Succeeding as an African Student at Michigan Tech and Beyond

The African student organization hosted a panel discussion with professors, graduate, and undergraduate students, which I attended and really liked.
The event was entitled “Succeeding as an African Student at Michigan Tech and Beyond” and occurred on October 10th, in Fisher 104.

African students were invited to share and get information regarding the African experience throughout higher education in the United States. The panelists sat in front of the room and started by sharing their stories. They told the audience where they had been (in terms of schools), what difficulties they encountered in adapting, staying motivated, and culture shock. Afterwards, graduate students and professors proceeded to explain strategies to go about graduate school, such as being close to adviser, avoiding to get involved in conflicts inside the department, working as hard as possible because Africans may not be judged on same standards, taking care of documents to remain lawfully in the country, etc. Finally, they started to answers the audience’s questions in debate-like fashion.

The event was highly productive and informative, but it was the less formal tone, which made it a special event. Since all of the people present were African there was a sense familiarity, which broke any ice standing in the way. Everybody seemed confortable and asked innumerous questions leading to an extension of the event, which ended around 45 minutes past it’s expected time.

The down side was that even though a significant number of students were there, it could have benefited more people had they attended. It may have a been a matter of under advertising or simply a matter of lack interest by the general African student community, but the event had the potential to enrich many more people’s academic and social experience in the U.S. Also, it could have been slightly longer since the discussions were so highly beneficial.