“I have been addicted to Marijuana since I was in class Seven”, says Bill, an undergraduate student at the University of Nairobi.
Author: Sein Kilanka is a Bachelor of Mass Communication graduate from JKUAT.
For those fresh out of high school, university life is the ultimate utopia. A chance to finally be free from the suffocating iron grip your parents maintain at all times.
One gains the freedom to be independent, hang out as they wish and indulge in earthly pleasures.
It is during this time that students discover new trends, going to clubs and drinking themselves stupid, and also exploring new relationships.
However, this seemingly glamorous lifestyle comes at a price that is often too high for some of them to endure.
A new religion of booze lovers and weed smokers is fast gaining ground in most campuses.
Well, it is very easy to smoke bhang or drawn into alcohol in a campus life setting than in any other place.
But as I can attest, it is all sequential in steps as one thing leads to the other.
Young and doe-eyed or hazel eyes, many decide to let go and explore their newfound freedom.
This often leads to sampling all kinds of available drugs common amongst peers. Smoke a little weed here, snort a little bit of cocaine there and the next thing you know, one is hooked to the lifestyle and more often struggling to keep up financially.
Being ‘bad’ is perceived as good looking. The popular fact is that no one sits somewhere and decides to use hard drugs; you have to be introduced by a friend who has access to the suppliers.
Crooked campus life.
The ‘newbies’ are not allowed to buy the drugs on their own until their loyalty is ascertained. They therefore rely on close associates to help them access the drugs.
There are two categories of drug users, the ‘ballers’ and the regulars. The former, (the wannabes) always want to kick a notch higher with pricey hard drugs like cocaine, ecstasy and heroine.
Lean, a mixture of codeine syrup often mixed with a soft drink or alcohol is popular with the latter, as they want to get high on a good budget.
College/campus means enduring long hours of study, worrying about grades, making new friends and yes- getting a little rowdy on a Friday night.
This means indulging in far too much alcohol and even harder substances.
Among the many reasons that lead fresh campus students into alcohol and drugs is the perception that sipping, snorting or smoking some stimulating substances is ‘cool’, because everyone does it.
Those who do not engage in them are often regarded as ‘old fashioned’, all these in the quest to fit in a certain bracket and class of ‘wazito and bad-asses’.
Some students, who are stressed out by classes, worried about finances or even going through a break-up might turn to alcohol to take the ‘edge off’. They end up finding refuge in substance abuse which leads to financial struggles.
Then here comes the famous ‘party life’. Students confess that a party is not a party without booze or drugs.
Parties where drugs are abused happen at the beginning of every semester given the fact that around that period there is little coursework assigned to them.
Shisha, the drug that took university campuses by storm.
These parties invariably commence on a day like Thursday night, that time when the tension of the study week gets eclipsed by a restive desire to get wild, and continue long into the weekend, with the partying students suspending all they care in the world.
Unfortunately, in most cases, these ‘bashes’ end up in cat fights and other ugly incidents like rape.
Early this year, a male student of a leading university in Nairobi allegedly fell into depression due to inability to pay his drug debt.
In a tragic attempt to outrun his debt, he shot himself with his father’s gun. The young man who comes from a well-to-do family could not account for his extra financial appetite that he sought loans from a fellow student.
With time, his debt ballooned and led to a fall-out with his supplier. This is not the first incident of drug-related suicide of tertiary institutions.
In a case of alleged drunk driving, another student was involved in a grisly accident while returning to school with his school mates.
Substance abuse is something that can creep up slowly on the user until what seemed like just a few good times turn into a problem.
When wondering if things have gone too far, just consider these warnings; you often wind up drinking more than you intended, you have to drink more to get the same effect you got a few months ago, you have had a memory blackout, you’ve done things that increased chances of you getting hurt like driving while under the influence or having sex with someone you don’t know.
Majority of students join gangs and get into crimes where they can easily fund their ‘dope’ urges.
It is even worse for the ladies who get hooked and they are forced to engage in sexual activities with drug peddlers in exchange for the drugs.
It is easy for a man to join a gang as opposed to the ladies. So for the fresh looking university lads and lasses (young girls) who aspire to stay ‘bad and ‘boujee’ (fancie), it might not be a smooth ride after all as many try hard to keep up with the seemingly cool lifestyle only to fall into a trap of irreversible vices and addiction.
Going to the university is an opportunity where one is able to discover himself/herself and explore all the fun that is related to the youth kicks.
Former Africa’s prestigious University of Nairobi campus.
Another scheme that has become popular in these universities is the absurd ‘dating’ between campus girls and the old, pot-bellied Papas.
It has scraped out the genuine lovey-dovey practiced by our parents and grandparents and is now regarded as ‘old fashioned and boring’.
It has become an epitome of what a relationship is based on in campus. Our girls are now being lured into this plastic lifestyle, living a lie and reaping where they did not sow.
Due to the high rate of unemployment and underemployment among these female students, they often find themselves in desperate situations by living beyond their means and selling their bodies, exploiting their sexual values for financial gain.
They entertain the loaded wazees, most of whom are prominent people, at private parties where morals and decency is not ‘their thing’ in exchange for huge amounts of money that affords them expensive make-up, laptops, flashy clothes and even paying for rent.
Some are in it out of poverty or just for the money while for others it is sheer adventure. This insatiable thirst for money, drugs and sex has led some girls becoming poor decision makers while trying to also invest in their relationships with their fellow campus male counterparts.
The men often avoid these ‘slay queens’, as they refer them, like plague and prefer staying single or make it casual business, hit and run kind of thing.
I once talked to my campus mate and as it turned out, she is into this detail. She mentioned that her clients often pay her extra cash in order to connect them with other girls.
Once the lady is interested, she gives her the sponyo’s number and alas! There you go girl, ‘itisha pesa ya uber sasa’.
She goes ahead to meet her dollar bill at a rendezvous of her choice, most preferably at the fancy clubs in Westlands, and thereafter a night bliss at Sankara or Villa Rosa.
To live this life, one must sacrifice egoistic traits and letting go of the ‘naïve decent’ girl in order to secure campus financial constraints.
Hard drugs and students’ engagement in hard substances.
Amidst all this madness and this obnoxious lifestyle, one is left to wonder how our parents, pastors, relatives and neighbors back at home are innocent and unaware of who exactly a typical campus girl really is or rather what has become of their perfect son.
It is crazy how these campus divas have the ability to hide their ‘identity’ when they go home for holidays and act like the perfect daughter, role-model sister and the church girl, while in reality it is a whole show house.
A habit builds behavior and it becomes character thus nurturing into the personality of a person.
Addiction is a disease one cannot heal on their own, there’s need to restore hope to our young people and remind them that indeed they are not losers, one just needs to bounce back and realize who you want to be in life.
This is through setting up realistic goals, avoiding the common crowd or wrong audience, the ones who are just there to mutilate your God-given personality and hence become your own extra ordinary person.
Our young girls and boys need to let go of all the negativity that clouds in their minds and that surrounds them, it overshadows all the positive things they have to be grateful for.
Sharing stories of hope during hardships will lift your spirits and make you attain things that you imagined for yourself.
Reconnect with your dreams and jump-start your personal transformation!
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