desk-mates because couldn’t see the board. He insisted I get checked at the hospital, and not those spectacles shops. I must admit he had a point. You only get one check at those shops. You have at least 5 checks at the eye hospital. Advice: carry a novel because those queues are long. I remember getting so engrossed I never heard my name being called. But I think it was partly due to the way my name was being pronounced; ch is mistaken for sh or vice-versa, r’s interchanged with l’s etc….

Back to my story. With my glasses and serious look, I thought I’d put it all behind me. This other day, am walking to class with an acquaintance who does engineering and he’s saying…

“Am headed for a Calculus class. Not that I expect you to know about Calculus.”

“Actually I do. I did Calculus 1 and 2 last year.”

Not to be deterred, “You must have found them very hard. Now picture Calculus 3.”

I realized he just wanted to prove he was doing hard stuff.

“Yeah…they were quite hard.” I answered. I didn’t add I got A’s in both.

Yet another day after carrying out the experiment in the lab, I was signing out when I got chatting with the lab tech whom I know from church.

“Oh, I didn’t know you do comp science. You must be a tough lady, that’s a tough course. I must say am surprised.”

Part II

Which brings be to course stereotypes here. You see, the ratio of chicks to guys is like 1:6, and the only classes where guys and chicks balance are BCom, Horticulture, Food Science and Technology, IT maybe, Acturial Science? And um….Diploma courses. For instance, we are 9 chicks in a class of 36. So here’s is what someone might think when you mention your course:


No wonder that outfit. BCom chicks are known to dress up on everyday of the week, and freeze-n-shine is their motto. On the coldest days, they’re still in their mini-skirts and halter tops. They are the party animals. They hang out in Studiz (Student’s center), drink even on weekdays and are not thought to be bright, after all, BCom is relatively easy in comparison to engineering. However, they bring the much needed hype in a dull studious campus like ours.


(Nzembi don’t take this to heart…) They think they are cool. They think they do the most important course on earth. It’s not strange to hear them declaring self-importantly, “Am from the studio. Am going to the studio. I was in the studio all night. Studio this, studio that….” Ok, we know you draw in studios, and yes, you are gifted and artistic and important, so you can stop looking down on everyone else. On a lighter note, they are interesting characters, well, most of those I know are, and I wouldn’t mind having my portrait done, one of these fine days….


These guys think their course is the hardest thing since rocket science. And to show their seriousness, they will carry those giant T-squares and wear overalls to a theory class like HIV/AIDS. We do understand these guys have a lot of work, all those drawings and metal work and surveying, but the thing is, others are not doing A,B,C,D…

Horticulture, Food Science, Post Harvest Technology…

I don’t know who still thinks these courses are for chicks. I know you miss those caves. These guys do not study how to cook, but the science behind the plants, the genes, carbons, and all else…however, since people think their courses are easy, they have to prove to others they are not having an easy time. So they go around talking in scientific terms.

Computer Science and Technology

These guys feel good coz they don’t do IT. They will tell you IT is the easier option, because IT has only like one unit of Math. It doesn’t matter if all these guys know is theory and they don’t even know where the switch on button is, or they panic when the screen saver comes on….ok, just punking. They are used to most people thinking “Ms Packages” when they say they are doing CS or others nodding knowingly “Oh..IT”. They can have interesting personalities or be naively charming or irritatingly annoying. They tend to read a lot all the time though, got to maintain the geeky look.

Bachelor of Science, General

These guys are the most hard working. At least most of them anyway. I’ve seen them. In the few shared classes we have, they will come half an hour early, ask and answer questions, and remain behind to ask for extra notes or clarification. Their classes are big, and if they want to specialize in something like Biochem, competition is high. Hence the studious type. But there are some among them who think school is a waste and want a degree in name only. They derive pleasure in missing classes and miss no opportunity to spread the news the many classes missed. They forget when you are in an institution with freedom to skive classes, actually doing that is far from cool.

Did I leave out anyone? Include yourself here and you shall get stereotyped pronto.


18 Responses

  1. you left out biomech and soil, water.. or hat’s under eng, what abou ornamental science?

    Your stereotypes are pretty accurate. a few additions

    Arch- There were naturally the more artistic and the smoother lot too.they have this close knit community, I rmember once there was a class where each of the chick had gone out with at least one class mate.

    Interclass relationships are quite common…

    Science- I remember Bsc guys asking me if I ever reas coz I used to operate on a need to read basis. True about compe in eng the only thing you compete for is the 10k- is it still that btw ama inflation has pushed it up?

    Some things never change..the 10K is still there…

    Eng- you’ve made me remember all the crazy math i did and you know what don’t use most of what I learnt in campo lakini kweli tumetoka mbali.

    B. com wasn’t there yet in my day so I can’t relate. It’s good they came to even out that ratio. Our year was the first to have para and then it was a big thing to have 4 chicks in an eng class, before then 0 was not uncommon

    as i said before, they are a welcome addition…

  2. 1:6 ratio..some things are improving I see… back then it was closer to 1:12 🙂

    if you are a chick, on a brighter note..that means 12 guys out for your attention..

    On the other hand, they haven’t changed much.. that strategy of visiting a fictitious chic, especially in first year’s rooms

    the more things change, the more they remain the same

  3. for those who did not make it into such institutions of highest learning i thoroughly enjoyed this post.

    Well, you missed…

  4. Hey,I did not know that you enjoy the fact that you do not do IT and that you panic when the screen saver comes on,just tell me are you naively charming or irritatingly annoying?Huh?

