Christabel Koomson, an international student from Ghana studying at the Bryn Mawr College is a finalist for the ISV Magazine Margaret W. Wong Scholarship. Read her essay here!
Even before I set to writing this piece, I had asked myself this question several times and yet several times I had laughed it off. However, I finally agreed with myself to put my fear of failure, in this case, not winning the scholarship contest aside and still give this a try. Failure before several times in Ghana, has left me crippled in most situations yet as the famous writer, the late Maya Angelou put it, “still I rise”. My dream to become a medical doctor, whose works extend to the underserved globally, was and still is one that I hold on to very dearly. As such, I tried other options like the SATs to study in the states where I could benefit from a global perspective. I got accepted into Bryn Mawr College where I could enroll as undeclared and later declare a major that best supported my journey into the medical field.
This is what I have come to appreciate about America; second chances. Although as international students we roll our eyes at the seemingly know it all attitude of most Americans, it is undoubtedly true that it is a country where success is assured if the right measures and routes are taken. I have come to appreciate the open mindedness of the greater population, the willingness to give anyone who is determined to succeed a chance, and how failure does not necessarily mean that one is a failure but that one is a step ahead of those that refused to try. And having been brought up in a culture where failure was almost unaccepted and a mistake you made was likely to be held against you for the rest of your life, studying in America is a breath of fresh air.
To be taught by professors, some of who have travelled the length and breadth of this earth and yet are still very humble, accommodating and willing to explain is a blessing. In my freshman year, my chemistry professor told me something that I had never thought of and yet, will now resonate with me in all my days on earth. That the only person I’m in a competition with is myself; to make sure I’m a better person tomorrow than I was yesterday. I’m allowed to make mistakes, if only I will learn from them. I have met several people from all over the world, who have different virtues than I have, and my ability to be tolerant, open minded and accommodating continues to be improved daily. I have encountered several opportunities I wouldn’t have encountered in Ghana, by virtue of meeting people from all over the world.
I now approach issues differently, with a broader perspective of life and not just the Ghanaian view. The pragmatic way of learning and the exposure to global issues still continues to be one of the things that sharpen my critical thinking abilities essential for medical schools. I thus can say that my stay and study in America are not only preparing me for the outside world, but are helping me on the path of becoming an open minded doctor who will take on global issues.[typography font=”Lobster” size=”18″ size_format=”px”]Christabel Koomson[/typography]
Home Country: Ghana
University/College: Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania