Ten years ago, I was deciding where I would lay the next crucial layer of my life’s foundation. Born as the first child to West African immigrants, I was the first of my siblings and the first of my family in the States to go away to college. The terrain was new and all eyes were on me. Like many who are the first, there were expectations by some of where I should go, what I should study, and who I should become. I learned not to capitulate to those ideas, but to instead choose for myself and do so wisely. I chose Le Moyne. I was a reserved young man, but ready for the challenge to grow outside of myself, grow past what I knew, and become more, trusting that Le Moyne College was where I could do just that. Le Moyne’s mission and her Jesuit values were evident to me through every step of my application and decision-making journey. It felt right… it felt like home.
In my first weeks at the college, I had a conversation with our then Chair of the English department about my life’s experience and my hopes for the four years I would be in Syracuse. She gifted me her time, mentorship, and a copy of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “Self-Reliance.” The text and that time with her became a guiding moment for my life thereafter, propelling me further into a world of more.
As a freshman, I decided that I would be intentional about getting to know my peers and in allowing them to know me. I pushed myself beyond my comforts in order to form relationships with many in the eclectic population of students there with me. I grew very involved on the campus, joining clubs that offered space for students to discuss humanitarian issues and clubs that celebrated culture and intellectual curiosity. I also took hold of leadership opportunities such as Diversity Chair for our Student Government, being a representative in our Diversity Ambassador program, and working as a Resident Advisor to name a few.
When I fell down, there was always a hand extended to help me up. When another fell, my hand was extended to do the same. My professors challenged me to think and produce beyond limitations I almost accepted for myself, never allowing me to rest in a false sense of knowing, but encouraging me to dig deeper and push further until I could be genuinely proud of my contribution to intellectual conversation. The magic of Le Moyne is her mission and her people, and I am in the number of those better for that beautiful combination.
My time in undergrad at Le Moyne gifted a better me to myself. The decision to attend Le Moyne was one of my first major life choices, and 10 years later, I can say without reservation that it was among the best.
Kwasi A. Yeboah, ’16