    Sometimes am naively charming….., though naive is not a word I could describe myself with..

    Those repair guy are the same.They talk like the smartest asses on this planet.’hata huwezi elewa’ is their best phrase.So did the phone work ama you are still mteja?

    It worked, so maybe he did know a thing or two..after all

  5. No offence taken. It’s interesting to see how others think of us (Arch)- But it’s true we are always in the studio… I know the class Gitts is referring to. Pretty interesting.

    Were you in that class? So how many dudes did you date?

    I like Eng dudes though… they are the only ones apart from Arch dudes who have the balls to vybe Arch mamaz!

    Yeah, you Arch chiquittas have attitude….but that is the general talk. So which Eng dude are u going out with? Do tell.. 🙂

  6. haha, u got Calculus A, u must be a geeeeeeek…anyway, am just stereotyping too..reminds me of where i is, we also have a similar tagging biz-nez with me being in the most taken course…pretty interesting too..oh and those who take Comm Dev are called Comm Devils, imagine.

    and those who take construction managements are called conmen…. every university has its own..I suppose it makes life more interesting.

  7. ooooh, we have the same glasses…

    really? am thinking of getting me one of those new stylish frames, can we go on a shopping spree for frames? 😉

    lol… your stereotyping has so amused me. i think its the same all over coz we had the same issue at makerere, there are fewer ladies doing science based courses than men…

    but that doesn’t justify their idiotic replies to when you say the course you are doing… next time you should ‘assure’ that guy by mentioning those A’s

    Next time, I probably wont be listening to what he is saying….

  8. An A in calculus!Bright chics scare me and you are deff scaring me.On my campus IT dudes walkaround with their laptos and act as if its their God Given right to use the Labs.BComm guy always complaining about assignments and presentations.

    Which campus is this?….. don’t worry, you probably wouldn’t think am bright, I’ll act blond and we’ll get along when do I get your contact? 😉

  9. These damn stereotypes have always been there.
    Even during our days – time za Ratemo Michieka!
    I can safely say, however, that they amount to nothing much – ni upuzi tu wa campo.
    I ended up doing very different stuff from the Engineering I did in JKUAT. See
    Dudes, just focus on being good at what you do. You never know what life has in store for you. Your degree is just ONE among MANY ways to get you there.

    I have read your website, I think I want to be a writer, but at the same time, I have a passion for computers….I never worry so much about stereotypes, because I agree with you that the degree is not’s the start of many things.

  10. Lol…that ain’t my class. It was a class 4 years before mine… interestng class it was I must say! Ati attitude? that’s what people think before they get to know us.

    Anything of interest in your class? Yeah, people tend to think like that before they get to know you.

  11. Savvy! I finally got ya link. The quality of writing here is on point. I am impressed. I loved writing too but I guess my style has degenerated with age and lack of enough reading.

    Thanks, but I lost yours….could give me yours again? I can just picture myself navigating through 31337’s blog searching for it….so do me the favour?

    When I was in collee, taking a JKUAT Paraa Degree in IT, we’d tell chix that we were taking AI. They’d ask, “Artificial Insemination?” We’d flash gawky smiles knowing we are about to achieve our motive. “No, Artificial Intelligence, AI” They’d stare with confusedness and we’d stress it, “Expert Systems & Simulations” This would haunt me much much later when I dropped out after 3 semesters and never got to model anything. We however got laid and sorry 4 the stereotyping.

    He he, well, at least you got what your wanted..the stereotyping is ok, for it is better to be silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and leave no doubt

    I loved your writings and will definitely be a regular

    You are welcome.

  12. i hate stereotypes, and that engineering guy, how could he even ask make those comments, like women cant do calculus?

    in my former campus- daystar, i never noticed those kinda stereotypes, maybe because most courses were balanced out. then again we didnt have science degrees there except comp science

    lucky you..but then all my friends say there are more chicks there..when guys form this campus visit daystar..they get jazzed seeing chicks all over campus..

    but cares, degrees mean nothing when you are out here, i assure you. i did b.comm accounting ( i asssure you i did not drink weekdyas or wear halter tops and minis though. lol!) , but i am interested in a totally different careeer!

    I guess that is true..people usually end up miles from where they started. I wonder what I will become…hmmm..

  13. ¨They tend to read a lot all the time though, got to maintain the geeky look.¨ thats not true about CT n CS guys now savvy i was in one of the two not so long ago and i can say i played some mad pool watched all rugby matches n drunk my share while at it even on mondays what did i turn out to be.. to be blogged… and oh are harry and paf still holding it down at studiz..!

    Harry and Paf (I thought it was Puff) are still holding up…not all of them read though, am one of those who are everywhere, though I dont do miniskirts or drink on weekdays. To every rule, there is an exception…


    off to blogroll you, might take sometime though..

  15. you wonder what you’ll become? hmmm, probably some big shot writer!

    by the way, Just tagged you to answer some questions on your blog. Check my post for the questions and instructions

    you can do it after your break

    Big shot writer, that means big bucks, right?..

  16. […] by nzembi on October 7, 2008 A while back Savvy talked about course stereotypes in our campus and I decided to do a piece on us…(Oh by the way she’s also here!) A couple […]

  17. So BBIT guys are a hybrid between IT and Bcom?

    • They are..they form this brand of touchy feel guys who think they are brainier than Bcom because they have some IT in them, but still more stylish than It because they have some Bcom in them.

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