Counsel university students on new life

Wednesday March 18 2020

First year students queue for registration at Kisii University on September 6, 2017. When they leave home for university, the students embark on a new journey. PHOTO | BENSON MOMANYI | NATION MEDIA GROUP


Out of 69,151 students who scored C+ in the 2017 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination, 62,851 have been selected to join universities under the government-sponsored programme.

They comprise 36,945 male and 25,906 female students.

High school leavers usually experience a big, unexpected change in the environment when they join university.

When they leave home for university, the students embark on a new journey — one of self-reliance and self-discovery, which largely shapes up their outlook on life in the long run.

Most of them are young and grossly unprepared for the challenges of university life.

They are also naive. Most of them end up being overwhelmed, which results in their taking extra time to adjust to their new life.

University students should be able to prepare themselves, mentally and emotionally, for any problem they they may face.

The first year of university is always extra hard when it comes to adjustment to the new life as the students experience a culture shock because of how different things are compared to home or high school.

Some feel homesick, but that goes away after they eventually communicate with their relatives.

These students were used to intensive studies, going for games and, during their free time, reading story books.

But when they join university, there is a change as they follow the timetable and have more time on their hands.

The dress code is no longer prescribed or even monitored, leading to students dressing in all manner of styles.

Social media platforms also pose a huge problem to these students, often with a lot of influence on them.

Also on the campus, due to the newfound freedom, there are open friendships between students of the opposite sex and no one chaperones them.

These premature romantic relationships have often led to fights, abortions, early marriages, dropouts, invitation to parties, prostitution, drug and substance abuse, joining criminal outfits such as the terrorist group Al-Shabaab, diseases, lack of interest in learning and, sadly, even deaths.

During a television interview at Chuka University, a student revealed that the so-called ‘sponsors’ (sugar daddies) were a threat to the girls’ education.

Universities should contract organisations or individuals who can counsel and sensitise students on morality and the need to recognise and pursue what took them to the university, that is studies, as well as good living and the fear of God.

Parents should also create time off their busy schedule to talk to their children about illicit love affairs, which can turn deadly.

This talk should be done regularly, at least once a month, and peer groups formed to sensitise and talk to fellow students.

The ball is however in the universities’ court for them to create these forums.

Although this will not eradicate the bad behaviour and ills in the institutions, it will help to sensitise students and the university community on the need to safeguard their lives and education.

It will help those who join university with no experience.

Kenya is losing bright students to social problems that can be easily solved.

This sensitisation will ensure the country attains its sustainable development goals in education.

Ms Onjoro, a publisher, author, motivational speaker, educationalist and counsellor, is a PhD student at Mount Kenya University. [email protected]