My YYAS Experience by AraOluwa Adaramola

Araoluwa, an A2 student of the college, attended a YYAS programme in Ghana during the summer break. She shares her experience here with Oxpress:

I almost didn’t get a chance to apply for the YYAS program. Even after I did, I thought my chances were slim. So after receiving my-I’ve-been-accepted letter you can only imagine how happy I was. When I eventually joined the Facebook page I was eager to meet the 21st century teenagers who, like me, would be reading during the summer holidays.

It was wonderful putting faces to the names that were posting comments on Facebook. From the airport, everyone was extremely friendly.  By the time we were in the bus en route to the Yiri Lodge, anyone would have thought that we had known each other beforehand. Being that Nigeria is the only country I’ve been to in Africa, it was my first time on Ghanaian soil and as I was meeting all these vibrant young Africans, I felt like an explorer.

My favourite parts of the program were the seminars. Prior to the seminars, all we were given were university –level readings. Obviously my mind went into overdrive. How would it go? Would I have to learn everything? I don’t understand! But I enjoyed every single one of them. Usually we would start with an introduction. Then the instructor would throw open the “discussion” floor. It was amazing how we could discuss, throw questions and add new dimensions to issues for over an hour and wouldn’t feel the time fly.

I also enjoyed workshop sessions where we handled the SATs and college applications. Before then both processes seemed scary. The difference for me was the human factor, being able to talk to the undergraduates who were in my position a few years ago, to ask questions and to hear the goofy things they would never ever tell an admissions officer.

“Project group” was my most challenging session. Our theme was Politics and Elections and I was a rookie. To top it off we were asked to produce a 1000-word essay and a presentation on a problem, related to the theme, in just 3 days. In my group we were able to break down the essay so we could handle it individually, the easy bit, and then build it up into the finished piece. It was really interesting how specific the problem had to be. So we started with – The misallocations of funds by government officials. Be specific! The misallocation of funds by government officials in Ghana. Be even more specific! The misallocation of funds allocated to the educational sector (particularly the primary and secondary schools) by government officials in Ghana. (I’m not completely sure we had it at that).

The beauty of this program was that it was really eye-opening. I left there with a desire to become super woman, okay maybe not exactly superwoman. But now I’ve come to understand the importance of political and financial stability in any economy, and the possible roles I will one day have to play to achieve just that. I have heard that Africa has many problems, but have come to realise that there are even more solutions. I have come to appreciate my strengths and now I am even more determined to work at them.”

AraOluwa Adaramola