The Kenyan Nomad

The Kenyan Nomad

Monday, February 15, 2016

Believe in the Extraordinary

The universe works in strange and often mysterious ways. Whatever your religious beliefs (or lack thereof), I doubt you can argue against this fact. And often, you're reminded of this fact when you're least expecting it.

Today, I was having a pretty normal day- client meeting in the morning, and came home to chat with my mum for a little bit before sitting back to work. When talking to my mum, she reminded me of something amazing that happened to me a few years ago, and just how lucky I was, and it made me realise that I'd never talked about it on my blog before. So, here goes...

Picture taken by Caroline Williams, C'14

A little over 6 years ago, I was in the process of preparing and sending out my college applications. I had decided that I wanted to study in the U.S. (because studying in Kenya or the U.K. would have restricted me to a single subject, and I wanted to do more), but there was a bit of a struggle in that coming from a British educational system, I knew little to nothing about the American educational system- and neither did the careers department from my high school.

I was forced to look outside my school system for help on applications and prerequisite examinations like the SATs, and so I ended up at the American Educational Advisory Center in Nairobi. Again, here, due to a lack of information on my part, most of the universities I applied to were chosen by someone else.

When studying for my SATs, I met an admissions counsellor from Sewanee: The University of the South. He wasn't here for a school visit, so our meeting was complete coincidence. I had never heard of Sewanee before, which now actually astounds me, considering its reputation (to give you a hint, one of my best friends turned down Harvard for Sewanee without even thinking about it twice). He spoke to a group of us about Sewanee and also spoke of the five full merit scholarships that were awarded annually to international students. At this point, I thought that there was NO WAY I would ever make the cut. I was a good student, but competing with hundreds of others from around the world for 5 spots at such a highly ranked school? I really didn't think I'd ever make it. I wasn't even sure I would get in!

Anyway, the talk piqued my interest, and I started to do more research into Sewanee. The more I learnt, the more impressed I was, and I decided to apply.

March 2010: I found out I got in. I wasn't selected for one of the five full scholarships... but I was their first alternate! I was absolutely astounded- I honestly hasn't expected this at all.

April 2010: In addition to all the extraordinary line of events leading up to this, one of the original five turned down their scholarship- which meant that I got it!

Of course, I was ecstatic at this point. This was a fantastic opportunity at a fantastic school, and six years after the whole process, I can honestly say that going to Sewanee was the best decision I've made in my life so far.

In addition to the amazing education I got and the networks I'm now a part of (graduating from Sewanee is like joining a huge and happy global family who're more than willing to help each other out), Sewanee gave me the very best of friends and mentors and memories I'll treasure for ages!

From never having heard of this school to discovering how amazing it was to thinking I may not get in to not only getting in but being awarded a full scholarship, I feel like my life so far is proof that sometimes, the unexpected happens in the most extraordinary of ways!

At graduation, an amazing 4 years later

I think I needed to reflect on this and write about it today. Thanks for the reminder Mum!



Unknown said...

True...and that's why they say, always be prepared... because you never know when we step out...and life will step in! Amazing article!

The Kenyan Nomad said...

Thank you, Alia!

TW said...

Yes, amazing indeed! That was a blessing which came absolutely unexpected. To get a place which suited you & then even get the full scholarship was indeed God's design. And often, we don't count our blessings.

Popular Posts