I came from a family who made constant use of street smarts to survive living in Nigeria. Both of my parents have not even finished secondary education. However, my hardworking mother never wanted the same fate for me. She never dare imagine me as a mainstay in the sweltering, overpopulated streets of Lagos, in danger of becoming the next victim of violence. It is a city full of tribal and religious tensions, forever waiting to explode. Yet, this was where I had learned leadership and discipline. It was hard enough to live in a dangerous neighborhood, but to concentrate in my studies while helping my parents sell market goods during my free time seemed next to impossible. I made a game out of it, giving points to myself for everyday I was able to fulfill all my duties. If I had to add the points together and redeem them in a form of money, I would now be a very rich man. With points in my imaginary bank, I was able to get a college degree in Economics. This made sense to me because I had always been interested in supply and demand. My parents’ daily toil in the market awakened me to this idea since I was just a young boy. I was also interested in the idea of rewarding a job well done, as I used to do to myself. An Economics degree also made me understand how some countries could rise and fall. I want to be able to control the rise of a future business.
Here in the United States, I worried more about social acceptance and understanding. I am, after all, a minority among minorities, a black Muslim. The dangers that I was exposed to back home had taught me how to put on a brave front. However, I realized there was no need to be afraid. Even though there were still people who would look at me curiously when I don my traditional Nigerian clothes, everything is almost perfect. I say almost perfect, because we are always still working toward perfection. I am now aiming to enroll into an MBA program, hoping that this will enhance whatever business skills I already have. I want to be able to create a safer environment, in which my parents can sell their goods. Maybe I can convince them to start a new business, aside from selling in a market stall. An MBA degree is a special tribute I give to my parents. My parents value education, though they were not so lucky to become fully educated. It is with gratitude that I turn to them, looking back to the day I received my Economics diploma. It is with hope that I face my future, hopefully with an MBA degree that can help not just myself but my beloved parents to survive their plight.