“I’m a salient acknowledgement and a profound source

“I’m fragile, I feel pain, I hurt… I do not give up”, Mickey Rourke’s words, is a maxim that has invoked in me the courage to combat and trounce the numerous impediments in this unforgiving part of the world. With my parents’ complete subservience of our stringent African customs, my education was conducted in absolute compliance with the bygone ‘spare the rod’ adage. The cane, ubiquitously owned by all in the instructor capacity as the perfect mechanism to sway our conformity and total adherence to their will, was unequivocally approved by the school board and wholly recommended by parents. Of momentous concern was its frequent use as an instrument to achieve ‘correctness’ in our thinking with any whiff of divergence swiftly flogged into extinction. I recollect, with great nostalgia, the episodes during my final high school year. “A clean sweep” were the words from the soft-spoken jubilant principal after I bagged first prizes in all three categories at the national science contest, a salient acknowledgement and a profound source of personal delight in my world where, as my father constantly reiterated, the only escape out of poverty was through academic excellence. However, my jollity was brief and quickly erased by my incredibly scrupulous mathematics instructor who, following the final mock examinations, bequeathed me with a ‘most-generous correction’ for my unorthodox yet correct methodologies he termed as “shortcut strategies”. Graduating at the top of my class as a captain with a perfect score in my KCSE national examinations and numerous awards in academics and soccer, I naturally received much praise and admiration. I, however, was in a predicament. The scarcity of resources in my country’s employment sector greatly trimmed the courses I could pursue and the government’s inordinately slow negotiations with the lecturers in a bid to quell the ongoing nationwide strikes had paralyzed the country’s higher education. Questions arose. “Would I gain admission to an institution that would nurture my potential, challenge my intellectual and provide a platform to further my ideas absent constraints, albeit dictated by ethical standards?”I conclusively resolved to advance my newly-found interests in contemporary technology at METU. The hospitality of the diverse student-body and my incorporation into a new, challenging and engrossing education system brought profound joy. The rush to grasp Turkish in a bid to seamlessly blend with the populace proved rewarding and the dexterity and cognition gained from designing Arduino-based sensors and alarm systems in IEEE was entirely gratifying. On closer retrospection, notwithstanding that METU remains a select university and my eternal gratitude for my full merit scholarship award, I increasingly feel disengaged with the school. My perturbation stems from the bulk of students at school who, being weighed down by a predominant lethargic inclination in executing their academic obligations, epitomize an unwavering complacency with their level of academic achievement and far less prioritize the purposeful gaining of knowledge to the acquisition of a degree. This exceedingly prevalent propensity coupled with their routines being left starved of inherent inspiration evokes in me great fear and worry as it not only suppresses greater comprehensive grasp of knowledge that inhibits the feasibility of innovation but also by causing discord in our practices threatens the unity of ambition amongst us in achieving greater intellectual fulfillment. “Not necessary” was the resolute response from my colleague after expressing my craving for appreciating more programming languages. The paucity of mental stimulation from my peers delineates the existing indifferent ambiance which deprives of the merits of co-operation, healthy competition and constructive criticism. Ergo, in full agreement with the incorporation of the yoke into my academic life as a tool to foster constant and consistent improvement and as if in perfect unison with George Shaw’s assertions on the improbability of progress absent change, I seek a change of institution in a quest for comradeship in demystifying academic discourse and stretching the bounds of my comprehension for the betterment of my education.

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