School Opens Yet Again

So am down to the last semester of my third year. For some reason, most academic calendars begin in September.

There is not much to say about the beginning of a semester that I did not say about here or here

Anyway, this month my dad begins his Ph.D studies, my mum her masters and my bro will be reporting for his first year in campus.

Spring Break

Well, strictly speaking, one could say we are in the winter season when temperatures are so low we wear sweaters the whole day, but I just like those two words: spring break.

After exams, it’s time for the inter-semester break. I had planned to extend it to about two weeks (it’s actually a 5 day break), but something came up and I will prefer to hang out in school and watch series and countless movies on my laptop.

Here’s to the end of exams.

Thought this might make for interesting viewing.

Thought this might make for interesting viewing.

Types of Lecturers

Perhaps its exam time and am writing my post in form of lecture notes. I read somewhere once that lecturing is the art of transferring notes from the lecturer’s book to the student’s, without passing through the minds of either. I couldn’t agree more. The lecturer has probably taught the same notes for the past 15 years and is now on autopilot. The student just takes the notes and processes them later…during exam time.

The Lazy Lecturer #1
He will appear in class a record 5 times, out of a 26 possible times in scheduled in the timetable. He lets you breeze through the semester, since there is virtually no workload in his unit. You will have around 6 pages of notes for the entire semester. If you are lucky, he might photocopy some notes and give you to study. He usually doesn’t bother to inform you when he is not coming to class, or to give reasons as to why he is missing lessons. He will barely cover his course outline, if he manages to give you one.

You can miss his classes knowing there is not much you will miss anyway because he will come late and leave early. He could stay for 30 minutes for a 3 hour lecture. He will give you one-in-two CAT instead of the usual 2 CATs required, and no assignments. If he does mark the CATs (which he doesn’t most likely), you will never see any marked test results. Since the CAT is from his few notes which you know like the back of your hand, you expect to get at least 27/30 of the marks.

His exams? You will be smiling all through because he will most likely take the previous year’s paper and photocopy it, changing only the year.

He is both a blessing and a curse because though you expect to get 98% since his paper is a walkover, you will be shocked to find a C in the result slip. Reason? He most likely guessed the grades, so you have a handful of As, a few Bs and everyone else gets Cs. The reason he is a blessing is for those who never attended class. As long as you signed that you attended the exam, you will get a C and above. He can’t guess Ds because someone might be compelled to demand a remarking and he will be discovered with the unmarked or barely marked papers. This has actually happened to me, maybe am living in denial but there is just no other way to explain the Cs in my transcript. The lecturers fell in this category. I remember one in which the lecturer repeated the CAT questions in the exam, and I was shocked at the C in my transcript.

Lazy Lecturer #2

This lecturer is not any better than lazy lecturer #1. He may come more or less the same number of times. He however, tends to have some semblance of a conscience so he will give you various excuses as to why he can’t come, from invigilating exams at another center, to travelling to Nakuru for a seminar, to a sick wife. He will call the class rep (who’s been me for the 3rd year running) promising to send notes. He will then proceed to email an apology saying he forgot the text book from which he was extracting notes. The following week, probably wondering what excuse to give this time, he will e-mail an apology and some power point slides from the University of Hong Kong Baptist University. I kid you not. Of course they may deviate far from the course outline but generally, there are some units that are universal. I wonder why he can’t prepare notes and put them up so that some lazy lecturer from Norway can too, download his notes. We don’t always have to be the downloaders.

He will give you one CAT and one assignment but if they are marked, it’s your guess or mine. Towards the end of the semester, he will notice you have not covered the syllabus so he will promise to send notes only for him to send revision questions to guide you.

