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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*

My LinkedIn Summary

Summaries. I hated those. Especially when in school you were asked to read a book and summarize it in one page (or a limited number of words, they liked 300) in a way that someone will understand what the book was about. I remember in my previous workplace I had a colleague who loved the word ‘one pager’ that on my first day of work, he told me to come up with a ‘one pager’ for a project I was completely clueless about. It made me research, and that’s what actually made me understand the scope & objectives of that project. Because with a one pager you can’t write nonsense, it needs to be straight to the point. Plus it’s a quick read, so you can’t bullshit, or someone will know you are. Especially if they have knowledge of that project/book.

Well, that’s the same feeling that creeps up when I’m asked to give a summary of myself. I’m 27, that means, I’ve had quite a bit of experience and a story to tell. It might not be moving like some I’ve heard, but it’s something to say the least. Plus it doesn’t help that I’m not the best story teller or pro in giving an account of events that happened to me. Most I forget, then remember when something happens that touches on that experience.

I am, About Me

The thought of my LinkedIn summary has disturbed me for a while now. It didn’t cause me sleepless nights, but it made me a little uneasy because I didn’t feel like I was properly representing who I am and what I do in terms of my career.  I’m a lover of social things, especially those on the digital front – Facebook, Twitter, IG, LinkedIn, G+, Blog – basically, I’ve embraced digital. I always feel like they have a multiplier effect and they expose you to people you don’t know – but most of what is exposed to those people is what you share with them, what you want them to know or how you want them to interpret who you are. So to some extent you have some control. And so I changed my LinkedIn summary and made it a little more personal. It kinda made me feel good about myself, you know when you realize what makes you tick when you’re working. Here goes;

Armed with an IT, Project and Strategic Management educational background but actually practicing as a Marketer, an Online or Digital Marketer to be exact. It amuses me. It’s after all, what I am passionate about.

Thinking about what the person on the other end of the screen (computer, mobile or print) wants to consume when it comes to content. The process involved in conceptualizing, designing, developing and eventually sharing it – through the various social media platforms and having conversations around that content because it affects us whether directly or indirectly.

Coming up with plans/strategies on how to make the consumption of this content as interesting and stimulating as possible for the consumer through partnerships and teamwork. It’s through these two that we have had successful campaigns and achieved our desired results.

I am also a sucker for content that builds people, useful content. Content that inspires, impacts or influences someone (even if just one person) in one way or another. And that’s the main reason I run my personal blog at – Kawi Snippets.

That’s just about it. Happy Thursday Lovelies.

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*

What defines a woman?

Kawi:

Blast (read blog) from the past. Do you think there some truth in there or not?

Originally posted on Kawi Snippets:

With reference to this post:  Every Woman’s Desire : It’s an Excerpt from the book ”Captivating – Unveiling the mystery of a Womans Soul” by John and Stasi Eldredge which my mum had gotten for me as a birthday gift. Well, somethings like this come in handy in life because as it is, this books has helped understand some things about women. Yeah, we try to understands ourselves too.

So here goes, “What defines a woman?” This is the most difficult topic. Even us women don’t really know. But anyway, according afore-mentioned book, “Most women define themselves in terms of their relationships, and the quality they deem those relationships to have.”

Correct me if I’m wrong, but honestly speaking. Just take a rough look at all the women in your life…this is for both men and women to  do. Ever since I read that book, I’ve always tried to prove this…

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Our First Cupcakes

Sometimes, I live for firsts. They make you feel like that there so much that the world still has to offer. You know those things that to others, would seem like such a normal day-to-day thing but to you, having been presented an opportunity to do it, or even getting the courage or psyche to go ahead and do it, is a big deal.

That was me, when I woke up one Sunday morning feeling like this -> Baky. Those cupcakes were just calling out my name, “hey Kawiria, bake us”. And I blurt out, “why don’t we bake today?” Thank God the fiancé gets just as excited as I do about firsts. We set out to get the baking equipment, all thanks to Google. He was extremely cooperative, despite the rounds we had to make. I think in our minds, we were seeing the end product, those delish cupcakes. Nothing, even the unavailability of equipment was going to stop us, we were ready to substitute (actually we did for some) . Some of the equipment we used:

Measuring cups | whisk or hand mixer | wooden spoon | cupcake trays | cupcake liners | cooling rack | bowl | flour sieve | oven | grease proof paper | among others.

