We had fun a lot of fun together! ~ Tess Aseka- BDP #ClassOf2024 Graduate Spotlight


As I sat down with Tess Aseka, I was immediately struck by her infectious enthusiasm and radiant smile. It was as if the mere mention of her university experience had unlocked a treasure trove of memories, each one more vivid and precious than the last.

Tess is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in development and philosophy—one of the most challenging courses at Strathmore University. What led her here , you might ask?

You see, Tess has always loved conservation. When she found this course, she knew she wanted it. “Philosophy opens up your way of thinking,” she says, her eyes lighting up with excitement. The Development side of the course offers a chance to explore the complexities of human experience, from the intricacies of global politics to the nuances of community development. From the moment she stepped into her first philosophy class, she was swept away by a tidal wave of ideas. “I never thought about philosophy until I stumbled into this class,” she confesses, her eyes shimmering with the wonder of a child discovering a secret stash of candy.

And what a ride it has been! From grappling with the fundamental questions of existence, “How do I know I even exist?” And most importantly, if I hit the snooze button one more time, will I still make it to my 8 a.m. class?” 

Tess’s intellectual journey has been nothing short of a comedic masterpiece. 

As she navigated the ups and downs of university life, she found solace in the sense of community that had developed around her. Her classmates, who had started out as strangers, had evolved into a tight-knit group of friends, bound together by a shared sense of humor, a love for memes, and a collective understanding that Netflix was the answer to all of life’s problems.  “Landing in a class where my classmates are my best friends was a blessing,” she says, her eyes sparkling. Together, they weathered the storms of first-year philosophy, where even the brightest minds found themselves scratching their heads and questioning their very sanity.

“We’ve been through so much together, and I know that no matter where life takes us, we’ll always have that bond.”

I am curious about what really goes into training a young philosopher.  “Philosophy undoes and redoes your thinking. And let’s not forget the added bonus of being able to use words like ‘epistemology’ and ‘metaphysics’ in everyday conversation,” she muses, as she looks back at her transformative journey. The lecturers, too, played a significant role in shaping her experience, offering guidance and support with a democratic, approachable style, which was code for “they didn’t make us cry… .”

Tess’ adventure, however,  began like any good story—with a rough start.

“First year was terrible, and philosophy was particularly difficult,” she  admits, her face contorted in a dramatic display of anguish. But despite the brain-melting coursework, something clicked.  “It’s challenging, but once you get it, it’s like a light bulb moment. That’s why some people drop it, but as you engage with it, it becomes more familiar.” 

But Tess’s university experience has been more than just an academic pursuit; it has been a holistic journey of personal growth, exploration, and the occasional costume party. Alongside her philosophy studies, she has been active in extracurriculars, such as KMUN and AIESEC, where she was vice president. These experiences let her use her creativity and energy and develop her leadership.

“AIESEC has been one of the best decisions I’ve made in university,” Tess confesses. “It has developed my leadership abilities and given me a deeper understanding of global issues. Plus, the networking opportunities are out of this world! I’ve met diplomats, and CEOs.” 

But let’s be real, university life is not all unicorns. There were times when Tess had to drop drama (the club, not the attitude) for AIESEC because of the demanding schedule. And in the moments when her schedule cleared up,she was a constant figure at the Strathmore Swimming club. And despite the demands of her various commitments, Tess admits that resilience and determination have shone through for her. 

Fast forward to the countdown to graduation day, and Tess is practically pinching herself. “I can’t believe I made it,” she exclaims, “and not just because I survived on a diet of instant noodles and caffeine for four years!” Looking ahead, Tess has  got big plans. From a potential career with the United Nations Environmental Program to exploring her passion for art and creativity, including the possibility of modeling, her horizons are boundless.

 “When people ask me what I study, I say I’m a philosopher,” she declares, her voice oozing with pride. “It’s something that’s been added to my identity, and it’s a label I wear with honor—and a touch of glitter, just to keep things interesting.”

The young girl, who once found herself lost in the world of philosophical enquiry, now proudly proclaims, “I am a philosopher.”

As our conversation draws to a close, I ask Tess to reflect on her journey, and what she had learned along the way. Her response was characteristically thoughtful and articulate. “Consistency is key,” she emphasized, “but so is knowing when to take a nap, or three. You have to be willing to put in the work, even when it gets tough, and even when Netflix is calling your name.” 

How does it feel for her to be graduating? 

“Graduating is actually really rewarding,” she beams , her eyes shining with pride. “I didn’t think I would make it, but here I am, with a degree.” After all, Philosophy is like a box of chocolates—you never know what you’re gonna get, but it’s always delicious!

And remember, in the words of the great Descartes, ‘I think, therefore I am… late for class.'”

The End. Or, as philosophers might say, “To Be Continued…”

Article written by Keith Albert


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