The Best Mistake of My Life

It was 2008. August. Nineteenth. I was sitting in a cyber café, as home computers weren’t as popular in Nigeria yet. This was my third time that day to go to that cyber cafe. But this time, it was different. I was sending a scholarship acceptance email.10 minutes earlier, I had spoken to my admission officer at Voorhees College in South Carolina, and learned that I would be offered a scholarship to attend college in the USA. I was told that although they had passed on me, my application was reviewed again and I was eligible for the Deans Scholarship. It literally took me less 5 minutes to get cyber cafe to check my email. We lived about a mile away.

My acceptance letter. Red line indicates where I was wrong

When I caught my breathe from all the running, I paid to use the internet for 1 hour. My rationale-

  • 20 minutes to read this 4 sentence email at least 20 times. I had to soak it in.
  • 20 minutes to learn where in the world Denmark South Carolina was. Had to make sure I wasn’t going to Europe.
  • 10 minutes to look at campus pictures as I was going to be there one day.
  • 10 minutes to just sit there and just smile at my Windows XP desktop and do nothing.

Within those last 10 minutes I envisioned myself in college. I saw myself at the Booker T Washington Library studying for my finals. Walking down Wiggins Drive and laughing about absolutely nothing on my way to the cafeteria. BTW these were also exactly the same images on the student brochure. I saw myself there. I saw myself excelling.

I spent all this time mesmerizing about being in the US, and still missed probably the most integral part of the email. My Dean’s Scholarship wasn’t a “full scholarship.” It was a partial scholarship. It only covered tuition. No room and board included.
This was the best mistake of my life.

If I had known that I was expected to pay, no matter how small, I am almost certain that I wouldn’t have accepted the offer or even tried to attend. The cost would have been too much for my parents, and I wasn’t going to let that happen.

To make this dream a reality, I went to get my US visa. I got denied. I tried again in October and was successful. In January of 2009, five months after accepting my scholarship and still misinformed, I arrived at Voorhees College. That was the beginning of the second phase of my life. The phase that has begotten who I currently am. The phase that help me create ONYCHEK.com.

*In case you were wondering how I made it through college, I eventually did well enough in my first semester that I was offered a full scholarship in the fall of 2009. We only had to pay a fraction of the room and board balance for that first semester. Voorhees College looked out for me, and I am forever grateful.