My Journey to the “American Dream” as an International Student- Part 2

Hey 👋🏾 🙂 ! How are y’all doing? Thanks for joining me for the second part of this series!

St. John’s University gave me almost half of the total tuition. I had to figure out the rest. What if I tell you I wasn’t particularly sure how that was going to happen, but I took the risk anyway! 🙈Before leaving Nigeria, I knew about the possibility of taking a student loan. However, as an international student, you will need a co-signer. Obviously, you can’t blame anyone if they don’t agree to be your co-signer because this will affect the individual’s credit score, also if you are in default at any point in time, this individual pays for it. So yea, it’s a big deal! It was difficult getting a co-signer but I eventually did, thanks to a very close friend of my Dad that lives here in the States. I also had to live up to my promise to not be in default at any point in time and thankfully, I did. 😀 Student loan is all paid now!

Cost of living in New York can be expensive, as expected. I got connected to a classmate ( in the Master’s program) via email while I was in Nigeria to figure out how we could both get accommodation together. I connected with her on Facebook and we started chatting about the options we both had. We eventually decided getting a place in Queens, NY may be too expensive for both of us. She lives in Staten Island and suggested I could come stay with her family while we commute together to school. That is still one blessing I’m forever grateful for. Yes, I moved in with a family I barely knew ! Lol! They turned out to be family! My family! Huge thanks to them, I also lived rent free!

My student loan still did not cover the entire balance of the tuition. I almost had to leave the program and come back to continue it some other time, but God works in miraculous ways! A new Dean of Graduate studies came into office and offered me an additional scholarship. With that additional scholarship and what I got from my immediate family and friends, I was finally able to complete this tuition. Talk about it taking a village!!!

Finished the program in December of 2016 and then applied to take the New York Bar Exam in February 2017. My classmates took this exam in the summer of 2016. But as at that summer, I knew I was not mentally ready to take it. So I did not try! Not with what I was going through with my tuition. By the way I had to do my program in three semesters as against two, so I could breakdown my payments. The amount of courses you take determines how much you pay for that semester. So ideally, I should have graduated in summer of 2016 and then taken the bar exam. I did not. I shifted it to finishing the program in December of 2016 and then joining the graduating class of 2017 to celebrate, and that’s because Commencement happens only once a year!

Writing the New York Bar Exam also requires some money which I was able to come up with. Now I had to put in all my efforts to pass this exam once. I had heard about how difficult the exam can be. I even reached out to some people who I knew had taken the exam and passed. I googled Nigerians! That’s how I met Osar O. She graduated from UI and had taken the exam like a year or two before I did. Sent her a message via LinkedIn or so and she was so pleasant in answering some of my questions. I put in all my efforts in that exam and told myself: “If I fail this exam, I won’t re write it unless I knew the reason I failed.” That’s just common sense though because if you don’t know the reason you failed, there’s a likelihood you will fail again. You should know the reason why you are failing at something because it helps you to improve on those areas and come back stronger. Thankfully, I passed 😀

Had the opportunity to work for one year. During that one year I already got married to my husband and moved out of New York City. He being a permanent resident, was able to put in a petition for me to also become a permanent resident. During the time I was waiting for that to happen, I ensured I remained in status. Also, during that time, I got an employer to file a work visa for me. Which is why I say it’s not impossible. However it took some time for that to eventually happen especially because my field of study is law. While I was on that work visa, my green card came through.

It took a while to get this point, but I’m grateful for every part of the journey. I’ve learnt to trust the process, wait if I have to, believe in myself over and over again and just know that it will be okay! If I had to do things differently, I would have taken my science courses more seriously because if you are coming to the U.S for a post graduate degree and you want the opportunity to work longer than the 1 year I had to work and possibly get an employer to file a work visa for you, your best option will be doing a STEM course. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics. If you fall under any of these fields, you have better chances of having a smoother journey than I did.

I hope you found my story inspiring . Please don’t hesitate to share with an international student who needs to hear a story they can relate with. Also follow me on Instagram (oyinloluwafasehun) and dm me with any questions you may have.

Have a great week!

2 thoughts on “My Journey to the “American Dream” as an International Student- Part 2

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: