My Wish to Transfer to the University of Texas at Austin and Study Photovoltaics
I sat still, my fingers struggled to turn off my phone, my head thumped against the car’s window. Staring at the sunset, I felt the familiarity of being alone. I replayed the few memories I had of my parents, which I hadn’t seen in years and could not stop reminding myself of all the sacrifices they had made for me. My father had spent his whole life working in the harsh environments of Africa to put a roof over my head and food on the table for me and yet there I was, reading a rejection letter from UT, the only school that would have made his sacrifices worth it. What a failure, I pondered.
It was now dark, and I decided to call my parents and let them know about this news. I picked up the phone, trembling, and dialed my father’s number. Every second felt longer and my anxiety deepened. It was two in the morning in Ivory Coast, and I figured he would not answer. I put my phone down and felt relieved that I did not need to break the news in the middle of the night. Then, before I had the chance to put my phone down, it rings. My heart dropped out of my chest as I picked up. I first apologized for calling so late in the night and told him the horrible news. A few long seconds of silence later and a voice filled with disappointment and anger, he told me that it was okay and to go ahead proceed with UTSA’s acceptance.
Over the past few years, while attending UTSA, I have thought myself and gained experience in a variety of fields from learning how startups work to learning how different clean and renewable energy harvesters work. My enthusiasm of both worlds come from the hope of one day offering Photovoltaic energy for less fortunate individuals in Africa who do not have any reliable electricity sources to go to school, visit hospitals or most importantly power their homes.
Recently I visited the 40 Acres which changed my view of a higher education and Universities. Walking around the UT campus, I realized that everyone conducted themselves with confidence while wearing the color that represented their university and future. I was also enlightened to learn that a higher education is not only about attending lectures and spending endless hours studying, but instead about gaining the experience and building the relationships that will help individuals like myself reach our goals of providing energy to millions of people in Africa.
This recent visit helped me realize that my stay at the University of Texas at San Antonio did not allow for growth and experience. UTSA did not offer major renewable energy research projects like the ones that The Center for Next Generation Photovoltaics offers to UT. To achieve my goal of changing the lives of millions, I needed an environment with a limitless ceiling for growth and opportunities which I quickly realized would not be offered to me here.
The saying “What starts here changes the world” students are told once accepted to the University of Texas gives them the opportunity to interpret their attendance as a start of a new chapter where they determine every leap they will take that will put them on the right path to changing the world; much like I hope to do in the foreseeable future with the endless opportunities that are offered at the University of Texas.