Completing high school marks the end of four years of hard work, pressure from all quarters and challenging national exams, but what next? Here is what high school leavers can do to occupy themselves as they wait to pursue the next level of education.
In fact, Twitter, Instagram, and Face Book always experience a lot of teenage newcomers around the month of December. This is because upon realising that their children have nothing to do after KCSE, parents buy them phones, tablets, or laptops to keep them busy. They use these gadgets to watch movies (porn) and chat with friends day and night from the confort of their rooms as the parents supply them with money to buy airtime and internet bundles.
Many teenagers use the time after KCSE as an opportunity to satisfy all the ‘thirsts’ on earth especially after sitting for the so unpopular distressing KCSE exams. It is during this time many of them try smoking, drinking, chewing miraa, or even engaging into sex (that is if they did not already start these things while in form 2). I mean, what else could they do when they are left in the house alone since December 2015 to September 2016? It must be true that the ‘devil’ finds the best workshop tools inside an idle mind!
But one may ask, what can these form four leavers do during those 9 months, 1 year, or more?
Indeed, there is so much to be done by form leavers as they wait to join the university.
Enroll for a short course
Realising that even after graduating from the university, one requires more skills to thrive in today’s very competitive job market, one needs extra skills to attain a competitive edge. And the time to earn these skills is during the period one is waiting to join the university. Some of the important short courses which form four leavers could take include foreign languages such as French and German, basic computer courses, driving, music classes, etc.
Volunteer your service
After form four one has learnt several skills which can be volunteered to the community. Remember even after a bachelor’s degree, experience will highly be treasured and if you could volunteer your service and get a letter acknowledging that you have worked as a volunteer could help a lot. Employers would want to employ people who are ready to sacrifice their time; and if you ever volunteered somewhere, it may be a sign that you are generous with your time and committed to service. Therefore, a form four leaver could seek for a volunteer opportunity at a company, learning institution, hospital, dispensary or community based organisation in the neighbourhood.
Attend skills workshops
One could also spend the time attending workshops with the aim of learning and improving oneself. Such workshops may help one to be aware of his or her potential and may go a long way in helping to choose the career to follow. There are many workshops taking place out there. They include writing workshops, career workshops, life-skills workshops, mentoring workshops, and even faith-based workshops.
Work on your talent
A form four leaver may also join a group or a club in which he or she can develop a talent. For instance one may join a football club, drama or music group, poetry club etc. The person can also find a coach to help them to fine-tune their skills in various talents e.g. playing keyboard, violin, or guitar, playing basketball or singing. As well, if one has passion in writing this is the time to sit and write a short story, novel, or a play. Writing, of course, will also require one to read widely.
Make some money
Every time I talk to form four leavers and ask them whether they are making any money as they wait to join university, they always look at me like a one-horned white donkey. Instead of sitting in the house just feeding and fattening, it is possible to make money.
Depending on where your home is located, you could practice small scale farming, or even start a business. I know some youths who have made a lot of money from small businesses as they waited to join university. One started to buy and sell apples and went on to do the same even after joining university since the job had turned out to be so lucrative. If there is an ample space at home one could also start rearing chicken, or even gardening.
Even if it means selling mayai-boil, do it instead of doing nothing. That’s what our parents did. Most of them did not grow up with TV and mobile phones for entertainment. Many of our generation worked in the farm and in the house whenever we were not studying and learnt to be responsible. It was the sure way of making us learn what works and what doesn’t work in life. We learnt that in life free things don’t work. We learnt that those whose wealth is handed to them on a silver platter from parents often misuse it because parents never gave them opportunities to learn basic life skills.
Remember: you could be your mum’s or dad’s protégé and he could be your mentor by joining him in the family business as you wait to join the university. For instance, a boy or a girl could start working at the garage where his dad works as they wait to join university. Smart parents know the importance of such kind of mentorship.
Now even if you don’t do any of the things we have said above the following things must be done:
- Ensure you have a national ID. I mean if you are 18, realise that you are an adult and having a national ID is a must.
- Have an email address. You will need it in the process of applying, joining, and learning in the university. In most of the colleges the email will be used by lecturers to send learning materials besides the use of other learning platforms such as the Moodle.
- Open a bank account. It will cost you nothing or almost no coin to open a bank account in many banks in Kenya. You will definitely need it unless you think you are still a baby.
- Finally, open your eyes. Don’t sleep. Yes, I mean exactly that. I know a girl who was not awake when others were doing online applications for the universities. Despite her qualifications, the university opportunity passed her because she doesn’t read newspapers; she doesn’t watch TV news or listen to radio news; she doesn’t ask questions to her former teachers; she only listens to American Musicians while closing eyes to opportunities that hang on the tip of her nose.