5 ways to deal with culture shock in College


Three weeks down the line and freshers in campus are on a fast track to conformity. First years are coming to terms with the maze of activity that is Nairobi. They are starting out in the first phase of culture shock; excitement has subsided as they try to live a spur-of-the-moment lifestyle and fit-in. It is therefore our job to point freshers in the right direction or advise them to take a detour, trust me -I know. (Always wanted to say that.)


1. Language

You have been comfortable so far speaking in your mother tongue with your four best friends. I mean you guys have a blast when you share your tales in your native language. It always sounds thrilling. No one can blame you, but two weeks in campus, you realize it’s not the ‘it’ thing. To make progress, you try the Nairobian English but the STL, SMH, STFU, and LMFAO seems too much for a village girl. And please don’t refer everyone to ‘you guy’ or ‘mtunguyas’. When you eventually become a veteran in your campus, you will  get to understand how irritating these terms are.

Tip:  Get to understand the language used in your environment. After doing so, chose the one you feel comfortable with and that you can communicate with at ease.

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2. Dressing

God knows I have always wanted to address this issue. First, not every look, outfit or design suits you, neither does any color. Heels look classy, but only in feet that can walk straight without creating the impression of a hunchback. Please spare yourself the excruciating pain and get yourself shoes that are comfortable for your feet and for the occasion. Flats and sandals are a good pair especially in between class and halls of residence. The lesser the heel the better for your feet. No one will think less of you or your behind because it’s not elevated to higher ground. Just because the rugged campus guy wears his jeans bellow his ass doesn’t guarantee that you will look just as good.

Highwaist jeans layered with a striking colorful belt to accessorize your outfit was originally a perfect post-modern mode of dressing but it has become my least favorite look. This is because every Audrey, Caro and Edith feels the power to put on one regardless of their waist size thus ruining the entire outfit. A flowing chiffon or dress top is layered with a belt to prevent your outfit from being all over the place and emphasizing the waistline. It makes no fashion sense putting on a fitting top and belt-it up. You might want to live within your means as far as hair dos are concerned. Neatly done braids held up in a ponytail work just fine compared to the catastrophe of killing yourself in the heat with a costly weave.

 Tip: fashion is largely self –defined. Take time to identify a style that suits your body type and size while being comfortable in it especially for ladies. Life is not suit-and-tie-serious. Cut your sweat glands some slack.


3. Social behavior

At this point of your life, your mind is basically open to every idea. Be careful however not to say yes to each and every idea that is introduced to you. You can never be too sure about who to trust. Take time to know people around you, their behavior and whether they act on impulse or a set of principles. Public displays of affection by men and women alike may at seem a bit out of place depending on your morals and values.  If you don’t condone it, it’s best to yourself. Do not try to give your friends the impression that you are all self-righteous about it. Same goes for sharing details about your life- most people simply don’t care. As Larry Winget author of ‘Shut up, Stop Whining and Get a Life’ puts it, “If you are unhappy, unsuccessful, and sick or broke-please keep it to yourself. The rest of us do not want or need to hear about it. So do not feel compelled to share.”

Tip: since your values and beliefs will eventually clash with others, learn to respect the beliefs of others and co-exist. Their values may not necessarily be ideal so keep calm.



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