Olivia from Ghana: Get out there, feel life

Article by: Olivia


Don’t sit and wait. Get out there, feel life.

~Rumi

So far, the spring quarter has been going well for me – I’ve been gaining more confidence to speak up in class. I’ve started voicing my opinions in discussion groups. I’ve been meeting up with classmates for lunch and spending time with my neighbor in my dorm. Plus, I have really been loving all my classes. But I still felt like I was missing out on something. I hadn’t yet attended a major campus event and even though there are various activities on campus at any given time, it seemed like I was always the last person to find out about them.

The first week of May seemed like an ordinary week with the same classes and the same schedule, but it was not. This time, I knew exactly what was happening on campus. It was during that week that I caught a glimpse of how exciting campus life could be.  It was all the buzz on campus – the notable annual event hosted by the African Students United, dubbed “Take Me to Africa.” A night full of African culture? There was no way I was going to miss that.

But when the day of the event finally came, I started to get cold feet. I noticed myself coming up with excuses for me not to go. I kept telling myself that, since I wasn’t going with anyone, there was no way I could walk from my dorm room to Sturm Hall in my African print dress… that would attract too many eyes! I was so close to talking myself out of going, but there was something else telling me that I would regret passing up an opportunity like this.

I managed to convince myself to get over my irrational hesitation and get to that event!

I compromised with myself and devised a plan to go to Sturm Hall in my normal clothes and then change in one of the bathrooms once I got there. It’s pretty hilarious now that I think about it, but it got me to “Take Me to Africa,” and I don’t regret a thing!

It was everything I had looked forward to – a night showcasing African popular culture. There were dance performances from several different African countries, moving poems and songs, runway fashion shows, and foods from all over the continent! It all brought back an element of nostalgia. I felt a sense of home because I was surrounded by people who share my culture. Being there, I felt really proud of myself for mustering up the courage to go.

And when I was there, I noticed that I didn’t feel lonely at all.

I met one of my friends from my math class and we sat together and had a great time. And the best part was that I ran into an old classmate of mine from one of the schools I attended in Ghana. It was such a wonderful experience; one I could never have got sitting in my dorm room. And as I walked back to my dorm that night, I was more content than I had been the whole quarter.

Sitting in my room right now and recollecting the details of that night, I realize that if I had not gathered the courage to go to the event I would have never met up with my old classmate and made a lifelong friend!

I suppose that as corny as Rumi sounds in his quote, he speaks nothing but the truth. Getting out there and feeling life truly does fulfill that missing aspect in our repetitive schedule. Maybe I lose a few points for being so shy that I had to change in the bathroom, but I know that going to “Take Me to Africa” was a step in the right direction to achieving a memorable college experience.

 



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