Euphoria: Landing In America (The End)
Rolling in Dollars: Landing In America (The End)
Now that I was rolling in dollars,
I became a baller.
I went to six flags with some of my
classmates, I started to eat more rice
and orange chicken at panda express,
of course, I shopped for clothes a lot
and became a baffer, smoked turkey
graced my meals more frequently,
I graduated from a 2-figure synthetic
weave to a 3-figure human hair weave,
I was finally able to include yam in
my diet a year after I arrived in the US,
and so on.
I didn’t spend all my money oh – I saved
a lot of it - I just indulged a little bit
seeing as I was living almost in poverty
before I got the GA position.
After living alone for one year, I had to
move out of my apartment because
the apartment managers found me a
We lived together for a month before
I moved out – she was white and we
didn’t get along at all.
I had the room to myself while she slept
in the living room.
She was quite untidy -she’d mess up
the kitchen and would fill up her
wastebasket and mine without emptying
She once had a male roommate sleepover
and when I complained, she laughed in
my face and said she could do whatever
My apartment which used to be a haven
was now somewhere I avoided thanks
I wish I could say I was the bigger person
and I let it all slide but that would be
I became vengeful and sought to make
her as uncomfortable as she made me.
I realized she slept early while I slept
really late and I would either be
talking very loudly on the phone or
watching tv on my laptop while she
tried to sleep.
She’d knock on the wall linking the living
room and my room and ask me to keep
it down but I would ignore her and
continue with my noise.
When I was moving out, she had filled
up my trash can as usual and emptied
hers so I emptied mine in hers.
I moved to a 2-bedroom apartment
that was farther from school than my
old apartment and ended up with
another 2 white roommates.
The trouble-some one eventually
moved out and got a Congolese girl, T,
whom I got along very well with to
take her place.
The bigger career fair with many
recruiters from different companies
was done in the fall semester while
the smaller one was done in the
Whenever you saw an employer stall
with a very long queue, you’d know
they sponsored work visas for
Conversely, an employer stall with almost
no one queuing in front of it meant
they didn’t sponsor work visas for
international students and only hired
American citizens and permanent residents.
Cisco, the Networking Giant, hired a
LOT from my school - especially from
my program - and they sponsored
They were present during the fall career
fair and were hiring software Engineers
(Testers and developers).
I had tried learning programming via a
tutor and youtube but it didn’t work out.
I took a class where we had to program
in Matlab and my partner ended up doing
a huge chunk of the project cuz it
was hard for me to figure out Matlab.
All these made me conclude that a software
Engineering role wasn’t in the works for me.
The fall Career fair took place in October
2013 and graduation was in the last
week of May, 2014.
I figured I had a lot of time to get a job
that was better suited to my skills and
involved little to no programming
Some of my classmates who interned
at good companies already had full-time
My class wasn’t very large so you knew
who had a job and who was still
Anyway, I didn’t speak to the Cisco
representatives at career fair and just
did the rounds with other employers
of international students just to fulfill
I found out a few weeks later that some
of my friends who spoke to the Cisco
representatives and had NO PROGRAMMING
EXPERIENCE were offered full-time
jobs after only a 30-minute on-campus i
nterview – they didn’t even do multiple
interviews or fly to Cisco’s HQ in California.
I was insanely jealous of those classmates
who were hired because they were moving
to sunny California, working with one of
the tech giants with a 6-figure salary.
I was also very angry at myself and
beat up myself for the longest time for
not even attempting to speak to the
By this time, I had changed from my f
ellowship to a graduate student fellowship
where many of its members attended
a non-denominational fellowship not
too far from me.
During the semester, they had a church
service for students on campus and
also had church off-campus for
families and older people.
I don’t remember how I ended up at
the off-campus church but I met an
older Nigerian Lady, N, who I became
friends with and who started to pick
me up for church most Sundays and
drive me back home.
I also made a Taiwanese PhD-candidate
friend, who was an expert ice-skater
– watching her ice-skate is one of the
most awe-inducing scenes I have
I became friendly with 2 African American
girls and ended up hanging out with
them and other grad students as
restaurants, game nights, and karaoke
bars though I never sang because
I was way too shy.
At one of the karaoke bars, they played
2 line dancing songs and almost
everyone except me got up to dance
because I didn’t know the steps.
The AA girls would eventually teach
me 3 of the most popular line dancing
routine at a mini send-forth party they
organized for me before my graduation.
I got along really well with N, my older
Nigerian friend and she was a huge
source of wisdom.
She was single at the time and in her
late thirties but was very much
interested in getting married and
having children while still holding
on to her Christian values.
She told me her story of how she
became an American citizen in 8 years
without getting into an arranged marriage
It was quite the story.
She also belonged to several groups
that met frequently and was super
intentional about meeting people.
She took me along with her to a few
events organized by her groups including
a kayaking event where she and I came last.
