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#ThrowBackThursday: Campus, Groups and Lessons Learnt!

Today, as I was busy doing my work, minding my business and sipping my water – from a KOR Water Bottle brand placement much, a very random thought crossed my mind, campus days! Not the fun times we had, because we had a lot of those – I treasure my campus mates for that experience. I’m talking about the tough times. The ones that make you wonder why you were studying what you were studying in the first place. I did Business IT in my undergraduate and there are some really difficult and unnecessary courses we did – ethics, computer graphics, programming, business accounts … it’s a long list, those are just a few of which I can remember as I write.

The tough times, really, were managing groups and the complications that come with being in a group. From the selecting members that will be in your group, availability of those group members, handling the assignments, the art of utilizing everyone’s strength within the groups and equally identifying their weakness – because that could be what takes you down, overcoming the group mentality and the solidarity in results.

Selecting group members

This must’ve been the lectures favorite part on the first day of the semester, “now get into groups which you’ll maintain for the rest of the semester.” It must also have been the students’ worst part, because woe unto you if you land into a group you don’t dig or don’t get along with the members. One has to be smart about the people they select to be in their group (if given the choice), else the struggle becomes real. Sometimes you realize you’d rather not select a group based solely on friendship – same concept with business.

Availability of those group members

So you have the group, good stuff. You have a plan as to when you’ll meet, but there’s a conflict of interest. Others are not available, others are not willing to sacrifice a little good time to attend a boring group meetings about assignments. Sucks when you have a group of 6 but only 2 or 3 are available – at all times. It’s very non-progressive.

Handling the assignments

So the 2/3 who meet decide, “Let’s peruse through the assignment and assign each group member a part”. I mean, their contribution is necessary, if not mandatory. You send the assignment and responsibilities to each member and give a “deadline” preferably a few days before due date so that you can work on the correction and formatting. Sounds perfect huh?

Art of utilizing everyone’s strength within the groups and equally identifying their weakness

Very important. When you’re in a group, you need to accept the fact that everyone is not the same, we’re absolutely different. Sometimes you might think, “If I can do this, why can’t he/she do this? “ Well, because he/she is not you honey. This is a tough lessons that many can attest to. If you’re not good at it, you’re just not good at it. Chances are that someone else is, why not support this person.

For example, we had a programming course, most of us loathed it. I know loath is a strong term, but that best explains our emotions towards that course. Unfortunately, it was a compulsory course. The lecturer happily gets us into groups of 6 and we’re assigned a project. The projects involved designing, developing and presenting a system. Presenting it to him the same way you would a client – including the manual.

Remember the part we loathe programming, that was 3 ½ of the group members. One (Valentine Wambui) loved it and she was the IT girl when it came to coding. The ½ (must’ve been Christine Were or Jean Opiyo) liked coding but wasn’t really good at it. The rest (Janice Muringo, Julia Wanjiru and I), don’t mention coding. Well, coding was just a part of the project, albeit being very important. For the project to happen – we needed to come up with the concept, design the interfaces and the database, code the system to being and then document the manual. Some parts like designing and developing the concept, interfaces and databases, you have to sit and do together – like one big happy family, that we did. However, someone had to take responsibility for each part, to make sure it’s done & well inputted or recorded. I love documenting, so if memory serves me right, I must’ve done the manual.

That’s the one time I saw the power of group work, because we aced that project – it was a Wardrobe Management System. Plus I had so much fun working with them and see the project materialize. I don’t know what happened to it, because that was way back in 2006/2007, when we used diskettes for storage.

TBT, Throw Back Thursday, Diskette

Group mentality

Perfect not! When everyone in their mind decides, “Someone will definitely do it!” Who’s that someone? Considering everyone in the group has a name. Once you overcome this mentality, chances are that you’ll thrive. Put a name on it. Have a group leader and let them distribute the work load based on who does what best and what can be done together.

For instance, we had a naughty group member who never participated or contributed towards any group assignments, but on the d-day always appeared concerned. So after bitching A LOT, we (Thuku Ndung’u or Rodney Senga, seconded by the rest of us) decided for that semester, he would contribute to printing and binding of the assignment, and any photocopies we would need during presentations – that stuff was expensive – given that it was campus with our ever eluding little pocket-money. He was moneyed, identifying strengths, no?

Solidarity in results

Whether you participated in the group assignments/activities, or not – you all get the same results. If it’s an A – y’all get an A, if it’s a C – y’all get a C. Unless you rat someone out, the lecturer looks at the group as 1, not as 5 or 10. When in a group, you’re fully responsible or in change of your group members’ success, and your participation is what will let them prosper.

Today, I am thankful for that throw back, because it has just made me realize that for the rest of your life, you deal with groups – whether it’s at home or at work. And campus was the best stage of life to learn that important lesson, because it’s brings into perspective the saying, “Man is not an island.”

Happy Diwali!

Signing Off ~~~ *Kawi*

Say No To Hoarding!

Being a self-confessed hoarder, I was recently struggling with the case of having so many clothes but on the contrary, no clothes to wear. It’s rather disappointing and annoying to a great extent. When you have 3 wardrobes, with all hangers full, and clothes almost bursting out of them but when time comes and you’re dressing up for an occasion or even on a normal day, an emptiness lingers. You feel like you own no clothes. Sometimes you can picture an outfit you want to wear but you can’t find bits of it because it’s hidden somewhere between the clutter.

That’s was a clear indication that there was a problem. A problem that needed to be deal with accordingly. The thing with hoarding, is that you feel the need to keep the things you don’t need. Your mind tells you, “You’ll need this someday, just keep it.” Even when the day never comes, you look at it and you’re like “the day is still coming.” Sounds stingy, no?

Say No To Hoarding

I thought my cousin was crazy when one day “something got into her” she emptied her closet and only remained with the clothes that she constantly wears – which were a handful. She gave out the rest to people who she needed them more than she did. I was one of the proud beneficiaries – I fancied her style. Remember when hand me downs were a common phenomenon. It mostly happens when you’re in your teens. You know that stage where your parents can no longer keep up with your growing self and changing fashion style. So they stop buying you clothes and you don’t have money to buy clothes – because well, your income is the pocket-money they give you. For some reason it’s never enough. It’s at that point you become a “hand-me down” charity case.

Well, whatever thing got into her, eventually got into me. I was done with the myriad of clothes & shoes that were not doing it for me. Whether new, old, fitting or not-fitting – considering that I got some of those clothes out of peer pressure, others I’ve out grown, others I just don’t feel the style anymore. Is that what we call maturity? I finally made a conscious decision to just go and bin (give away) those clothes, which is like ¾ of my wardrobe. Someone else needs them more than I do. There’s a teenager out there going through the “hand-me down” phase. On the upside, I have less clothes, which means less stress during dress-up, less organizing, less complaining and more space. It helps more that I know what I have, what I don’t have, what I need and what I don’t need. Considering I’m not a big shopping fan (I must be the only girl who isn’t, hence this post, and this post), this makes planning for it easier and more targeted.

But honestly, it felt like a load off my back and mind. I’m sure my wardrobes feel a little lighter too. Such a liberating experience. Maybe you should try it out and Say No To Hoarding! I could possibly be an activist, and that my cause. Isn’t it a social cause? It’ll save someone and also save you some more.

Long weekend around the corner for my Kenyan peoples. Happy Hump Day Lovelies!

Signing Off ~~~ *Kawi*

 

God Gave Me You.

Sometimes you need a little country to get you going. Blake Sheldon is such a legend, in my books though, so don’t slaughter me just yet! But he killed it for me with “God Gave Me You.” Also, his wife is so adorbs! It’s amazing to have someone who’s with you through your ups and downs, because truth be told, we all have those moments and you never want to deal with them alone.

It’s one of those situations that are inevitable. In as much as you never want a “down” to be there, it’ll be. It happens so fast that you’re left asking yourself, “How? When? Where?” Next thing, you just have to deal with it. So when it happens, there’s comfort in knowing there’s someone who’s concerned, and will at one point or another hold your hand, pat your back or give you a big bear hug and tell you, “it’s alright, we’ll work through it … wait for it … together.”

Nurture your relationships, it’s worth it. The person closest to you is just as good to you as you are to them or vice versa. That’s the peculiar thing about human nature. If you treat me good, I’ll feel compelled to do the same. If you treat me badly, I’ll pull out my defense mechanism and it varies for different people – the same way it does for animals. A bee would sting, a lion will eat you up, and a python will swallow you alive.

The thing about relationships, is that, they’re not easy. No, it’s never a walk in the park, life doesn’t quite allow it, though I wish it did. It always has a way of bringing in scenarios, situations, differences, tests, trials and such like things that put you in a position that makes you wonder, *what the hell?* But you love this person next to you, so you brave it and deal with whatever it is.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, we all have emotions, different emotions, and at different times. Emotions are like a roller-coaster, one time you’re here, the next moment you’re there. It couldn’t get any more difficult than that. Because emotions can be the hardest things to deal with. They can’t be controlled from an external source, it can only come from within – you’re the only one who can tell yourself, “I want to be happy” and actually make yourself “happy”, if I told you to be happy, you’ll probably just look at me with a blank and extremely irritated face.

