I’m fortunate because of the help of my dad. He financed my private school education from daycare to high school, and he paid for my travel expenses and stuff. When my older sisters and I finished high school, he took us to the Embassy to get our Visas. He was my mentor. He meant everything to me. So, when he passed away in 2015, I reached my breaking point. I was like, that’s it for me.
We Facetimed each other a few hours before he passed away. He wasn’t sick or anything like that, so his death was shocking. But, before he passed away, he would always tell me, ‘It doesn’t matter how long I live. The most important thing is how I live. So, if I have to go today, keep praying and just know that in whatever kind of condition you find yourself, just have faith, keep pushing, and follow your dreams.’
Those words really meant a lot to me. Those words are the reason why I’m still here. Thank God, I’m here. Everything that I am today is because of my dad. He did everything for us. When he passed away, I became extra motivated to get my degree, get a good job, and provide for my mom. I hope that he’ll be proud of me some day.
I would really like to go back home and be a mentor or a role model for most of the kids back home, just to tell them to pursue their dreams. I would like to tell them to keep pushing, keep working hard, follow their dreams and I hope that the students in high school or middle school right now will have the same opportunities that I have and will be able to get some funding, some scholarships to pursue their dreams outside of Africa. I think that the main difference between people back home and people here is opportunities. There is nothing that we can’t do.”
– Sheikh, senior computer engineering major from Gambia