It was the first day of classes. I woke up to the church bells of Cathedral of St. John the Baptist adjacent to my house. This was one of the unique attributes of Charleston that I had come to love; who needed an alarm clock when you could be woken up by a church bell? There were many historic church buildings in downtown Charleston, almost one on every street, which is why Charleston is known as the “Holy City”. I woke up, showered, dressed up, and dashed out. It was a 15 minute walk to campus. I arrived at the J. C. Long Building on Liberty Street where my department was located.
I was early for my first class – Java, so I decided to drop by and see my advisor – Dr. Green (not his real name), who was also the Director of the Graduate Programs, and formally meet him before my class. After the formal meeting, I headed to the class and picked a spot on the third row. Few minutes before the professor arrived, I felt a tap on my shoulder; I turned and met a friendly face. “Hi, I’m Kavya (not her real name). You must be Sana.” She said extending a hand for a handshake. Immediately, I thought, O-kay?! How did she know my name? She must have psychic powers or something. “Yes, I’m Sana.” I extended my hand and we shook hands, but I had a confusing look on my face. “Dr. Green told me about you, I’m a graduate student and I’m also taking preliminary undergraduate Computer Science courses for a year before officially starting the graduate program since my first degree was not in Computer Science, just like you.” She said. Immediately, a light bulb came on and then I quickly scanned the classroom and realized I was the only black student in the class, it totally made sense why Kavya knew I was “Sana”. Kavya was Indian, a very intelligent girl. There was another student in our class taking preliminary courses just like us, her name was “Ming” (not her real name), she was Chinese and super smart. We met after our Java class that day all clueless about our first Java lesson. We decided to walk together to the library and read the first chapters together and make sense of what we had just learnt. That’s how we became a powerful support system throughout our one year of preliminary studies, and two years of graduate school at the College of Charleston. It totally made sense why God allowed me to start my program that particular year and semester at the same time with these two lovely ladies. God knew how much I would need the support system throughout my program.
Later that day, I went to the Graduate School office and officially met Ms. Heather – the woman whom God used in a tremendous way during my graduate admission process. I gave her a big hug and told her thank you a million times over. “Sweetie, you made it happen!” She said. “You worked extremely hard, you were persistent and did not give up.” I chatted with Ms. Heather for a little bit and then made another stop to collect a document I needed to send to the student loan bank. I quickly scanned the document and sent it to the bank. The very next day, my student loan was approved for tuition, textbooks, feeding, and accommodation, and the funds were disbursed to my account. I gasped when I saw the figure in my account and suddenly the “Money, Money, Money” song started playing in my head. I did a little dance, then I knelt down with my hands raised towards heaven and thanked God immensely with tears in my eyes for providing in the nick of time!
To be continued…