Part 3 of 3: Victory Lap

“Im the type that’s gon’ go get it, no kidding.” – Nipsey Hussle

In one blink and breathe, my time abroad in South Africa has come to an end. The one chapter that I spent countless hours imagining and visualizing since I was 8-years-old is now complete. It is surreal that I have spent the first half of my 21 years on Earth living out my oldest childhood dream and I believe it will not fully settle in for weeks to come. However, what I am for sure now and what I have come to full terms of acknowledging and understanding is that I really am the type that will “gon’ go get it, no kidding.”

A lot of individuals, when giving speeches of their success, acknowledge their privilege whether consciously or unconsciously. It became repetitive and eventually normalized to the point where if someone was to achieve success by other means then it was seen as “different” or “interesting.” I knew that my success story would be in the “different” or “interesting” category and I wanted it to be intentional.

There are a lot of different people in the world. I did not fully understand this until I went to Georgetown and now, South Africa. For 18 years, I grew up in a Black community without much access to other walks of life and people. Television and social media taught me more about other people than experience. Eventually, the experience taught me more than social media. One thing that I constantly came across while experiencing the world and people was who is in certain parts of the world and why. Georgetown is a Predominately White Institution with an approximate Black population of 7%. In this instance, I became quite familiar with other walks of life and their success stories. Then, I arrived in South Africa and experienced a split of two worlds that I was familiar with. This is when I developed a strong sense of awareness in regards to who I am and who I represent in the world today.

When one takes a peek into my life and my journey, I often receive comments such as, “Wow. You make it look easy,” “You’ve been through so much yet you are doing amazing,” and “You let me know I can do it too.” What I have come to understand while abroad is that there is NO ONE WAY of having a successful life. My success is grounded in experiences in which I acquired skills such as humility, positivity, dedication, determination, and empathy. It is easy to post the positive side of my experience thus far but it only represents a fraction of what I have been through during my time in South Africa. Regardless, through every single thing that I have experienced, I would not change it for the world because without the experience I would not be who I am today.

All of the positives and fun things are mentioned when one discusses abroad. While all that we hear can be true about studying abroad, there is a side of the experience that is kept in the closet. The person that leaves the States and the person that returns are two COMPLETELY different people. It has now been a little over a week since I’ve been back in the States and I have experienced this first-hand. It is confusing, frustrating and angry to not know what that truly means although it is very evident that it is true. My first week back in America has been thee most interesting week of my life internally and externally. I quickly came to realize that although I have changed, the place that I came back to has not. However, it shows now more than ever that I have completed my personal Victory Lap and for that alone, I am extremely proud of myself and what I have accomplished thus far. Everyone’s Victory Laps vary by person and experience. What I would want anyone to take away from this is that no matter what, you can be and will be “the type that’s gon’ go get it, no kidding,” on your OWN terms.

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