What you need to know beyond your form 4 Grade

By Elkanah Nyauma

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That initial rush of elation upon leaving high school and getting your Form 4 grades has long faded. Even the disappointment of realizing that obtaining an national ID doesn’t grant you the freedom in comparison to the current pressure you’re navigating.

Chances are, your phone is buzzing with calls, texts, and messages from classmates, friends, and even distant relatives who overlooked sending you a success card. You might either be reveling in the warmth of well-wishes and gifts or evading disapproving glances from those who expected better results.

Reflecting on my own experience, the day results were released meant tension as you waited for an SMS from the Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC). This anticipation made me incredibly anxious about what the outcome would be.

The revelation of your grades marked the initiation of a new chapter, involving the nerve-wracking task of sharing the news with your parents. Responses varied from agony to anger and, for the fortunate few, widespread jubilation.

Subsequently, the pressure intensified from classmates who outperformed you, adding a layer of frustration for those who consistently outshone them in the preceding four years. Neighbors and relatives, brimming with ideas on how you could have performed better, only heightened the stress.

However, amidst this tumultuous period, there are a few truths that seem to be overlooked:

  1. Your Form 4 Grade Doesn’t Define You: That alphanumeric representation will not dictate the entirety of your life. A decade down the road, I found myself pursuing a path entirely different from my initial aspirations. Your career trajectory may lead you to work alongside individuals with lesser grades, and that’s perfectly acceptable.
  2. Academics Aren’t the Sole Key to Success: While Kenya education may open doors, it doesn’t guarantee longevity in a particular field. Contrary to the pervasive notion that success hinges solely on academic achievements, the stories of thriving entrepreneurs and athletes outside the conventional academic realm abound.
  3. University Isn’t the Ultimate Benchmark: Attending a public university is no longer the exclusive marker of success. The narrative has evolved, and the multitude of options, including private universities, technical schools, vocational training, and proprietary institutions, offer a diverse array of paths. The outdated notion that repeating form four is a necessity should be discarded.
  4. Decisions Shouldn’t Be Dictated by Your Form 4 Grade: Your grade doesn’t prescribe your career path. Whether you scored an A or a C, pursuing a field merely because it seems ‘serious’ is not obligatory. Your happiness takes precedence, and there are ample opportunities to follow your passion and create a fulfilling life.

In conclusion, your dreams are valid, regardless of societal expectations. Listen to your heart, not the opinions of others. You have the capacity to navigate this phase successfully. You will be just fine.

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