Graduate Spotlight: Mishael Wambua
Mishael is best known to many as one of the three students who placed Strathmore in the international limelight after winning the 2019 John H. Jackson Moot Court on World Trade Organization (WTO) Law. He gives the first in a series of interviews on the Class of 2020 #StrathmoreExperience.
Did the four-year experience turn out to be what you expected?
(Chuckles) No. Admittedly, I expected Strathmore to offer quality education but not at the level it did. Whenever I’m asked about Strathmore I always use the analogy of life as a mountain. Ideally, the different peaks of the mountain are the different milestones we attain and set for ourselves. The 8-4-4 system and life after university represents different peaks. Just as in mountain climbing, from the start we are not all equal because of varying reasons. Perhaps some have better climbing gear than others. This represents the inequality of human beings in life.
When a student enrolls in Strathmore, it means they have got to the third peak of the 8-4-4 system. What they do here will determine how well they are able to continue climbing the mountain. What Strathmore does, is to attempt to create an equal platform for its students to continue climbing regardless of the state of their climb thus far.
First, it equally reinforces the climbing gear of all its students. Secondly, it puts them in a helicopter and takes them round the mountain showing them all the peaks ahead thereby opening their minds to the possibility of getting to the top. So, regardless of the climbing gear you had at the foot of the mountain (birth), you get to see what diligence and determination could earn you. The helicopter in this case is Strathmore’s world-class faculty, infrastructure, experiences, and systems. I never expected this, and I don’t think I would have got this elsewhere.
You’re part of the Class of 2020 worldwide forced to end their last year in campus in a rather unorthodox manner. How do you plan to celebrate your graduation?
(Laughs). Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic has put on hold many plans that we all had. But we continue to pray and trust in God for His guidance and protection. If Strathmore has a physical graduation (which I fervently pray it does) once all this is over, I’ll probably celebrate my graduation with a family dinner followed by a night out with friends.
What are some of the highs of being at Strathmore Law School (SLS)?
How do I summarise four years into a paragraph or a sentence or two? The stint of time between writing my last K.C.S.E. paper, and now waiting to graduate seems to have lapsed so fast. It’s been coupled with many highs.
Particularly, I will always fondly remember and treasure: having had the pleasure of interacting with some of the faculty members whose dedication, knowledge and commitment were awesome; my amazing classmates, who have made this journey much easier with their humor as well as their rich intellectual muscle; my group-mates who made group-work look so effortless (yes, group work can be effortless! And yes, the SLS Class of 2020 knows Kalimanyancy – that was actually the name of the group – was the best group); and the house-keeping department!!! I cannot understate how much I love clean washrooms and compounds. The house-keeping department was able to maintain this for four years, so that was definitely a high!
What difficulties should a 1st year student at SLS expect to encounter?
I cannot think of anything other than the usual challenges of university life, for instance struggling to balance social and academic life, meeting strict deadlines, and ensuring they submit meticulous work. But I will tell the Class of 2024 this: fall in love with the systems of the school and you will be equipped to reach the highest peak of the mountain.
What in your four years do you think will leave the mark that “Mishael was here”?
The Three Red Hearts of Strathmore’s Coat of Arms represent the common aim of parents, teachers, and students in the educational process of Strathmore. To me, the hearts can only be red and full when all three do their part in order to attain the common aim. What leaves a mark that “Mishael was here” is that I diligently and faithfully did my part as a “heart” on all fronts.
I excelled academically. I served my community through the Community Outreach Programme on several occasions e.g. going to visit inmates in prison. I served in the Senate of the 2017-18 Students’ Council and later unsuccessfully sought the students’ mandate to serve them as their Secretary General. I represented the University at an international level (twice) and thankfully brought home trophies. To put it simply, I was an unofficial ambassador of the University – and a diligent one at that!
(Nervous Laugh) This is a hard question. I am looking forward to my Master’s at the World Trade Institute (WTI), come September. (Hesitates) But really, what’s next is bigger than that. It’s bigger than myself. The Kenyan national anthem and loyalty pledge require of its citizens, their life and strength in nation building. So really, what’s next is building Kenya with my life and strength. I pray that I can be a diligent ambassador of Kenya as I have been of Strathmore. Congratulations to the Class of 2020! We made it!