Josiah Afriyie’s days adopted a stark sample when he started his research on the College of Alberta’s Augustana Campus.
“It was a easy triangular routine,” he recollects. “From my residence room to lessons to the library and again to my room. I wasn’t even going to the cafeteria. I knew no person and wasn’t speaking to anyone.”
The Ghanaian resident, already shy by nature, apprehensive in regards to the influences fellow college students from a unique tradition might need on the choices he now needed to make for himself, removed from his childhood dwelling.
Including to his reticence was discovering that he wouldn’t be becoming a member of his classmates from dwelling on the U of A’s a lot bigger North Campus in Edmonton, as he’d assumed.
“I believed that the U of A had the Edmonton campus solely. I didn’t even learn my admission letter intimately, perhaps as a result of I used to be tremendous pleased,” he says now.
It was a shock to comprehend he’d be finding out 100 km away on the a lot smaller Augustana Campus within the rural metropolis of Camrose.
So he stored to himself.
“I used to be looking for a steadiness to settle in with out shedding myself. I took a step again to investigate what was in entrance of me earlier than I put myself on the market.”
However loneliness additionally set in, and on the finish of his first semester, he recollects, “I had no mates.” He thought he ought to switch his research to Edmonton.
However he hadn’t counted on the spirit of the close-knit Augustana Campus, whose neighborhood finally coaxed Afriyie from his shell as a shy first-year scholar and turned him into certainly one of its busiest volunteers.
4 years on, he graduated on June 5 this 12 months not simply with a bachelor of arts diploma in economics but in addition with a dedication to maintain giving as a lot of himself as he can to others.
“Augustana Campus labored its magic round me,” Afriyie says now. “I’ve discovered that it’s at all times essential to go the additional mile; it is a lifelong dream I’m going to fulfil in every single place that I discover myself, to verify I’m doing issues to the most effective of my skills.”
His journey began at some point late in that first dreary semester when a fellow scholar approached Afriyie after class to ask how his research have been going. “He requested me what I do for enjoyable, and I instructed him I’m at all times in my room.”
That reply resulted in invites to numerous membership conferences the place he met different worldwide college students and began to really feel extra linked.
“At these conferences, I felt I might relate to an expertise somebody was sharing. It was a secure house for me. It bridged the hole to a bunch of scholars I might hang around with and have conversations with.”
A second light nudge in the direction of a wider social life got here from one other scholar who observed that Afriyie lived in residence on campus however by no means ate within the eating corridor. As a substitute, he’d eat alone in his room.
“She began inviting me to eat lunch and supper along with her.” Seated at a desk with a number of individuals, he was quickly concerned in vigorous conversations about lessons and campus life. “I began making mates and opening as much as individuals.”
By the top of the primary semester, as an alternative of transferring to Edmonton, he determined to remain proper the place he was, bolstered by a rising circle of mates prepared to assist with all the things from emotional assist to class assignments.
“By then, I wished to make as many mates as I might, to get out of my consolation zone. I put myself on the market and issues got here collectively.”
Afriyie completed his time on campus leaving a legacy of volunteerism behind, acknowledged via a number of Pupil Life Awards.
Raised by Christian dad and mom in Ghana, Afriyie joined the Augustana Chaplaincy, wanting to supply faith-based assist to different college students with non secular backgrounds. Protecting his personal early expertise in thoughts, he additionally labored as a residence assistant for 2 years and tried to verify no scholar felt alone.
“Josiah was that one who wished to make everybody really feel pleased and welcome,” says residence co-ordinator Daniel Damile, Afriyie’s supervisor.
Afriyie embodied the campus’s caring spirit, not hesitating to drive different college students to Edmonton to buy their favorite ethnic meals to ease their homesickness, and organizing potlucks to assist construct a way of neighborhood, Damile provides.
“He was at all times pondering of how he might make an impression. That’s the legacy he desires to depart behind so those that are watching him can do the identical for the scholars who come after him.”
Through the years, Afriyie additionally served as treasurer of the campus Afri-Youth membership, with the Augustana College students’ Affiliation and as a analysis and educating assistant.
Underpinning all of his efforts was a need to easy the way in which for different college students. “I wished to raised their experiences on campus.”
In return, he says he leaves Augustana Campus gifted with lifelong friendships.
“I now have individuals I can name brothers that I can have deep discussions with. That, to me, is a win for somebody who got here to this campus and was discovering it troublesome to begin a traditional dialog.”
College and employees have additionally befriended him, offering knowledgeable assist community for his eventual profession working as an economist in Ghana.
“I can name them for professional recommendation after I face dilemmas. I don’t have to take a seat on my own to make powerful choices.”
His subsequent step is to earn a grasp’s diploma in agriculture, hopefully on the U of A – this time at North Campus, the place he plans to maintain reaching out, to assist out.
“I can be volunteering and I’m going to encourage others to do the identical. I believe typically we underestimate the impacts we will make in life if we simply make that little additional effort.”
Afriyie was supported in his scholar profession with a College of Alberta Undergraduate Management Award, the Rob Ford Residence Life Management Award and the Reverend Palmer Olson and Reverend Ivar Saugen Chaplaincy Award.
| By Bev Betkowski
Bev is a reporter with the College of Alberta’s Folio on-line journal. The College of Alberta is a Troy Media Editorial Content material Supplier Accomplice.
The opinions expressed by our columnists and contributors are theirs alone and don’t inherently or expressly replicate the views of our publication.
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