The worst thing about it is he won’t even know what questions are set because he might not bother setting his own paper. So during the exam, you may find a paper with the same unit name but the instead of a Bachelor of Computer Science, you have a paper written Bachelor of Architecture. He will tell you not to worry about the title but just proceed with the paper. And the contents of the paper? Nothing in his notes makes an appearance, and none of the revision-guidance questions appears even in its most twisted form. Obviously, he took another course’s paper and photocopied, not even bothering to change the name.
You will leave the paper praying you do not get a supplementary. You just hope for about 41% so you can get your D. However, you could be pleasantry surprised that you got an A, or B or perhaps you fell in the C category during the guesswork. You count your blessings because had he marked, you could be having a D or a fail (supplementary).

You never have to worry about missing his classes because his attendance is not regular and he probably does not even know how many students are taking his class.

Normal Lecturer

This could be the best lecturer. He is your typical trying to give an education kind of lecturer but tired of the pretense. So he will attend his classes, cover the course outline, and make an effort to know his students depending on the number in class. He will not give you extra references or make you work harder than necessary. He will attend about 90% of the classes, set two CATs and mark them, give you one assignment and grade it. He will set an exam that is within the course outline.

You do not want to miss his classes because he tends to set exams from his notes, and examples. So you have to understand them. He will come 30 minutes late for a 3 hour lecturer, teach for one hour and tell you stories the remaining time. He will then leave before his 3 hours are up. The stories are mostly his opinions on modern sexuality (with any boy with braided hair being ridiculed), modern politics, university politics, dry humour, stories of his university days and how he met his wife.

So his lessons are interesting. We once had this HIV lecturer( he is actually a zoologist) who told us how they used to watch porn in campus hostels in UoN, and how they used to leave with hands in their pockets after the movie. Then there is a time they stoned the cars of the sugar daddies who were poaching their girlfriends. What about his assignments? He told us to draw the male and female reproduction organs. If you drew a benign diagram of ovaries and a uterus, you got a 7 or a 6/10. If you went ahead and drew the externals, you got your 9 marks. He was a perv right there…but he was fair. He marked his CATs and returned them, and if you worked hard for you A in HIV, then you’ll get it. Or your C or you actually fail if you think the unit is a joke, but you have to pass it if you intend to graduate.

There was also this lecturer who was just sweet. She was a small woman who talked softly and had to go away on maternity leave halfway through the semester. You could pass her CATs and exams if you paid attention. She looked like one of those people with no mean bone in her body. A classmate called said she was chewable in a sweet but non-sexual kind of way. He was a way with words. He once said this hardworking female lecturer who used to feel sweet for us that she looked like she had her groove on. In a sexual way this time.

Hard Working Lecturer #1

He wants to seem hard working but eventually you get to see through him. He will come to class on time, leave after the required time and his attendance is almost 100%. He will make you work so hard, you will wonder what is the scope of his course. Computer studies can be very wide, and if he does not narrow down the scope, you will find yourself with tens of e-books and examples to code.

Problem is, you eventually figure out he too does not understand half the stuff he is teaching. At first you think he is so good that he can’t find simpler terms to explain the work but it turns out he is just as clueless because all he is trying to do is make an impression. You will do at least two CATs and the required assignments, attend his classes because he probably knows everyone in class, but you might not see the results of these CATs either.

Revision for his exams is a nightmare. There is just too much and because virtually everyone postpones their revision to the last possible minute, there is a panic mode in the air. His papers will then cover just the part of your revision that you skipped. When the results come back and you expect your C, you get an A. Another person who expected an A because he covered the entire scope during revision will find himself with a C. We had this lecturer once in first whom we concluded he probably guessed the grades. Coincidentally, all the chicks in class got As, except two who have this don’t-care-can’t-you-see-am-the best-thing-to-mankind-since-sliced-bread kind of attitude. It helps to be respectful even when he does not seem to have direction in his teaching.

Hard working Lecturer #2

This is the true nightmare of any student. Any lazy student for that matter. Some students love learning and therefore will like this teacher. He will make you have a deeper understand of his unit. He/she will come in time, will leave no earlier than the stipulated time. He will be teaching the entire time, which is a problem for anyone with a limited attention span.

