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Bolanle Oladokun

Roots: Journey to Finding Myself

by Bolanle Oladokun | Oct 18, 2016

If you asked a group of people what a root was, you would receive many different answers. Some would say that it is the part of the plant that attaches to the ground and nourishes the plant. Others would say that it means to establish something firmly. As a senior Communication Studies major, sometimes I feel like a traveling plant with a root that can be planted in any environment. When I was home, my root was firmly planted into the ground. My family, teachers, and friends would water me with their ideas, information, and love. Although, I still receive these things in college it feels like I’m a plant in its own pot. In other words, my friends and family can see me grow, but they can only help out so much. Eventually, I have to become self-sufficient and plant my root into a stable place.

During this summer at my marketing internship at Asher Agency, I learned how to become independent and gain confidence in myself. My mentor, Faith Van Gilder, inspired me to become unafraid of new experiences and that it was okay to experience them alone. When I was a first year, I was afraid of eating meals and going to different places alone at school, but now I look forward to it. Although I am an extrovert and spend time with many friends, I still feel self-conscious about certain decisions that I make. However, during this summer I learned to not be afraid of achieving my goals. My biggest accomplishments were creating nine social media videos for Girl Scouts of Northern-Indiana Michiana and walking five miles alone. When I stepped on campus this fall, I was ready to conquer the world.

On October 1, I joined many Manchester students to celebrate Nigeria’s Independence in Fort Wayne. Keep in mind, I do not go to many Nigerian related events and this was the first time I was able to establish myself as a Nigerian woman without the influence of my parents. The party was amazing. We took so many pictures, ate, and danced the night away. While there, I made new friends that will last a lifetime. The next day, I decided to go to the Church of Brethren in the area for the first time. It was one of the most peaceful Sundays I had ever experienced. A great number of people within the area attend the church and you can feel the warmth. Believer or non-believer, I highly recommend attending a service if you are feeling stressed.  

Understanding all of these experiences, this homecoming weekend I felt scared and excited all at once. Looking at the all of the alumni, I learned what it meant to come from Manchester, but I also learned that I have big shoes to fill. After attending my last bonfire and carnival as an undergrad, I feel heartbroken because of all the things I will not experience anymore. However, I am happy to have some of the best friends in the world and memories that will last a lifetime. Although my roots were never firmly planted into to Manchester’s ground, I will forever take on all of the things I’ve learned from this place.

Rebecca Kabanzira and me at the Nigerian Party.

Bolanle Oladokun ’18 is a Communication Studies Major. Since she was a kid, she’s always loved to talk and frequently got into trouble at school for talking so much. She loves making people laugh, recording videos, and hanging out with friends. She’s happy to be able to use her gift to put a smile on people’s faces.