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Ututu Oma, America!

Photo by Gabriel Jaggernauth

As an international student, I have been living in America for a year.

Being international comes with its ties, but everything I had dreamt about turned out to be a figment of my imagination.

Many people back in Nigeria believe that this is the land of milk and honey and that your dreams will come true. And they will–once you dig past the surface. 

Getting off the plane a year ago, I thought I was going to see tall buildings and a busy atmosphere. Instead, vast green fields greeted me. For a split second, I thought I was in the wrong country. Every American movie I had ever watched only mentioned places like New York, Los Angeles and every other big city.

Was I disappointed? Yes. I honestly thought that every state in this country looked like the stereotypes I’d seen on television: big cities, bustling streets. Then once I got to America, all I ever saw on CNN were black individuals being shot by the police only to be later found innocent after death.

Just like that, I realized I was not here on a two-week holiday with my family and cousins. Instead, I was left alone with my conscience to get me through the next four years of my life.

I did not know how I was going to be treated and was hoping I would not be judged by my color or appearance. However, being here I realized I have nothing to be ashamed of and there is always something individuals should embrace about themselves.

Long story short, my experience during the first week was not the greatest, but I decided to make the most of it. I have formed excellent relationships here. I got plugged into a local church and met my best friends there.

The key is to put yourself out there. Join clubs, go to various events, find a job and learn new things. Just get out of your comfort zone. There is so much to do at ORU if you just get engaged.

Once I learned that nobody is expecting me to fail—not just in school, but in life—I decided that I should be the best I can be.

The memories and experiences you gain here will last a lifetime. Knowledge is power; it does not take long before you see it. I hope to graduate as a better version of myself—Chisom 2.0.

I like being here. And only time will tell if I will stay after my college years.

It doesn’t matter what the future holds; just make sure you are prepared to face every obstacle thrown at you.