June 7, 2017

New ways of seeing: a blend of passions

As a child, spinning on an office chair at my dad’s desk, I discovered the power of digital technology. Playing “Myst” and other computer games transported me to another world: an awe-inspiring journey with nooks and crannies, ready to be explored.

As a visual learner, I also spent a lot of my childhood exploring museums and making art. Coupled with my interest in history and the humanities, I found the decision to attend a liberal arts college to be an easy one.

June 7, 2017

It took a village

My Mount Holyoke journey began with a jolt: culture shock. Followed by waves and pangs: homesickness.

I endured a 22-hour flight — my first solo intercontinental journey — and arrived in a country that my Nigerian parents and I knew mainly from maps and news stories. Where I had no parents to move me into my first residence hall room or help me adjust to foods so radically different from what I’d eaten all my life. Where I soon met 2,200 strangers who would become the closest thing I had to family in this new land.

My journey wrapped up with emotions cut from a much different cloth — pride, appreciation, awe, excitement, connections — as fittingly symbolized by the College’s Stoling ceremony.

March 6, 2017

Leaving home, building home

 “The universe is made of stories, not of atoms.”
– Muriel Rukeyser

“Scientists say that human beings are made of atoms, but a little bird told me that we are also made of stories.”
– Eduardo Galeano

When I first arrived at Mount Holyoke College in January 2017 — and even before that — I knew that my time here would be about making stories, and about remaking myself through these stories. Gladly, I cannot say this didn’t happen. Because it most certainly did.

October 28, 2016

Zainab Salbi: uncomfortable conversations as a way forward

The 2016 Carol Hoffmann Collins Global Scholar-in-Residence is Zainab Salbi, an Iraqi-American author, media presence, and activist. Salbi has dedicated her life to women’s rights and freedom. She is the founder of Women for Women International, a humanitarian organization that distributes aid and microcredit to help women survivors of wars to rebuild their lives. As editor-at-large for Women in the World, a news platform produced in collaboration with the New York Times, she reports on the intersection of Middle Eastern and Western cultures.

October 13, 2016

Empowering myself—and other women

“Have you built a restaurant for the school?” a teacher asked on his first visit to the Baale Parwaz Library. I laughed in response. The space—bare except for some newly set up furniture—did not yet give off much of a library feeling. The books had not even been delivered yet. But his question revealed something even greater: a cultural lack of familiarity with an open, peaceful space for studying and collaborating.

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