The difference of emotions though, that could be a hidden advantage that we all need to tap in to, to make things work. It’s not as easy as A-B-C, but I just figured that must be a quota of the trick. When one is on a high and the other is on a low, don’t go on a low too, just maintain your high – even if it’s as you do your own stuff, the other person might come around. And welcome them when they do, don’t punish them … it’s a good place to be, the high, even better when you’re at it together. So goes with other emotions, always strive to be the bigger person; to be the person who keeps things going, when the other person is on empty; the person who flashes a smile, when the other person is sad; the person who opens up a can of stories, when the other person is seeing blanks.

Relationships, Love,

“The reality is that, there’s no perfect, just imperfect (read I’m Perfect). So you have to sift through the imperfect to find your PERFECT without the IM” ~ I said that ;-)

Signing Off ~~~ *Kawi*

Dealing With Problems: Some Mistresses Here and Some Scandal There

Have you watched Mistresses, the U.S version? I love it. Anyhow, I was feeling a little on the down low yesterday (let’s just blame it on female hormones) and I decided to watch something. And what better than a series with lots of females with female problems in it…lol. That’s atrocious but it’s such an entertaining distraction. I’m on Ssn 2 Ep 13. I can’t wait for it to continue, too much drama up in that space.

The thing with movies is that there’s some level of truth in them. There’s always something to learn from them. Especially those that try to demonstrate a reality of sorts. I believe that the writers and directors didn’t just imagine some of these things. The scripts are derived from another persons story, personal experience or an observation, even if to some extent exaggerated to make it juicier.

As I watched, I got to the part where Karen (one of the “Mistresses”) experiences a health scare as a result of her bar-hopping, bed-hopping phase. One of the men (Ben) that she had had “bad manners” with was diagnosed with AIDS and there was a possibility if she didn’t use protection while they did the deed that she had also gotten it. Thing is, she couldn’t even remember. Problems.

While she shares her problem with one of the girlfriends, Joss (another of the crazy mistresses. Oh! This one’s on a different level of crazy, she ditched her fiancé for the sister’s ex-hubby as he waits for her on the aisle at the engagement party cum wedding…if that’s not complicated, I don’t know what is), well, she tries to console her. I really like how she did it though. And that’s what informs my post today.

Mistresses, Life, Life Lessons, Series

When you have a problem, chances are that you don’t need to someone to tell you what to do to solve it. That could be why shrinks don’t tell you what to do, because you already have it in you. Chances are also that, they (the shrinks, your friends, your family) don’t even have the answer to your problems, or even if they do, it’s their solution, not yours. Naturally, somewhere within you, you know what you should do about it. You just need someone to speak the reality to you and give you a gentle push towards believing in what you think you should do.

So as they chat, Joss asks her what she does when she’s feeling overwhelmed. She says she prefers to go to the beach. Why? Karen answers, “because when you’re at the beach and you’re facing the ocean, you realize that your problem is so small compared to the big ocean” and it almost fades away, the problem that is.

Sometimes we magnify our problems and make them look so HUGE. To rub salt to the already existing wounds – that are the problems, we dwell on them for a minute, making us even more sore. They overwhelm us and eat us up. While in essence, as is the case of the ocean, our problem is equivalent to a grain of sand on the shore/beach. How small is that? As we think that the world is against us, the world is going on with its business. Sad reality, but goes to show us that problems, they come and go and those that stick around we can handle them. We all have some “Olivia Pope” in us. If you have a problem, you fix it, you handle it how you know best.

To cut story short, she eventually went ahead to get tested, which is what she wanted to do from the beginning but was scared of the result. She wanted to be ready for the results, whatever they were.

In other non-related news, I’m currently reading The Fault in Our Stars. I don’t know what to feel just yet. My baby sister told me the movie is really sad, so I’m not watching it till I finish the book. I’m on chapter 3 and I’m like, God, thank you so much for good health. Cancer is such a bitch! Will tell you how that goes.

Now that I mentioned the beach, I definitely need a vacay. Having a better week than mine I hope :-) Happy Hump Day!

Signing Off ~~~ *Kawi*

Curves and All

I read this article on Bev’s blog. Like she had advised, I clicked on the original story, and I was touched by what I read. That’s what informed my post today.

Meaghan Kausman, Curves

Meaghan Kausman’s photoshopped image is above; the untouched photo is below. Credit: Instagram.

