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Four and a half exhilarating and exhausting years have flown by, and what I am most grateful for is the discovery of self.

Like many of my classmates in Nigeria, I graduated high school at age 15, and because I had planned to pursue higher education abroad, my parents required a gap year from me. Not only did they believe that an American college campus was not the most appropriate environment for my growth at that age, I was also fresh out of boarding school. At the time, I contended the notion, but as they insinuated from the many talks we had, the world was a mystery to me, and I probably was a mystery to myself.

I took the gap year, after all, “he who pays the piper calls the tune.” I applied to various schools for one major or the other, I did not know what I had a knack for, so I decided whichever one I got into would be the one I would go with. It happened that I got into all of them, so I did what I knew how to do best and ignored the dilemma facing me.

I think part of me wanted my parents to decide so I could absolve myself of all responsibility in case things went south. However, time was of the essence and my mother pressed. I went ahead and prayed about it. I did not know what I was praying for because I did not know what I wanted, but I hoped God knew. Either way, I was absolving myself, and was fully prepared to blame God if things went in a less than desirable direction. I was 16, responsibility and I were acquainted, but we were definitely not friends.

Fast forward to Hardin-Simmons University. I landed on campus thinking I was the wisest I could ever be, probably thought I was the smartest in the room at any given moment, close-minded as can be and just so certain of who I was. And then it began. Class after class, interaction after interaction, question after question, every encounter brought about so much instability that my foundations which I thought I had firmly entrenched, soon crumbled.

My beliefs, opinions and perspectives were challenged so heavily that for the first time in my life, I made the conscious decision to listen. I had believed up until that point that I was a lone soldier, but I soon learned that when I make a conscious decision to be part of God’s community, the world does not change, my lenses do.

Boy, did my lenses change. I felt a ton of emotion, excitement, fear, confusion, preparedness and at the same time, felt so much peace and happiness in my metamorphosis that had been set in motion. I do not mean to brag, but Hardin-Simmons presented me with a point of view I refuse to believe I could have gotten from anywhere else. I have felt like an avatar in a game. At every checkpoint, I pick up a brick and rebuild my foundation and at every level, I find a piece of myself.

In my opinion, I have fully rebuilt my foundation. What I appreciate about foundation 2.0 is the absence of certainty. I now know that I do not know it all. I am neither the wisest nor the smartest, what I am is present. I do not scream SOS or feel submerged in distress anymore. Challenges, external conflicts, open mindedness, community, responsibility etc. are structures I have come to embrace. I may still be a mystery to myself, but now I know and it’s okay.

I would like to say that I chose Hardin-Simmons, but that is a lie, God chose Hardin-Simmons for me.


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