Selina Lwanga: The Law Student who  Dislikes Reading

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Imagine being passionate about something but disliking one of its biggest aspects! This definition of being stuck between a rock and a hard place is an accurate description of Selina’s dilemma when she began her Law degree.

Law and justice have been significant principles of Selina’s life since she was a child. One of her most used words was ‘wunfair’ (three-year-old Selina’s version of unfair) as she pointed out aspects of the world that she felt were unjust. Her fixation with justice led to one of her first aspirations—to be the first female Chief Justice in Kenya. Though this is no longer a possibility, Selina aspires to make an impact in her country, Kenya, through the letter of the law. At 7 years old, Selina decided that she wanted to be a lawyer and the rest was history. Her plan to attend law school began to form, one that would eventually lead her to Strathmore University.

Although Selina has a love for law, she has always disliked reading, which created an obstacle for her law career as reading is synonymous with the letter of the law. To overcome it, she found another way to learn what she needed —online learning materials. She found that the internet provided the information that she needed without bombarding her with too much information.  Although online learning became an important tool in her academic career, she still had to read so she had to pivot her perspective to view reading as the act of learning—a means to an end. She would read summaries and make sure to pay keen attention in class so as to grasp as much as she could.

Selina’s reading/learning process may be a bit unorthodox, but it worked. She is not only one of the best students graduating in her class, she was also president of the Strathmore Law Clinic, a role that saw her organize and manage events. Most notably, Selina helped plan and execute the 2023 Legal Aid Week where she and her team provided free legal advice that helped more than 60 cases.. At the Law Clinic, Selina bonded with her team as they dealt with the challenges of running the clinic while being full time law students. She described the experience as them “losing their minds” saying “We’re losing our minds but let’s lose our minds together,” as she smiled nostalgically. This experience taught her to prioritize and establish boundaries between the different aspects of her life. All in all, she says having to balance school, the clinic and an internship in the Safaricom Legal Department made her stronger and showed her that she is a lot more capable than she thought.

The SLS international trip to the Netherlands was another big bonding experience for Selina. It presented the opportunity to build new memories and friendships with her coursemates while exploring a foreign land and culture, while learning from a new perspective. One of the most notable aspects of life abroad that she liked was that people actively wanted to do the jobs they had. In her words “ people are not taken to work, instead, they come to work”.

A lecture at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) during the international trip re-awakened her zeal to help her country through the law despite her previous apprehension of international law. The session opened her up to thinking “maybe I can’t be the first female chief justice but I can still do something for Kenya.”

At the end of her Strathmore journey, Selina stands poised at the threshold of a new beginning, having navigated the challenging terrain with determination and ingenuity. Her dream of pursuing justice has only grown stronger, now enriched with a pragmatic understanding of the legal world and her capabilities. Despite her initial aversion to reading, Selina has emerged victorious in her pursuit of her degree, an inspiration to those who share her  aversion to reading yet possess a passion for law and justice.

 

Article written by Emily Olowo

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