Graduate Spotlight: Ashley Namachanja – Beginning new chapters
When I look back at my past four years at Strathmore University, I look back at quite a journey. My best moments therefore, are holistically structured. Spiritually, I have really appreciated the spiritual activities put together by Chaplaincy for the spiritual growth of all.
Academically, my first ever best moment was making it to the Dean’s List. It was the first time I had ever heard of such a thing. Sounds prestigious, doesn’t it? I remember feeling beyond ecstatic, not only because my friends were there too but also because it inspired me from the very beginning to be a diligent worker while growing intellectually. I have much gratitude for my lecturers and formators as they have helped me in multiple ways. Socially, the icing has to be meeting new people. I have met people in different capacities who are now dear to me.
Life as a Stratizen
I dreaded presentations. This is ironic because communication specialists are assumed to be eloquent, both verbally and written. Any units that required multiple in-class presentations or actual projects were particularly challenging for me. One unit I remember struggling with was Principles of Ethics; oh my goodness! The concepts were very hard to grasp as I constantly wondered why the study of good and/or bad needed so much more in between if that makes sense. I tend to prefer units that need cognitive analysis or in-depth reading like social psychology, or communication theory.
A quick dash to buy the heavenly Siwaka donuts. I loved the… My friends would however probably refute that by saying I loved the library most. In fact, one of my friends nicknamed me ‘Namanerd’. I admit I loved being there, especially in the evening when the university was beautifully lit. I really enjoyed Mass. Strathmore University Choir is just as angelic as it gets. Not to mention key Stratizen events that made university life memorable, such as the Annual Founders Week Movie, Cultural Week, Karaoke nights and flea markets.
In my first year, I was in the Debate Club, DRAMSOC, Marketing Club, and Chorale. Later on, I joined the Mental Health Club. In my final year, I served as president of the founding team of the Strathmore Communication and Consultancy Clinic; a student-led organisation under the School of Humanities and Social Sciences fostering communication practice.
Going Places with SU
Recently, after the COVID 19 regulations were eased, the School Humanities and Social Sciences (SHSS) organised an International Academic trip to Spain! Since I had studied Spanish as my elective, this was a trip that I could not miss.
Spain was very exciting for me. It felt like a dream, seeing the places we culturally read about in class. Pamplona stood out the most for me, Madrid was young at heart and thrilling, while Toledo was beautifully historic. We also went to Paris, France –our final stop during the trip. It had the most amazing croissants as well as lovely historic sites, the most popular one inevitably being the Eiffel Tower.
While at Strathmore, I got the opportunity to travel to the USA for a work camp in Milwaukee, Wisconsin which was very interesting to me. When my mentor first mentioned it, I had no idea she was referring to a camp outside the country and continent. I was quite anxious about it, yet eager at the same time. I remember seeking my mother’s and cousin’s advice because I had an internship opportunity beginning around the same time in Kenya. I told myself what they say is a sign from God whether to go or stay. That was one of the times in my life I am so glad I listened to adults! It was my first time in the States. Every aspect of it was a learning curve, day in and day out. From the food, to the technological advancements, culture, housing, work norms, weather, it was all new to me. Being a counsellor to those 14 young pre-teens is something that has moulded me more this year. Teaching Maths, English and Character was not easy. It felt like I had 14 children to take care of for 8 weeks. They taught me patience, understanding, and care. In their own ways, they made my stay there worthwhile. I have always assumed a teaching role to be intense, but that experience made me appreciate that nurturing role all the more.
Who was Namachanja in 1st year and who is she now?
In first year, Namachanja Ashley was eager to begin university yet somewhat uncertain about this final phase of 8-4-4. I remember thinking, will I manage this dress code? Will I keep up with the extremely fast-paced learning? Will I achieve my set goals and aspirations?
The Namachanja Ashley now is glad to have experienced these past four years of her higher learning life with Strathmore University, and she has more vivid ambitions that she will relentlessly pursue. She feels more self-aware, more confident in her being, and definitely more intellectually and emotionally mature.
I hope to further my studies, specifically in Literature. I believe in and value the power of storytelling, which I think is necessary and fulfilling. I would further love to publish my play that I have been working on for some time later on this year and subsequently my other manuscripts. My interest in communication practice would focus on public relations and branding. My other massive interest is in music; I aspire to sing too.
What will you miss the most about SU?
I will miss everything. In life, experiences are there for a reason and without the other, the experience would therefore be incomplete.
This article was written by Jemmy Kamau and Ashley Namachanja.
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