The choir is perfecting their pitch. The teacher’s look elated in a flustered fashion. Students bustle to find a seat as parents anxiously await for the ceremony to begin (or end). Ah, another graduating class is ready to take on the world. Today I had the pleasure of attending my brother’s graduation ceremony. He had completed his O levels, Grade 11, Form 4, and whatever else you may call it in different nooks of the globe. It was a familiar setting, in a familiar venue. This is the school in which I had spent my entire high school life, and the same hall where I had graduated too. But it was truly a whole other experience to be sitting on the guest section as opposed to that allocated for the students. Apart from being able to wear fancy formal attire instead of a school uniform, the major difference was that of perspective. There were speeches on how life ahead was an oyster, and further education the key to unlocking every door. Rosy pictures were painted and castles built high up in the sky. It was a jubilation. I was very excited to remember that feeling while being seated as a graduate with my parents, teachers and fellow students surrounding me, pouring forth words of elation and bestowing me with congratulations.
It was a beautiful moment, one which I was happy to witness my brother experience. But, the real world is a far cry from those rosy pictures (at least in my opinion). The world is a big place, with great things, good and bad, all awaiting people who want to take them up. The only thing you can do to prepare yourself for it, is know who you want to become and where you want to be. In essence, let your dream guide you on your journey. Simple words, which are not too simple to follow! However, one speech which caught my attention was made by the Guest of Honor, who spoke about the importance of utilising the mental capacity obtained by students in order to better Africa. After completing school here in Kenya, a lot of graduates are set to travel and even settle down as well as study in Western countries. Kenya is a diamond in the rough, which needs careful and tactical polishing to be able to shine. Oh and it can shine bright! It brought home the point that graduation may not just be about you, the individual, planning and pursuing your dreams. It is also about what you can give back to the community which has raised you, supported you and helped you reach this level of excellence. I want to see Kenyan students help Kenya and Africa at large, graduate with honors. I’m feeling cheesy – can you tell?!