The White Porridge Comes out of the Black Pot

Proverbs are an important part of West-African culture. Whenever my father wanted to teach me an important lesson, he would lace his opinions with wise sayings that would inspire me to think and deeply reflect on my actions. Over the years, there is one such saying that continues to resonate with me: “the white porridge comes out of the black pot.” I have grown to appreciate to that beautiful outcomes, like my nutritious white porridge, do not always reveal challenging process that must be undergone to create.

Indeed, beautiful things can be birthed out of uncertainty and instability. Today, I am overwhelmed with pride as I prepare to move to Geneva for a masters program in International Development. Had you asked me about my post-grad plans about a year ago, I would have probably broken down in tears of anxiety. After a year abroad at Sciences Po-Paris, I returned to Vancouver with the realisation that I wasnt interested in pursuing International Relations (IR) without connecting it to Africa. “What then do I do with my IR degree?” I wondered. Anxiety slowly creeped in as my parents began to ask me about the next big milestone in my life. “Are you gonna get a job after you graduate?”, “Do you wanna come home and work with your Dad?”, “What do you wanna do?” These daunting questions became never disappearing shadows that followed me everywhere I went. I didn’t feel prepared enough with an undergrad degree to apply for my dream job at the World Bank. And although I love being back in Ghana, I wasn’t keen on falling back into my comfort zone by working for my parents.

And thats how my journey to Grad school began! Uncertain about what next to do with my life, I followed my passion for African Development and began exploring masters programs that could prepare me towards that path. As a full time student working a part time job, I found myself pulling several all-nighters working on draft after draft of application letter. I had a really supportive community of friends, family and co-workers on whose shoulders I could lean on for support and with whom i could share moments of joy and excitement.

I have come to learn that it is okay to ask for support when needed and to recognise that even those who seem to have to it all figured out most likely also experience feelings of uncertainty. Getting accepted into Oxford, LSE, Sciences Po and the Graduate Institute Geneva are achievements that everyone who guided, reassured and supported me along the way is proud of.

In about 2 months, I will be settled into a new city and beginning the next chapters of my story. I am the master of my fate and the captain of my soul. I will continue to ask myself the questions that help me discover my passions and take advantage of internship and volunteer opportunities that give me sense of what particular fields look like. I am aware of the gurdles that I may face throughout my Masters journey. But I am excited to take them on, because I know that out of that black pot, I will create a strong nutritious porridge!

To learn more about managing post-grad uncertainty, check out Yadu and I’s podcast @ http://intuitionpod.podbean.com/e/08-the-crooked-path-to-success-student-involvement-careers/

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