Reflection Speech on Life at Kalamazoo College


It’s 2:07 a.m. and I am walking back to my room from the library. My head feels like, it’s reached the end of thinking capacity and my fingers are so tired from typing away a 5 page paper due this evening by 5pm. As I enter my room in DeWaters, my roommate is furiously typing on his computer. He doesn’t even notice me coming in. As I look at him, I am reminded of the little squirrel I had seen at the quad earlier on in the day. The squirrel was busy burrowing into the green grass and was hardly startled by my heavy and dragging feet, as I headed for the cafeteria, neither was it distracted by the numerous flying fris-bee discs. I guess even the squirrels at K have been bitten by the K bug. Everyone is always too busy and rushing from one place to another.

My roommate has a 15 page paper due also today at 5:00 p.m. Oh dude! Am I glad that mine is only 5 pages. He tells me that he does not plan to go to sleep till he finishes the paper, which he had just started writing a few minutes after 2 a.m. As I go to sleep, I set my alarm clock to go off at 5 a.m. and I only hope that I will be able to hear it, because I had planned to wake up and prepare for my French speaking activity, which will be a graded assignment at 10:30 a.m. But more importantly, I have a class debate and presentation at 12:40 p.m. for my International Law and Organization class. As I close my eyes, I feel like I just want to scream! Friends, This is only a sneek preview of my life here at K. By now I know, all too well, that this only happens at K!

My study abroad experience here has been more than just an experience, but THE EXPERIENCE! I feel that I have been stretched in all areas of my life, be it the academic, social and spiritual life. I guess in a few words: K has just its own uniqueness. Until the point I came to K, I loved my sleep a lot, I would sleep like for 7-8 hours, well you may call me a toddler but I just love my sleep. (PERIOD!) Coming to K has taught me the value of time and the non-importance of sleep. One of the greatest challenges for me has been to learn to be on time for everything. From being prompt at arriving for my French class which starts at 11:50 and yet the professor is there by 11:40 to being on time for my work at the CIP and the cafeteria. In my home university, if class starts at 11:50 I will leave my room by 11:50 and arrive there by 12:00. Mind you when I arrive, I might be among the first ones to arrive for class because the professor will be late by the same ten minutes. Well, there are those who keep time and you really have to make an effort of being on time. But from interacting with different people here I have had to readjust my mindset and value being on time. Something interesting about where I come from is that, we place much importance on the event happening, as opposed to what time the event starts or ends.

One of the greatest things that I will treasure about my experience here is the great opportunity I have had to interact with other students, not only from America but also from other parts of the world. At least now on my face book wall, I can boast of having friends from over twenty nations. What this has given me is an opportunity to appreciate where I come from and the importance of cultural diversity. As I came here I was so nervous and felt like I will not fit in, or that no one would understand my English. As a matter of fact I had such a low esteem of my self just because I am from Kenya, “somewhere in South Africa” as one student told me, just to show me how much they know about Africa. Being in K has given me an opportunity to interact with other students both in class, in students groups and I have felt a warmth and appreciation from both the staff and student body despite my cultural background. I know my English is still heavily laden with an African ascent, which I am proud of, but at least now I know how to roll my tongue when I say “water” instead of “wota”. I am grateful that through this experience I have been able to gain more self-confidence and I am learning to be my self and to pursue my ambitions as a Bachelor of Arts student, pursuing a career in Diplomacy. In my University, it’s not that prestigious to say that you are a B.A. undergrad. As a matter of fact we are oftenly called Bachelor of Anything or if someone is talking about B.A students, he/she will say, students who are Being Around on campus. But from K, I have been impacted and challenged to see how even studying something like Psychology or Political Science can be very integrative and meaningful with the writing of S.I.Ps for the seniors. I am sure some seniors may not agree with this point because of all the stress that comes with writing of their SIP’s but I think that’s it’s a great way for us as students to integrate and apply the theory we learn in class into practical day to day activities.

As I head back home to friends and family, I will really treasure this experience in a very great way. I will surely miss the fast and reliable internet access, I will miss eating pizza and burgers like everyday, without digging deep into my pocket, I am sure I will only eat of these luxuries like once in a month, and that’s when I will be taking my girlfriend for a date. I will miss my favorite professor with his trademark opening remarks in class, “Good morning folks, any announcements before we get started…?” and his closing remarks, “Okay folks we are out of time…” I will miss all the warm smiles and silent nods of recognition from students as we walk past each other at the quad, the library and the cafeteria, but I know that I am going home having experienced a small world with a diverse and enriched community in the name of K that has inspired me to be the best that I can be.

Asanteni! Thank you!



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