“Fantastic” is perhaps one of the ways to describe it. Another way of doing it is by expressing how amazing my first day at Strathmore University campus was, even though this time it was completely different: everything was online! You might wonder why this was the case for me. My candid answer is that the experience exceeded my expectations because it was so well done, in a welcoming and very friendly manner such that it would even surpass my expectations if it were to be done in person, in a physical campus setting.
When the COVID-19 pandemic measures were implemented in our country, Kenya and the government announced the suspension of all on-site learning activities in learning institutions, my long-desired dream of joining campus this year was cut short, leaving a lot of uncertainty in terms of how I would complete my studies in good time. I nearly thought that the world was against my long-term education plans. Try to visualize how excited I was knowing that I was only ten days to joining the number one Business School in the region to pursue my dream career. As if that is not enough, I had enrolled to pursue a course that was fresh and very promising in Strathmore University Business School! This was the recently launched Bachelor of Financial Services programme! The excitement was beyond imagination. With the COVID-19 pandemic and all that came with it literally clouded the imagination that was fixated in my mind, looking forward to a new business mindset in the financial services but alas! My future was now told to take five.
Was that it? I questioned myself a couple of times.
Exactly nine days later, I received a message from Strathmore University alerting me that due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, we would have to commence our classes virtually beginning from the 20th of April 2020. “How interesting!” I thought to myself. This is because at no point in my life did, I ever think that I would ever learn virtually nor use video calls in-class sessions. However, we have been told time and again, nothing is impossible! This is exactly what Strathmore University was doing!
On the 17th of April 2020, we got an invitation from the School to join an online orientation via the Zoom platform. We were all required to be dressed in accordance with the University’s dress code. The orientation session kicked off on time as programmed, led by Ms. Stella Mwangi, the Manager of the Strathmore University Business School, Undergraduate programmes section. There was excitement written all over my face when I got to be introduced to the coordinators of the Bachelor of Financial Services programme and the programme itself. The experience was quite fantastic. This was primarily because of the wonderful engagement and attention created by the speakers in such a way that you could not afford to miss the very “warm welcome” to Strathmore University.
On the first day of the orientation, most of the speakers tried their level best to provide us with just enough information, taking care not to overload us with too much detail, but ensuring that the most pertinent information was conveyed. I well knew that my desire to know more about Strathmore University would rekindle the need to be provided with more information as time moved on. However, for that time, that was just sufficient to get us started with our online campus life. I was so glad that the way the orientation forum was coordinated completely revealed that the Strathmore University team were quite professional and very proficient in their way of doing things. The first day for me as a new student was a fantastic experience. It is in this same orientation forum that I quietly got to confirm some of the aspects of the “Strathmore culture” that were frequently discussed in the streets, not forgetting the famous “dress code” talk! During the orientation, I got to learn about the mode of delivery in Strathmore University classes, the importance of Strathmore University policies relevant for us and the structure of the administrative staff in the Business School and this was really useful in terms of knowing the appropriate channel to voice my issues, in case I have any.
Day two of the orientation was equally full of inspiration if you ask me. The day started with the Director of Undergraduate programmes in the Business School, Dr. David Mathuva taking us through the three undergraduate programmes in the Business School. These were: the Bachelor of Science in Supply Chain and Operations Management, the Bachelor of Financial Services, and the Bachelor of Commerce. The session really moved me as it guided me to the direction I was headed and gave me a sense of belonging because he was very friendly and systematic in his description of the three programmes. From his session, I learned a couple of lessons and advice that I will do my level best to stick to since they are in line with my path of success and career.
In conclusion and right from the staff in the Information Communication Technology department, to the Dean of Students and finally the Director of Strathmore University Business School undergraduate section and his team, I would like to appreciate you all for helping me feel welcome to the Strathmore University community. Asanteni sana! Right now, I am two weeks old in the Bachelor of Financial Services programme and I cannot complain because I quite like the experience so far. Though it is hard to accept the fact that we are yet to experience the physical campus and its amazing facilities we saw in the photos shared with us during the wonderful orientation, I am optimistic that this COVID-19 pandemic will soon be over, and we will go back to our physical campus. I really look forward to physically visit the amazing Student Center and perhaps grab a snack from the Cafeteria and visit the various buildings around the campus, including the beautiful Strathmore University Business School complex!
Story by Michael Ochola, First-year Bachelor of Financial Services student at Strathmore University Business School.
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