If you miss his classes, you better have a good reason. He will give you a number of assignments that he will mark. He will also give you enough practical work to keep you glued to your computer even after class is over, or stay in the lab with voltmeters and wires trying to discover exactly how computers transmit electric signals. He will give you 3 CATS, mark them, find the average and let you know exactly what you have out of the 30% that the CATS and assignments contribute to your final grade.

Most of them are humourless. They don’t take it kindly when your phone rings in class. They take no excuses for you coming late or missing CATs or lessons. They make you sign the attendance list before and after the lesson, so there is no sneaking out when he gives you a five minute break after one and a half hours. You will finish this unit but you never forget the concepts that your learnt.

The exam paper is fair, tough but doable. If you worked hard for your marks, you will pass. In short, you get the grade that you expected. Unless for some reason, the lecturer does not do the marking.

In short, exams can be unfair, or the marking of them. For you to pass well, you must really work hard to get high marks in the As you deserve, so that they make up for the Cs that you will be most certainly be guessed for.

Now off to read for the last two remaining papers.

Rosemary

Not for the first time in my life, have I run out of inspiration on what to write. Generally, my writing does not come by me thinking about it. It just happens. Or it doesn’t. Like now it’s just happening.

Rosemary is pregnant. Which is not news anyway, there has been an outburst in the increase in the number of pregnancies in campus right now. The reasons could vary, from trapping the dude, to getting a cute kid while you are dating that pointee boyfriend, to stability or family since some are in the final year and want to start families by the time they are done with campus. Or maybe it was just an accident. It doesn’t matter, Rosie’s pregnancy is not really the major part of this story.

I don’t remember when I first knew her. I mean I’ve always seen her around. This semester, she was definitely somewhere in my radar. She is really bossy and there is no way you are going to ignore someone opinionated like that. She makes her friends cook for her, with something like, “si mnipikie uji.” This girl simply issues commands and you obey them. Very authoritative.

I recall her telling us how she had slapped this boy whom they were jostling with in the queue. The beginning of each semester is characterized by these long orderly queues which quickly turn into a nightmare of jostling as all pretense of order is discarded with patience running thin. So this guy stepped on her and refused to apologize. She says she gave him two hot slaps and would have fought him if he had dared hit back. You don’t want to mess with her, trust me. Her way of resolving conflicts involves shouting you down or slapping you around.

She does not eat vegetables. Or rice. She suffers from some condition where she has to eat ‘matumbo’ on a (almost) daily basis. She cooks in partnership with her friends (you know, where you jointly buy the food and then take turns cooking it.) However, she does very little cooking and no cleaning up at all. I don’t know how her friends put up with her.

I came to learn that even from home, everyone looks up to her to solve their problems. Like there is this time her dad had taken the cows to graze somewhere near the neighbour’s piece of land. On one hand, we have cows, on the other, the neighbour’s crops. The inevitable happened. The neighbour, a woman who likes removing her clothes during arguments, stripped down while arguing with the father. The woman’s sons thought something bad was going down and beat Rosie’s dad. Following the story so far?

Apparently, the dad did not want Rosie to be called for fear of what she would do. Rosie’s sisters finally called her and that was the conversation I caught her having. Words like P3 forms were thrown in among police statements and such like. She then hung up and called her cop friends, and within minutes, the woman’s sons were in custody. Now see why you should not mess up with her?

She has a number of boyfriends. There is one whose work is to always bring fish. She once told him, “Don’t even bother coming back if you don’t have fish. And flour. You know I don’t take these normal brands, it must be Jogoo.” Unfortunately for this guy, Rosie actually hates him. She says she can’t stand the smell of him. Perhaps she can only stand the smell of his fish. And don’t ever get her vegetables, she is a non-vegetarian. Or is it anti-vegetarian.

