We benefitted from being members of clubs and societies

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What you need to know:

  • During the transition from student life, many graduates find themselves looking for new communities in which they can belong, be it social groups, religious based gatherings or career centric associations.

  • The job hunting period is often characterised by anxiety and sometimes, disappointment.

  • It is also the period when graduates are forced to leave their campus communities and forge new alliances outside school 

Campus is many things to many people. Students get to build strong ties with each other, creating a tight knit ecosystem. However, upon graduation, these ties can be shuttered at once, leaving fresh graduates with the dilemma of moving towns and finding new friends, on top of looking for a job.

During the transition from student life, many graduates find themselves looking for new communities in which they can belong, be it social groups, religious based gatherings or career centric associations. Four individuals who are part of various clubs and societies tell us what they have gained by being members of the said groups. 

Photo credit: Pool

Eunniah Mbabazi, 28
Between the Covers book club 

After graduating from Technical University of Mombasa in 2018, I struggled to find a community in which I could fit in.

To make things worse, I had to move from Mombasa to my parent’s home in Nairobi, meaning that I had to part ways with my college friends.

I am an electrical and electronic engineer although my passion is in writing.

It was therefore not a surprise that after moving to Nairobi, I easily got a job as a business journalist.

Being a poet, book editor and reviewer, I found myself looking for artsy friends and art groups.

I joined different book clubs in Nairobi but I didn’t stay because most times I failed to meet the criteria set by the members.

To join such groups, I was required to fill out a questionnaire that was assessed by members. Most times, after the assessment, I received regret emails.

Which is why in March 2020, I founded my own book club known as Between the Covers together with friends. We meet on the first Sunday of every month in different places within Nairobi.

We only read African fiction, our aim being to understand our continent better.

Many of the bookshops and book stalls in Kenya are packed with books written by writers from the West, and this is why, at our book club, we are keen on giving African writers a chance.

So far, we have read books from 32 different African countries. Through the book club, I have found a community that equally loves reading and talking about books.

I have always been an avid reader, although I was not part of any book club in university. My choice of books was quite limited while I was a student, but because of the group, I have discovered new authors that I wouldn’t have known on my own.

I have also found such a beautiful community in the 12 members of my book club. Apart from reading and discussing books, we have formed a close-knit friendship. Whenever any of our members needs help, we come together and support them.

One of the greatest lessons I have learnt from my friends is that readers make better writers. Because of them, I recently joined the league of published writers, with five books to my name.

My advice to recent graduates is, if you have a chance to create or join a club, society or group, then by all means, do it.

Photo credit: Pool

Rose Gesicho, 23
Zindi tech community

I discovered my passion for technology in the year 2020 when I finished high school. I joined a boot camp to build my skills in data science at Moringa School in Nairobi.

But after completing the training, I was left alone, with no guidance on what to do next in a profession that I had grown to love. This prompted me to look for a community of technology experts who could help me learn more about the fast evolving field.

That is how I ended up being a member of the Zindi Data Science Community, which is a group of individuals who come together to share their knowledge and experience in the field of data science.

Our group consists of about 50,000 scientists from African countries. We focus on learning, networking, and collaboration.
Community members aim to be data scientists, data analysts, statisticians and engineers.

We often host events such as workshops, talks, and hackathons to share knowledge and skills and to help members stay updated with the latest trends and developments in the field.

In addition, we connect members with job opportunities and provide resources to help them advance their careers. Our goal is to create a space for people to learn, grow and collaborate in the field of data science.

In Kenya, we have a passionate community led by a country ambassador who is assisted by a number of university ambassadors.

The university reps organise events in their institutions, while the country ambassadors are tasked with hosting national events for young and aspiring data scientists. We hold all our meetings virtually.

Joining the data science community has provided me with a wide range of benefits and opportunities for learning.

Currently, I am a student at the United States International University Africa (USIU) pursuing a degree in data science and analytics.

 I am also a data science community coordinator at Zindi working remotely but based in Nairobi.

Besides my technical expertise, I am a dedicated community builder who enjoys connecting individuals and organisations to achieve collective impact.