We we’re looking at quality, functionality and affordability. Some of the equipment was ridiculously priced at Nakumatt, but much cheaper at Naivas. Some cheaper equipment at Naivas looked like it was of poorer quality, or they just didn’t have them available, like the measuring cups. In the end though, we managed to cover the list after running from one supermarket to another.

We used this recipe for our first try. We of course added our own crazy twist to it, the chocolate shavings, I thought it would taste a little yummier with them on. Let me say for first timers, those cakes were everything. The butter was a little too much, but you know what happens with butter, it makes it moist, so winning!

Ingredients
110g/4oz butter or margarine, softened at room temperature -> We used butter
110g/4oz caster sugar
2 free-range eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract -> We slipped in a drop of strawberry essence
110g/4oz self-raising flour
1-2 tbsp milk —> We kinda used whipping cream too

Cupcakes, Baking

Now, we’re looking forward to making that moist mouth-watering Red Velvet cake. I hope I made you salivate a little, I am. So whose party are we crushing and bringing over cupcakes? We’ll upgrade ourselves to cakes very soon. I told you that on our next birthday, we’re baking our own cake. No more Valentine Cake House or Cake City. I wasn’t joking, we got this :-) to learning new skills.

Have a blessed weekend. Let’s do more, like laugh a little more, love a little more, learn a little more, but live much much more.

Signing Off ~~~ *Kawi*

 

What Next?

Dreaded question? It could very easily be mine.

One of those that fall under the “best and worst question”, all in the same intensity. Best when I know what’s coming next, like I have it all planned out, with the answers at my fingertips, more like a – bring it on – kind of scenario. Worst when I’m trying to figure it out. Chances are that I haven’t even given it a thought or talked about it yet because I fear the answer is “I don’t know”. I was brought up being told to never say “I don’t know”. I’d rather give you a tentative plan or an “I’ll get back to you”. I can’t recall where I picked up that habit from, and I don’t think it was not home, because I was never harassed for not knowing. Maybe school. Well, at least it helped because I never left any blank answers during exams. I’d rather cook up an answer than admit that I don’t know, then find out later what that was all about.

What Next?

What Next? Is that kind of question that’s hooked to the human DNA. We usually feel the need to ask it especially after receiving some good news. You’re never given that honeymoon period to gloat in your glory. The moment you share something exciting, the next thing is, “What Next?” I’m guilty of doing the same thing to others and even to myself. Someone just got engaged, so when’s the wedding? Someone just got married, so when’s the baby coming? Someone gets a baby, so when’s the next one? Someone gets a job, so what are you looking for next? Someone graduates, so what will you study next? Someone chops their hair, so what will you do with it next? Someone buys new shoes … ? It’s crazy, the little heaven here on earth is always so short-lived.

I got my Post-Graduate certificate … finally! It’s one thing to graduate, but it’s another to actually get a clean bill of health from the University and receive the certificate. The excitement lasted as long as the hand over.  We can measure that in seconds. As soon as I received, the question I asked myself was, what next? Then I bump into my friend and share the same news right outside the school gate and she asks me, so what next? PhD?

Graduation, MBA, Strategic Management,  Daystar University, Thesis

I told her, kids, but of course I was kidding (see what I did there). Truth be told though, I had a plan to do a PhD, I even know what it’ll be on – that was in my young and school-loving days, but today, I’m not entirely ready. The thought of lectures, assignments, evening classes, quarterly exams, dissertations – I’m just not ready for that kind of torture just yet. Unless, I’m the one on the front side of the class making other people feel that way *smirk*.

Sometimes, I wish we had the answers to all things future. That we always knew what next or even where and what you want to be? So that when someone asks you, you don’t look like you just swallowed a hot potato. It could very well be a conversation starter, a tough one though. Same thing as asking someone, what their 5 year or 10 year plan is. Now that I’ve mentioned;

What’s your 5/10 year plan? (10 if you think 5 is too shortsighted. I’ll accommodate y’all). Let’s think about it together, then individually jot it down somewhere (a permanent place that is, like a notebook, not your phone, technology is tricky  – it could crash or become obsolete. It’s a funny thing that books still live and last longer).

Then 5/10 years down the line, we’ll retrieve it and see if we’ll have gotten there. If we stuck to the same plan, changed course or well, it just didn’t work out and you did something different. Because we never give up, yes?

Have a Super-Charged Week Champs!

Signing Off ~~~ *Kawi*