Meet FearGod Victor Chinecherem (Chin-ĕ-chair-um) Okwubido (O-kū-bē-doe) Williams, a General Studies major. He arrived in Richmond, Indiana from Nigeria to begin his educational journey. He quickly adjusted to campus life and within a short time became the Vice President of the Multicultural Student Organization (MSO), a member of Student Government Association (SGA) and Campus Activities Board (CAB). He also became a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. He completed his associate’s degree within four semesters, while simultaneously enrolled in courses at Indiana University East Richmond and maintained a 4.0 GPA. FearGod’s ultimate goal is to obtain his medical degree and return to Nigeria.
This is his story in his words.
“Once I started my Ivy Tech studies, the question from most easily became my cultural background and heritage. Every time I started a new class or met a person for the first time, I would get prodded with questions with one underlying denominator: whether or not I was from or around Richmond, Indiana. Once I say otherwise, the individuals, colleagues and instructors alike, would always want to know more; from the inquisitive who want to understand why I choose to be at Richmond, to the exotic, who want to know if I have seen elephants or lions, to the surprised, who desire to examine my thought process in travelling out of my country, as they say “just” for an education. In the first few months, it was a struggle in classrooms and conferences alike, as it seemed like all everyone cared about was how I spoke English well, or with an accent, or how I must miss home, amongst other numerous scenarios.
However, the more the questions churned out, the better I had to become in articulating responses that were as representative of me or my country, as they were correct. Today, I am known as FearGod to some; to others, it is the International student from Nigeria; to the rest, a human. I attest, I am all of these every day. Life as I perceive it has and will remain a lifelong learning process. My high school was a melting pot of some kind; the four-year hiatus before my first college class was the crucible; my home the drawing board; society at large, a people, and, most importantly, my education representing the platform to serve, follow, learn, and lead as a significant student. This understanding of the platform of my education was only made clearer as I studied at Ivy Tech.
On May 7, 2016, I graduated with an Associate’s Degree in General Studies, and I wholeheartedly know that for me, education has and will never been a one-time phenomenon. Ivy Tech to a large proportion represents truly what it means to have a solid college system that keeps one going forward as long as their visions stay clear. Every single one of the Ivy Tech staff – my professors, the learning resource and tutoring staff members, the advising and admission office members have left indelible marks on my life forever. I will never forget their names, and my story is never complete without according them honor.
As I assimilated into the program in the beginning and even as I climbed to new heights, I got help from every person all along the way. This will never be taken for granted, because just as Theodore Roosevelt expressed, Ivy Tech really helped me “keep my eyes on the stars, with my feet on the ground”. I am FearGod Okwubido-Williams. I am Ivy Tech now and always. My educational experiences here in the States have represented everything I had never really understood education to be.
Yes, in Nigeria, I knew I was part of a society, but the main focus was on a basic classroom education. Ivy Tech on the other hand, exemplifies the true purpose of an education of purpose and change. I leave there knowing that a model society is only made by the encompassing service inputs and otherwise from her students and schools.
At Ivy Tech, I have treaded the education sidewalks, carefully building my firm vision and foundation, patiently learning the roles of the solid framework – which is the school [as a necessity for society]. Importantly, boundaries on my basics and responsibilities as a student have been essentially eliminated by this education. Now, I move into the streets, which efficiently represent the educational juggernaut I am transferring to and the world I hope to impact, aspiring to be that student; studious, teachable, understanding, disciplined, exemplary, nurtured and transformed in every facet of life.
I want more than a Bachelor’s or even a PhD degree, for reason is not lost on me, that there remain children like me, who have stories to share, but may never have the opportunity to tell them. I could not have stood more with Malala, the proponent of the indisputable ideal that “One child, one teacher, one book, one pen, can change the world.” I hope with the platform of my education, I can be the teacher with books and pens, empowering people to break free of the pain – psychological and otherwise, poverty and hopelessness that once engulfed my family and me. The power of a liberated future and hope to be heard all lie in the story. This is my story and every day, I remember I am truly lucky to have been given the mantle, the books, the pens and the teachers. I intend to pass these on to as many as I can reach.
Education has provided me with the steps to reach out, impact and inspire; here I am this day, vowing to climb those steps until the end.”