I was a little surprised to learn she is pregnant…shouldn’t she know better? But I came to learn she wanted the pregnancy. She is in her final year and she has timed the pregnancy such that she will give birth soon after her final exams. She scares me a little, am glad the only words we exchange are ‘hi’ and a brief smile when we meet in the corridors.

Just Maybe V- Not an Ending, but a Beginning..

I finally sent the text message.

I had drafted, redrafted, deleted and recovered it before eventually settling on a neutral, “could we talk tonight?”

I waited for it to be delivered. The network has been lousy for a while now, and it takes several attempts to make a phone call and even hours of waiting for a text message to be delivered. Perhaps the receiver’s phone was off… so it was not to be that night.

The accidental meeting in the cafeteria prompted me to write the message. I realized I was not ready to give up what might have been. What if he was genuine? What if this had a different ending? Even the greatest of men do change their minds. Seeing him like that, avoiding catching my eye even when we were seated across each other, well… that is what made me change my mind.

We met later the following day. I told him I had decided to give us a chance. We could take it slow…after all, we are just ordinary people. We agreed the timing was a bit off…it’s exam time and there is hardly time to play hoochy coochy. Actually, hardly time to see each other at all. We’ll see what happens after exam time.

Perhaps it’s the start of something we hadn’t hoped for. Perhaps it’s just the start of a good time. Whatever it is…I am loving every minute of it.

P.S. Am reliably informed kliktcha is turned off…good riddance to bad rubbish.

It's that time of the semester again

Tomorrow, I shall be sitting for my first paper in a series of 8 papers. I don’t have to describe the mood in campus right now, but everyone is wearing their serious faces…

Let’s just hope I won’t be writing such answers

Makes sense?

Makes sense?

Mob Justice

We were walking back to school on a certain night, when we met a large crowd dispersing. I hoped it was not a strike, the situation is volatile right now since it’s almost exam time. Actually, it’s 3 days to start of exams and people are scarcer than ever, in social terms. Guys lock themselves in their rooms or disappear into the library only to reappear at meal times. And they won’t be talking to anybody.

Anyway, after the fear/excitement of a strike had been confirmed to be a false alarm, the next conclusion was a mob justice situation. There have been many like that, though I personally haven’t witnessed any. Someone caught stealing is handed justice right there and then. I think it’s savage and barbaric. For instance, last year, a student was beaten so badly for pocketing a phone. Everyone was just landing blows on him, and whoever tried to help him also got a beating. Eventually, the watchmen rescued him and took him to hospital. He was lucky to have escaped with his life.

Not so lucky is this other guy who was beaten to death this weekend. See what I mean by savage and barbaric? I mean, it’s one thing to punch him in the face, it’s another to carry a piece of metal and repeatedly hammer his head with it. I think his skull was cracked or something. And they did not just stop at metallic pieces of chairs but sticks and stones too. He was caught red handed un-hanging clothes from the men’s lines. Apparently, even the clothes he was wearing were stolen. And so everyone whose clothes had been stolen, or just anyone who felt like beating someone up, chased him, caught up with him and well…

They left him half-dead, is the story I heard. He was taken to hospital but they refused to treat him, saying they do not know him. He was not a student here. While I do not condone theft of any kind, I think guys went too far this time. If only he knew the clothes would cost him his life. He later died after the hospital had refused to treat him.

Seems to me people are getting a taste for violence here. And we say the ancient practices of Roman gladiators was barbaric?

Where was I? Yes..the commotion that night. Asking around, we were told that some guys fought over a chick. The following day, more details emerged. It seems that while this guy and his girl were walking along the paths, another guy eying the chiquitta well..grabbed her ass. The boyfriend did not like this much and turned to defend his lady. I gather he was a small guy and ended up being beaten, but the lady must have loved him more for defending her honor, right? I mean, what did you expect the guy to do, give the grabber the finger and walk off? A punch in the face sounds just right. Now if only he knew kung-fu. The whole school had turned out to witness, and cheer.