Finding Strength From Within

I remember the day pretty clearly, I set out to run in my first ever high school state championships when I was only in middle school. I was seeded 11th out of 16 and was not expected to win or place in the 400m. Even though the race was in my hometown, I hardly knew anybody in the arena apart from my family and coach, and I was the only person from my team to compete. I felt like an impostor. And I was going in blind.

Yet, that didn’t stop me from winning the New York State Championship title as a 14 year old 8th grader.

Fast forward 10 years, and I find myself in the same situation. Yesterday marked my final month in Durham, and 2 months from now I’ll be in Nigeria embarking on my Fulbright adventure. These days are getting very real and no matter how hard I “train” and try to learn, I am quickly realizing how little I know about the Yoruba language, culture, and people compared to what I think I’m supposed to know. I’ve also been struggling with huge writer’s block when writing my research protocol. I feel like an impostor.

Then I thought about my 14 year old self.

I realized that it is okay to not know everything when I get there. It’s okay to ask questions. And in a country where I won’t know anybody except my research professor and a few individuals I met on social media, it’s okay to form relationships while in Nigeria. Sometimes the best things in life happen when you don’t know what lies ahead. It’s okay to go in blind.

My Fulbright experience is going to be like a 400m sprint: long and hard at times, but well worth the race. I’m ready to push away the self doubts, step into the starting blocks, and get ready for another life changing run.

 

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