In our society, size is a weighty matter. See what I did there. But it is, for everyone really, regardless of your size. “You’ve become skinnier”, “you’ve gained some weight”, “there’s no clothes your size”, “try a size bigger”, “maybe you should try sit ups, press ups or planks”, “you should eat some more”, “no, just eat less – more fruits & vegetables, some protein and less starch”, “don’t eat past 7pm, digestion doesn’t take place”.

I’m pretty sure you’ve encountered some of these random statements in your conversations, if not all of them. And boy isn’t it exasperating. I use them too, so I’m as guilty as charged. How does it make you feel? Well, it makes me a little more conscious about how I look. It makes me think, maybe I can do something about it, like I can make myself shrink instead of expand superpowers. Even when really, it’s nature organizing your body for you. Curves and all.

There’s also this belief that petite people shouldn’t talk about weight, because well, they don’t have weight to talk about. But funny enough just as anyone who’s not petite is affected by weight, so are the people you see as petite (which is relative by the way). So it’s awkward when I tell my friends I’m feeling like I’ve grown a little bigger, but they cannot see what I’m talking about. Sometimes I see it, sometimes I don’t too – it could depend on what I’m wearing, what I’m eating, and other times, just hormones – those that make you feel like you don’t look as hot in the present or as you envision yourself.

The other day, I found myself thinking, “Damn, my clothes are definitely tighter”. My once flat tummy, is not so flat anymore, there’s that bottom bulge. My hips, oh well, they’re shaping up, like they weren’t already. Considering I’m not a big shopping fan. You’ll find that I still have clothes that I used to wear way back in campus which until now still fit. Until one day, I’m finding myself having to jump up and down for them to fit. I’m in disbelief. In all honesty, if I could stay the same size I would, but then I’d have to starve or gym myself to skinniness. Nah, I can’t deal. So I try to keep fit by doing some housework here and there, skipping,  planking sometimes, but mostly, just trying to eat healthy.

One thing I told myself is that, I ain’t 22 anymore. I’m aging and growing and it’s not only the age number that  increases. The height and weight too. Remember, Body Mass Index (BMI)? Remaining the same size will be a little too ambitious, although some people make it happen – genes, regulated meals, some serious work out.

I feel that there’s some alluring confidence and sexiness that comes with embracing your body, as is. Also, not everyone can be a size 8, or a size 14, the world would be a boring place. God knew what he was doing when he made us all different, but still in his image. Rock you, as you are! However, that doesn’t mean you let loose and care less about your appearance or size for that matter. It means don’t look shabby, actually, never look shabby. Always, take care of yourself, look and dress pretty, keep healthy. Don’t Photoshop your body either. When you love yourself, even the people around you accept & love you just as you are, because you are a beautiful petal.

Embrace your body, curves and all.

Signing Off ~~~ *Kawi*

Things Unsaid and Thoughts Unexpressed

It’s awkward to write anything about death, even when it has happened. It just feels off. Maybe because it’s a loss that you cannot redeem despite how hard you pray or work. Lazarus was a lucky man to get a second chance at living. Then again, we’re mortal and death happens. It’s a phenomenon that’s happens every single day, hour, minute. As I type this, something is happening to someone that’s taking away their life, the core of their being. That’s scary. Actually what scares me, is not the dying in itself, it’s the process of it. The how and the what. The how. Experiencing the feeling of not being able to breathe or if there’s a pain that comes with it (I believe no one wants to experience immense pain, I mean unless it’s a crazy fetish). The what. The people who care about me suffering emotionally. I think emotional pain is to some extent more daunting that physical pain.

Things Unsaid, Thoughts Unexpressed

 

When I was a kid, I feared any mention of death, but for some reason I still used to read the obituaries page in the dailies. My mum is a nurse, and I think with the profession and the exposure it brings, comes the acceptance of this phenomenon. I remember her joking about reading the obituary, saying, “It’s good to read it just in case someone mistakenly puts you there and you’re here”. It was kind of funny, now that I think of it, but then, not. Or when she said something about when she’s not there, how she’d like things to be done, that we don’t have to spend an arm and a leg, or she shares her passwords just in case of anything. Oh my, that completely freaked me out. Like let’s just leave it there, let’s not talk about it. In essence, there should be nothing wrong with discussing about it, because it’s part of our existence.

I don’t know how I would deal with the absence of any of my loved ones, or even people I generally interact with a lot. And I really don’t want to know or imagine it. Have you ever been told to write your eulogy and the first thing that crossed your mind, is that the person is telling you to write your death wish? I doubt I did that assignment or I chose another composition to write. At least we were given a choice.

