They say that the one constant in life is change. It can be relied upon, maybe even anticipated, but rarely expected. How you adapt to change, embrace it and make the most of it can define how well you thrive in the situations in which you find yourself. You cannot control change, but you can control how you respond to it.
From a very young age, Fancy knew she wanted to earn a doctorate degree. To her, it was the epitome of academic success. Sitting across from Dr Fancy Too, one wonders what that little girl would have felt if she had looked into the future and discovered that all her dreams would come true.
Fast forward years later, to a young and eager law student at Moi University, full of hopes to go into corporate law, she completed her undergraduate, and followed the well-worn path to Kenya School of Law. Never leaving behind her dreams of academic achievements, she moved to the UK to study her masters in corporate law. Having come from a humble background, her experience living and studying abroad was truly eye opening. “Exposure outside of the small world of a person from a humble beginning shows you there is so much the world can offer”.
Right off her masters, Dr Too thought it was time to put her studies to task and join the corporate world. However, her dream of studying for a PhD was still alive and well. With advice from her peers, she realized that juggling the two would be challenging, to say the least. Perhaps an academic track would make more sense while she completed her studies. And sure enough, she found that studying and teaching were a natural blend. So much so that she would sometimes find herself learning material relevant to her doctoral studies while preparing notes for her classes.
Academia was never her intended path, but she took to it like a fish to water. Within a year of teaching, she was head of her department, gradually rising to become the associate dean and finally the dean of the law school at Kabarak University. This is a time she looks back at with pride. The strides and achievements made as dean reflect directly on one of her life lessons; “as a woman, it is important to learn to apply yourself, give your all to everything you do, and in doing so earn the respect and spaces you will occupy”.
Midway through her second term as dean, she chose to leave. As many women do, she was balancing between work and family, giving each the priority it deserved. When the time came to make a change for the happiness of her family, she looked at the work she had done as Dean, felt she had given her all, and decided to move to Nairobi and take up the role of Director of Graduate Studies at Strathmore Law School.
Along her journey of law, leadership and academia, Dr. Too discovered a passion that she had never thought existed within her. “There is so much more to it than teaching, it triggered a passion for me – a passion in mentoring youth”. Her work in academia goes beyond imparting technical knowledge, it allows her to directly impact so many young people. Even now, working with graduate students, she finds she is able to guide and encourage them all the way to the finish line.
Full Circle Moments
Recently, Dr Too began to experience a full circle shift into what she thought she’d always do – corporate law. With an appointment to the board of directors at Kenya Revenue Authority, she says she can use her knowledge to impact the corporate sector. Life can be funny that way, where one route eventually leads to another, and the decisions you make lead you to the right moment. She says her appointment to the board is one of the three proudest moments of her career so far, alongside the day she completed her doctoral studies.
Her full circle moment, she says, will be becoming a professor – the ultimate realization of her academic endeavors.
This article was written by Celia Kinuthia.
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