There are over 400 international students from over 50 countries studying at the College of William & Mary. This is the story of one of our newest students, Damilola Ashaolu, who arrived this week from Lagos, Nigeria.
I barely remember the details of the day I found out about my acceptance to the College of William & Mary MBA program. I do remember calling up every member of my family and screaming the good news over the phone. I am not sure of the exact words I used, and I certainly do not remember what anyone else had to say.
For me, the admittance was more than just an acceptance into a great MBA program, it was also validation of all the effort I had put into the application process over the past year. It was a process that had been fraught with anxiety and nail biting tension as I kept checking my mail every hour for news. I am sure I read the acceptance letter 10 times before resorting to pinching myself just to make sure I was not dreaming.
I was very excited to begin and conclude the visa process. I purchased my one-way ticket a few days after securing my visa. Everything was going so well, even the packing! Or so I thought.
I went to the beach on my last weekend in Lagos and I was overwhelmed by the thought of leaving my family and friends. I realized that I was not preparing for a week vacation in Ghana, this was business school and much farther away than any place I had ever been. As I stood on the shores of the beach, I had to accept that nothing ever prepares one for the process of leaving the familiar for the uncertain.
Lagos is the city I call home. Its people are my people. Its beaches are my daily reminders that there is nothing I cannot do. Its failings are mine. Its successes I celebrate like I have won the lottery. Change is never easy, but it is necessary. I hope to make Lagos proud wherever I go.
Leaving it is the first step.
I am as ready as I will ever be.
Damilola Ashaolu is an incoming MBA student, class of 2013. She is from Lagos, Nigeria and hopes to specialize in brand management and marketing. Damilola loves to write and watch football in her spare time, and she blogs at Kiah.