Anyhow, why I thought of this? I just realized that when a young person dies, especially one that is known within my circle of friends even if I don’t know them, I get curious, really curious. I want to know a little more about them, I want to know what happened, I want to know what they used to do and so on. Then I wonder, why the curiosity after someone’s death? Why not be curious before. Although before, you probably didn’t know much about them, just a mention here or a picture there.

Everything is magnified then; how happy or nice a person used to be, how successful they were, how they were a force to reckon with, how they’d done this and that, how people looked up to them and loved the things they did for them and for others. Chances are that this person didn’t even know these things about themselves, they didn’t know that that’s what people thought about them. Maybe they thought less of themselves, or they were lonely and alone. Of things unsaid and thoughts unexpressed.

For some reason when death happens, you are more alive in people than you were when you were alive. I think for me that’s the scariest part. But in my opinion, I wish that’s not how it was.

Maybe the change starts from me and you and that’s why I really admire what Humans of New York does. It makes everyone relevant, even when to others, they don’t seem so. Every time they post a picture with such real and personal captions, it touches my heart.

Signing Off ~~~ *Kawi*

My Best Reads

Tagged by my good friend and old neighbor – Wanja Kinyanjui on Facebook  to list the top 10 books that have touched and stayed with me. I’ll break the chain and do it on the blog because I think I’ve posted too much on facebook already. Then I’ll tag YOU my reader. You can leave some of your best reads on the comment section, I might just get a couple for my next read.

Good Reads, Books

 

Wow, I have read a couple of books in my lifetime, mostly school books … lol. But there’s no way in good heavens I am putting those up of course. Thing is, I’m not a complex reader and I came to accept that fact. So I wouldn’t touch a book that’s difficult to decipher or even read – hence why I was unable to do documentaries. I tried … I really tried to be the cool kid with huge books at one point in my life. As well as try read sci-fi’s and ish – you know the Harry Potter’s of this world. If it’s not real, I feel wasted, because I want to relate. Hmm, let’s see my list, here goes:

  1. Little women – Louisa May Alcott – Got it from my mum’s shelf, way back when #beingateenager. I was looking for a book to read and what a better book for a girl growing up than this one. Louisa captures her life story together with that of her 3 sisters. How they balanced their personalities and roles within the home setting. I took ages to read because it was an almost slow book, but interesting because you can relate to a lot that they went through while growing up even if in a different setting.
  2. Captivating – Unveiling the mystery of a Womans Soul” – John and Stasi Eldredge – Gifted by Mum for my birthday. It was about understanding myself as woman. Which got me to write two review posts: Every Woman’s Desire and What Defines A Woman, I was that touched.
  3. Alchemist | Aleph – Paulo Coelho – I bought them. I love symbols, I love interpreting stuff in a way that I understand best and this book allowed me to through the mind of another writer.
  4. Family Album| The Wedding | Safe Harbor | family ties | 2nd Chance | Big Girl – Danielle Steel – I stole most of these Danielle Steel books from my mum’s shelf, she’s a huge fan and so am I by extension. She writes about life experiences ranging from personalities, family, marriage, love, relationships, and careers. I don’t know if she imagines these stories or they are true stories, because they pretty much sound like just what happens. I could read her books all day, errday.
  5. Half of A Yellow Sun | Americanah | Purple Hibiscus – Chimamanda Adichie – I have a girl crush on her writing. She’s such a storyteller, I love it. When I read her books, I direct a movie in my mind. I even imagine how her cast looks like in my mind and how the scenes unveil. And well, after watching Half of a Yellow Sun, I’m so damn right, or rather she got it right – the movie met my expectations to the dot.
  6. Eat, Pray, Love | Committed – Elizabeth Gilbert – I loved the 1st book, so I got the 2nd . I liked how she was able to openly express herself through her writing. If I was to write a book, I would almost do it like her, but now in my way. The Eat, Pray, Love movie didn’t quite meet my expectations though, a lot was axed in the movie.
  7. There are so many books I’ve bought on the streets of famous writers, the likes of Stephen Frey and his other genius writer friends who are best sellers. Read them but unfortunately I can’t remember their names or their titles. That happens to me A LOT, in movies I’ve watched too.

But just so that you know a little more about my reading life,

“I love books with a storyline. I don’t like motivational books. Especially those that tell me what to do or not to do with my life, I think we all know what to do, we just need some inspiration – tell me a story instead, I can learn from it and derive my inspiration from your experience.”

Terrific Tuesday lovelies.

Signing Off ~~~ *Kawi*