Being part of the Zindi community has given me a sense of belonging which has been emotionally fulfilling. It has also boosted my self-esteem.

 I would advise anyone interested in the tech field to join a data science community. Such platforms provide work opportunities that can help you gain hands-on experience, which is very valuable when looking for a job and building a professional network.

Data science is a field that is constantly evolving, and being part of the community can help recent graduates stay abreast of the latest developments and trends in the field.

Photo credit: Pool

Thomas Airo, 25
Well Fellowship prayer group

Graduating from the University of Nairobi’s law school was an exciting achievement, but it also exposed me to challenges that no one had prepared me for.

After completing my studies, I had to part with my friends from the Parklands Campus Christian Union who had become my support system during the four years of study.

I could no longer see them or share my problems or pray with them like I was used to. The only thing I could do was to occasionally visit them. 

It was during one of the visits that I decided to form a prayer group together with two of my closest college friends.

The prayer group provided an opportunity to not only stay in touch, but also to support one another during difficult times.
With time, we started sending invites to former members of the Parklands Campus Christian Union, hoping to form a union with former members.

But we ended up getting requests from alumni from different institutions across the country, which prompted us to expand our scope. The prayer group is now known as the Well Fellowship.

We started it in April 2020 when the country was in lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We were unable to meet physically for fellowship sessions, so we held prayer meetings virtually through zoom.

Currently, the Wells Fellowship does not have a physical office but it consists of 36 young people drawn from different regions across the country.

To evade travel expenses, we meet virtually every Friday evening, from 10:30pm until midnight for prayer, bible study and encouragement.

We also hold physical get-togethers once a month – on the last Saturday of every month.

Most group members are aged between 21 and 30 and are facing common challenges in life either in their careers, businesses, or relationships.

Besides prayer, members also offer mentorship sessions for teenagers as well as charity activities for the needy in the community.

Because of the group, I have grown spiritually and also got genuine friends who understand my challenges.

As the group leader, I have picked valuable lessons in servant leadership, which has seen me start my own charity group known as Vijanas Round Table aimed at supporting children’s homes and minors who are in correctional facilities.

I would advise everyone to join a fellowship group because it gives you a sense of purpose, direction and satisfaction.

Once you’re out of college, there are many things that may occupy your time. Unfortunately, many of such activities are just time wasters. Finding a group of youthful people who are driven by a common purpose is such an advantage.

Photo credit: Pool

Elijah Wangari, 27
Kikao Kikuu Charity Club

I am a member of Kikao Kikuu Club, which consists of friends I have met in different stages of my life and with whom we share the same ideologies like compassion and love for humanity.

Our group’s goal is to come together to help the less fortunate in society, especially street families and orphans in children’s homes.

We also support each other whenever one of us is facing challenges. For instance, we recently helped a member settle medical bills for their kin. We also meet and make happy memories.

We are a team of about 23 friends, most of who I met either in high school, college, social gatherings or work.

Since many of us are based in different parts of the country, we normally conduct virtual meetings monthly through Google Meet and Zoom.

However, every four months, we have physical meetings which are usually held in Nairobi. 

It is during such gatherings that we catch up and plan charity events.

Additionally, every year, during Christmas, members get to share a meal with street families in a town of their choice.
I joined the club in 2020 after a former high school classmate referred me.

Back then, I had just graduated from Maseno University and was looking for friends who I could count on and spend time with as I transitioned from student life.

In school, I was part of a student charity organisation known as the Chapo Fest Foundation. We would visit children’s homes in Kisumu and mentor them while cooking for them. But after graduating, I had to leave the organisation.

Charity work has taught me a lot about the importance of giving, and it has made me more compassionate.

I have also appreciated the power of a team. What initially seemed impossible for me to accomplish as an individual has been made achievable by the group.

My mental wellness has also greatly improved since I share most of the challenges that I face either in my business or personal life with my friends.

The club is open to anyone who is passionate about serving humanity and I would advise fellow youth to join because such a network can provide you with a different and more practical perspective of life after school.