You just have to know what you want.

“Who do you want to become when you grow up?”

It is very likely that, just like in my case, you were asked this question from different fronts when you were growing up. Given that at that stage what one doesn’t know does not really exist, we mostly went with what we knew: a doctor, a pilot, an engineer, a teacher. Those were the most common responses to that question. Then as you grow up, you are exposed to an array of fields; some of which you have no idea what they are about and some that seem to speak to you – almost calling you by name. At this stage, while the question still remains, ‘who do you want to become”, the dynamics are different. You have a choice to make and this is when we literally choose courses/ majors to pursue beyond Secondary Education. In our Kenyan system, we select a few and are placed in one; sometimes the fit we were looking for and other times, far from it. Luckily, options like intervarsity and interfaculty transfers are available today, and you’re highly encouraged to explore that, but what do you really do when it seems cast on stone?

That was me when I was placed to study B. Sc. in Information Technology. Deep down, I knew who I wanted to become and it was nowhere close to being an IT Specialist. It felt like I was eager to get a serving of pudding consisting of my favorite fruits; or at least one sweet fruit but all I got was a lemon. Since I’m not a big fun of lemon (unless when taking it to dilute stronger tastes – if you know what I mean), I accepted that what was served to me was a lemon and so, I transformed that fruit to a form easier and more enjoyable for me to consume; lemonade. Turns out I can enjoy lemonade and in the process, explore the ‘farm’ and find ways to become what I wanted to become.

Here is the thing, going through education at an institution of higher learning is way beyond the course you’re studying; whether it was your best fit or not. It is about formation and transformation. It is about getting to know yourself and being so in touch and true to this self and what you can do. It is a period of self – awareness and self – discovery towards self – actualization, it is a period of exploration to test what you want to be against what you truly can be; it is a crucial period of becoming. While sipping my lemonade for 4 years, I took on a journey with my inner self being as true to myself as possible. I involved myself in things that spoke to my core; taking advantage of every available opportunity. I allowed myself to busk in the beauty of every challenge knowing what it presents at the end. There was no limit to what I could do; I made Dedan Kimathi University of Technology my oasis and exploited every available resource and opportunity at my disposal. While what there is to really show for it is a B. Sc. Information Technology Degree Certificate with a Second Class, Upper Division, the real transformation and becoming was beyond the curriculum. I built and affirmed my interests outside the classroom and what I was exposed to in the classroom serves my interests today; the IT world is where we live and I am glad I was exposed to it.

If you ask me, you can build a career from anywhere. You just need to know what you really want and then do the work. All the resources you need are around you, use them while staying connected and true to yourself and every step of the way, build a career you love.

By Wanjiru Kaburu
Author|Communication& Branding Strategist|Speaker|Mentor& Coach| Copywriter & Editor.