It all started in the fall, the first semester of his graduate class, precisely masters, in a US university. Peter came from a remote part of an African country where he had spent all his life before coming to the US. He had a bachelors in economics. His first experience in class in the first semester almost led him to make a decision he would have regretted, but the story changed.
The first semester could be very challenging. Peter’s first day in class was filled with surprises. He could barely recognize any of the new faces of students whose nationalities spanned across many countries and continents of the world. He was the only black person in their midst. The professor teaching economics was an American. He had an American accent that Peter could hardly understand. He was completely lost during the first day in class as he struggled to understand the new teaching methodology (powerpoint presentation ) and the foreign accent of the professor that left him bemused.
The stories and analogies employed by the professor sounded so western that he could hardly make sense out of them. He was worried wondering if he could ever succeed in the school and make good grades as he had hoped. He had lost interest in the three hours that the lecture had lasted. The lecture ended at 10 pm. He hurriedly left the classroom, completely dissatisfied as he drove home contemplating if he would still continue.
The thought of dropping the class kept ringing in his mind as he laid sleepless on his bed that night. The night seemed to have been far spent when suddenly he discovered that he had spent hours awake trying to resolve the confusions in his head. He was really determined to continue in spite of all odds. He prayed briefly and went to sleep. The next morning, he was awakened by a gentle tap at the door. He opened the door to behold a strange-looking man with a bald head and protruding belly. He almost skipped a breath as he clutched strongly to the handle of his door, gripped by fear. Peter was wondering who this strange man could be when the man gently said “Hi, good morning” and introduced himself as Mr. Polandrius, a professor of economics. Peter responded “Welcome sir! ” and cheerfully introduced himself further with a smiling face ” I am Peter and a student of economics at UCmens”. The encounter was a wonderful coincidence. (A professor of economics visiting a student of economics). It was for Peter, the greatest surprise of his life. He was relieved of his fears as he kept wondering what could be the mission of this man.
Mr. Polandrius was the owner of the property where Peter was living. Peter had never seen him in the past three months that he had packed into the house. He had been welcomed by the property manager who was Hispanic.
Mr. Polandrius had been told about a young vibrant tenant and a student of economics from Africa who had packed into his house in LA, and he had decided to come around to see the student during one of his visits to the property. Mr. Polandrius was actually looking for an African student who would help him in data collection in his ongoing research and he thought Peter could be a good option; so that was why he had come by.
Still standing at the door, a few minutes of conversation ensued between Peter and Mr. Polandruis who gave Peter an invitation to his office in UCaccord.
Peter was excited at the invitation which he accepted almost spontaneously. For him, this was a beginning of good things to come “I won’t miss this opportunity “ he said to himself, smiling inwardly and went back into his room as he bade farewell to Mr. Polandrius who drove off in a black Lexus SUV.
The weeks ran by and the day Peter was invited by Mr. Poladrius came. Meanwhile, things had not improved in terms of his experience in class. The excitement though, of being invited by Mr. Polandrius was still there as he drove down to his office. He was warmly welcomed with a cup of coffee, which he sipped quickly. Mr. Polandrius went straight to the business of the invitation which was offering Peter an opportunity to help him in collecting data in Africa for his research. Peter gladly accepted to help. To enable Peter to be close to him, Mr. Polandrius requested that he should transfer to his school UCaccord and promised to take care of any cost involved.
By the spring semester, Peter had completed his transfer to UCaccord which was for him, far better than the former school.
Things started getting better academically and the thought of quitting never crossed his mind again. He studied so hard in that spring semester and made a 3.9 GPA. His story changed with that encounter with Mr. Polandrius. Peter traveled to Africa each summer for two years to collect data for Mr. Polandrius. He was sponsored by the school for the travels.
Mr. Polandrius saw the genius in Peter and made him a graduate assistant in the school of economics. Peter graduated with an outstanding GPA and today he is an adjunct professor in one of the prestigious universities in the US.
The moral of the story:
Don’t think about quitting right from your very first encounter with any difficulty in academics; you can deal with it if you are determined.
Who you are and what you have will someday pull you out from the pit of nothingness. So don’t give up.
God’s favors always locate you when you never expect it. Yours may be coming.
Work hard and be true to who you are. Nothing pays as being a responsible, honest and hardworking student.
©Clem C Aladi (2019)