I may not be classified as an international student but I did move to the United States the year I began college. Prior to that, I was living in Zimbabwe. Born and raised in the city of Bulawayo, I grew up very reserved and may have lacked an element of self confidence. I came from a household where both my parents and grandparents were not very social and preferred to keep me occupied at home, with what felt like a mountain of responsibilities. While I did enjoy growing up there and miss climbing the rocks of Matopos, I felt restricted and my potential suppressed.
Moving to the United States marked a transition for me; not only geographically but also personally. I currently live in Mansfield, Texas and attend Tarrant County College–Southeast in Arlington, where I am working on obtaining my Associate of Science degree. I moved in with my uncle and his family while my parents work near Houston. This provided me with a sense of independence. Even though I have not exactly moved out, having more freedom allowed me to pursue new opportunities openly, without having to worry about my previous responsibilities as much. I could now focus on my education and building my future.
During my time at Tarrant County College, I was able to discover my potential. I saw myself excel in my academics but more importantly grow outside of the classroom. Jumping on every opportunity I came across exposed me to different learning experiences and incredible people. Joining Phi Theta Kappa (PTK), has been the most impactful opportunity that I pursued. This organization opened so many doors for me and helped me in so many ways than I ever expected when I first walked into one of their chapter meetings. Through my engagement in PTK I became a Regional Officer, planning regional conferences and speaking in front of fellow Phi Theta Kappans. This encouraged me to seek other leadership opportunities and get more involved on campus. I enjoyed participating in different clubs and organizations so much that I even got a work-study position at the Student Activities office. My PTK membership allowed me to apply for several scholarships, among which was the Pearson Scholarship for Higher Education. I am incredibly grateful for being one of the ten 2018 recipients. This scholarship helped me gain confidence in myself and my abilities. The fact that it is more than a monetary award makes it even more valuable. I intend on taking advantage of this amazing scholarship and continuing to step out of my comfort zone to reach for such opportunities.
I use the analogy of the African fish eagle to represent myself back in Zimbabwe and the bald eagle, here in the United States. Both birds, aside from being the national birds of these two countries, are very similar with the only major difference being their location. Similarly, I am the same person I was; however, coming to the United States has given me a different outlook on life, given me confidence and helped me see my potential to do more. I have grown to explore greater opportunities and developed a stronger passion to pursue my future goals. Moving forward I plan on spreading my wings. I hope to transfer to a four-year university outside of Texas. My dream school is Johns Hopkins University because I am intrigued by their Biomedical Engineering program. Ultimately, I hope to attend their medical school and become a surgeon. My experience has truly changed me but in a good way. I am optimistic of what my future will hold for me.