KUCCPS is soon closing its doors to prospective students who wish to make their first revision of courses for the 2020/2021 university placement. For this reason, applicants are in a rush to make decisions that will affect their future career lives immensely.
If you make a wrong career decision at this stage, you will most likely mess up the remainder of your life. You may have a second chance to redeem yourself at a later stage, but it will not be a walk in the park. As I hereby illustrate with the story of my life, changing a career after the first degree course, or combining careers, will cost you valuable time and resources.
So here goes my story. When I was in secondary school form one, our English teacher asked us to give a brief speech in which we would state, among other things, the career that we would want to pursue after school. I genuinely and plainly said, “I want to be a CRE teacher.” Within the same term, I scored 100% in a continuous evaluation test.
Despite scoring low grades in CRE in form 2, I never gave up on the subject. I was among the only three boys from my class who took CRE beyond the second form. All the other boys dropped it passionately; but there were dozens of girls in the class.
Needless to say, one of the reasons for my career choice was the desire to acquire moral values in pursuit of a worthy Christian life.
I later learned that CRE and Chemistry were my most enjoyable subjects in High School. I had so much interest that I would read either one of them when others were doing mathematics early in the morning.
Yet, with a misinformed perspective, I decided to choose a career in civil engineering as my preferred career path. Although I had a good attitude and interest in Physics, my Math teacher would tell without fear of contradiction that I was not made for STEM.
Thus, my first career choice in campus was Civil Engineering. I was so naïve that I could not seek advice from teachers; neither could I choose the “small universities.” So I chose JKUAT, UON and KU, I think.
When KCSE results came, I did not qualify for my first choice. So I went to revise my university courses at Menengai High School, Nakuru. During our days, there were no such things as KUCCPS or online revision. We made long lines and used pen and paper to choose our university courses. Rather than the KUCCPS website, our list of university courses were then posted on noticeboards.
Did I tell you that I scored an A in Chemistry and an A- in CRE? My lowest grade was expectedly mathematics with a B. My friend, who knew me in and out, advised me to take a Chemistry related subject. If I were to heed his call at the time, I would choose education science with a combination of Chemistry and Physics. I was too clever for that.
Fast-forward, I did not qualify for my first and second career choices, landed on a third-choice Environmental Management course. I did the course for only 1 month and dropped it after getting all stories about how the course was not marketable, about examples of people who had “tarmacked” for 10+ years in the field without a job, and a lot more similar stories.
I ended up doing a degree course in Economics and Finance at Kenyatta University. The four years were full of mixed feelings. It was fun and exciting, yet challenging and confusing. It was specifically difficult waking up early to prepare and attend lessons in Mathematics for Economists I & II. I graduated with a Second Class Lower division in 2012, and henceforth I worked as a Freelance writer.
I stared writing articles and academic essays on business, economics and accounting topics. Even so, I slowly drifted to history, religion, English, philosophy and related disciplines. I enjoyed working for student clients. In 2015, I finally got inspired to pursue a course of my dreams. I graduated with Second Class Upper Division in Education (Arts) from Kenyatta University in 2019.
Why do I tell you all this? Because my initial career choice was wrong. I had to spend 5+ years looking for money to pursue my dream career course. Now we have KUCCPS, you do not need to make the same mistake I made. But of course it is good to learn and grow from such big mistakes. Here I am, a happy teacher willing to offer help to young people who are willing to earn a better future for themselves and for the society.
How to Choose the Best Career in Kenya
In another post, I will explain in depth how to choose the best career. For now, I draw on my story to tell you that other people’s experiences do not matter as much as your inner conviction, passion, interests, attitudes and abilities.
First, choose a university course based on what you LIKE or INTERESTED in doing. Assess yourself – your strengths, weaknesses, interests, likes, and dislikes.
If you like working with young people like me, perhaps you could best pursue degree courses in education, sports coaching, ECD or any career course related to young people.
At the end of the day, the money you earn will have little impact on your state of mind. Satisfaction comes with doing something that makes you feel happy and motivated. Therefore, create a list of university courses that are in line with your career choice.
Speculate on Potential Jobs
Do a good research on the possible jobs that you might get after pursuing the degree or diploma course that you have chosen. A Degree in education, for example, can give you a job in the Ministry of Education, teaching, coaching, and motivation. Know who your potential employers are, what kinds of jobs you will be doing, and what duties you might be required to perform in your potential employment. Make a list of courses that will enable you to do a job that you will enjoy doing, while offering the best benefits.
Consider your Qualifications and Skills
At this stage of your education you must have identified some of your skills and abilities. Which of the courses you have listed so far fit your skills and qualifications? For example, if you are a good writer like me (my honest opinion), courses related to the humanities such as journalism, law, and education will be your best shot. Ensure that the university course you choose is attainable based on your KCSE results.
Solve the Dilemma
At this stage, you will most probably remain with two or three very interesting and promising degree courses to choose from. How do you decide between courses that offer extremely similar benefits?
Here you can consider what others are saying. Do not let other people influence your decisions before this point. Other people can only help you with information that will assist you in understanding what each course entails, but they should not make the final decision for you.
With two or three competing career choices, do not toss a coin. Ask a person who is experienced in either of the career courses. Get as much information as you can, and consider what other people are saying based on their experiences. You will eventually get a diverging point that will separate the two career courses.
Do not rush, listen to your heart. Careers should make your life easier, not harder.
I am now a contented CRE teacher.