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Graduate Spotlight: John Odour – Joining Strathmore, a culture shock!


Have you ever experienced culture shock in the transition from a public high school to a private university? Kalevro Oberg (1960), a distinguished scholar, defines it as being unfamiliar with social norms or experiencing a completely new life tends to impact people inviting a sense of feeling a little lost in the new environs.

Joining Strathmore University in 2017 to pursue the course – Bachelor of Business Information Technology – felt like a completely different world. I felt like an alien. Everything about me was different from everyone else. From the official required attire, to the unfamiliar terrains and experiencing new foods. I had not experienced such a life.

Surprisingly, I dropped out of Strathmore and joined a public university for about a month. It was not quite a choice, but a realization that I may not fit in, in the school. Moving there in itself was another experience and another cycle of culture shock. A collision of cultures. Being there for a couple of weeks, I was still unsettled. I had a couple of talks with my parents who advised to reconsider joining Strathmore in the second cohort pursuing the same course. That idea was sold to me and I was on the bus, again to give it another shot. They say that the third time is a lucky charm, but I beg to differ, the second time indeed was favoured. The adjustment stage of culture shock is where one adjusts to the environs and, finally, is assimilated into it. I became accustomed. I met long life friends and I am proud to say that we are tossing our graduation caps into the air as a celebration of ending this chapter as an undergraduate. It is those friends who impacted my life enormously.

The mentor assigned to me – Mr. Steve Karigira – among other confidants who walked with me, no words can amount to express my gratitude towards them for their support. Their constant words of wisdom and advice, the voice of experience and a safe space to express my achievements and challenges. They kept me on track and ensured a clear mindset that instilled accountability in me throughout my journey as a Stratizen. Believing in myself was great, but having them behind my back and cheering me on, kept me going.

Life at campus…

The renowned Philosopher Aristotle once said that the roots of education are bitter, but the fruits are sweet. Focus and hard work throughout my four years as a Stratizen pushed me to greater heights. Through the sleepless nights and studying for hours on end summed up the achievement of attaining a First Class Honours degree. It was not easy but Strathmore did provide a conducive environment for that. I had the facilities and I was capable and skilled. I did it all with the right attitude because I knew what I wanted to get at the end of it all.

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, so the saying goes. Studying hard all week deserves a little time off to relax and unwind. Football Fridays were a way to unwind and bond with my classmates and friends. Relating this to the success of scoring a couple of goals on turf to studying, winning was better than losing. That created a hunger for success.

I absolutely loved my university experience; in fact, I worked two jobs while still studying. Talk about killing two birds with one stone. Despite the unfortunate disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, opportunities @iLab Africa and Strathmore University Business School were moments where I was required to put into practice what was learnt during class sessions. Those job opportunities were an amazing way to get a head start in my career pursuit and boosted my résumé.

To my peers…

Do not be a bookworm.  Loosen up a little. There is so much more to campus. Enjoy life, take advantage and engage in activities that campus life has to offer, in extracurricular, school trips and events just to mention a few.  Go out, have fun! Make the most of the time on campus.  Life is too short to limit yourself within the blinders of academics.

Within a blink of an eye, campus life becomes sealed memories. Another story is added and engraved in our hearts. Graduating means closing one chapter, beginning another. No matter where life takes me, I know I have the tools needed to be successful. The future ahead of me is bright; I am eager to see what life has in store for me.


This article was written by Jemmy Kamau.       


What’s your story? We’d like to hear it. Contact us via communications@strathmore.edu.