I also became friends with a classmate
of mine, S, and we attended a few
graduate students’ events together.
But a few weeks into my final semester,
I started to get anxious about not
having a job that would sponsor a
work visa for me.
I was convinced it would be very
difficult to get a job after graduation
therefore I needed to get one before
graduation. By this time, more classmates
had gotten full-time offers.
I stopped hanging out with S, whenever
she invited me for trips because I wanted
to concentrate fully on getting a job and
I felt like if God saw me gallivanting
and enjoying myself, he’d think I wasn’t
serious about getting a job.
I spent most of my time in my GA office;
applying to any and every job, studying
as much as possible and praying a lot of
“God please help me get a job I don’t
want to go back to Nigeria just yet prayers”,
and berating myself for not speaking to
the cisco recruiters.
My final semester that was supposed to
be the most fun semester turned out to
be the saddest one yet because I didn’t
have a job while others did – I wasn’t
interested in comparing myself with
my fellow jobless classmates – I
preferred comparing myself with the
ones who had jobs.
I applied for a $1500 scholarship that
was open to students in my class
who had a 3.85 and above GPA and got it.
However, I was still sad and anxious
about not having a full-time job and
didn’t even attend the award ceremony.
One day at the beginning of April, N,
invited me for a casting crown concert
and I went because I love casting crown
and I’d never attended a concert in the US.
I loved it A LOT and even wrote a post
about it on Instagram.
They sang a song titled “already there”
and like magic, the song took away most
of my anxiety about not having a job.
It’s about God already being in one’s
future and knowing how one’s life would
end so there’s no need for one to be
anxious or fearful.
R introduced me to some Nigerian guy
in my 2nd semester who had moved
to Cali in September and was working
for Apple at the time.
He encouraged me to apply to Apple and
Google and I did. I got a phone interview
with an Apple HR recruiter and a google
I passed the former but performed terribly
at the latter and I never heard from the
recruiter again despite all the emails I
sent to him.
I was constantly refreshing my school’s
job portal for openings and on April 19, 2014
I saw a Software Test Engineering role from
Arista and the requirements included;
a minimum of 3.5 GPA, knowledge of
networking and networking protocols, and
current enrollment in a masters of telecoms
By this time, the spirit of procrastination had
left me and immediately I saw the role, I
modified my resume to suit it and submitted
it on the job portal.
My specialization was actually in wireless
but I had taken a 6-months Networking
course and certification in Nigeria back
in 2007 which I loved and could still
remembered most of what I learned in it.
It was on the strength of that training/certification
that I applied for the role.
By this time, I had a can-do mindset ad was
ready to do any job whether or not I was
qualified for the role so far as they would
file for a work visa for me.
The following day, I got an email from
someone in Arista asking to schedule a
phone interview with me and we fixed
He called me that same week but I was
He’d ask me questions and I would
answer correctly but he’d twist the
questions and I would get tripped and
change my answer.
I explained away my slip-ups as nerves
and asked him not to penalize me for it.
He asked if I knew BGP and other networking
protocols which I didn’t and I said as much.
He recommended I go learn them in
preparation for my 2nd phone interview.
He also asked me to send my unofficial
transcript so he could confirm my GPA.
That same week or the following,
I can’t remember, I got a follow-up
interview from the manager of the role
I applied for at Apple.
It was a wireless role about a course I
had taken and aced just the previous semester.
But I was so nervous and anxious, I flunked
even the most basic questions.
I was still hopeful that God could intervene
and I’d be flown to HQ for the main interview.
I studied the living hell out of the BGP
and other protocols the Arista guy
mentioned and got my friend F, who
had a lot of Networking experience
before coming to UMD to teach me.
I was much more confident in my follow-up
phone interview but I still slipped up a
The following day, I was asked to choose
a date for my on-site interview at Arista HQ
in silicon valley.
I wanted to be sufficiently prepared and
selected a date that was almost 3 weeks
from the date I spoke with the recruiter
and coincided with the eve of my cousin’s
wedding in Wisconsin so I could just fly
from California to Madison, Wisconsin.
I prayed very hard and studied even harder.
Nothing was not going to snatch this role
which was offered to me on a platter of
gold from my hands.
I was asked to choose between two hotels
to stay in and again like a rookie, I chose
the cheaper one.
Anyway, I flew into California on a Thursday
evening and attended the interview the
The first interview was a technical interview
with 3 people asking me questions.
I answered their questions to the best of
my ability and the ones I had no idea of
and couldn’t attempt, I honestly told
them and didn’t try to talk my way out of it.
After that interview, I had lunch with about
six fresh graduate hires, all Indians, and
asked them questions about Arista.
They all said it was a fantastic place to
work and there was nothing they hated
about the company but me I did not
After lunch, I had an interview with the
manager and it was mostly behavioral
I turned on my extroverted, charming, and
sister happiness personality and was
asking him questions confidently.
After I was hired and he became my manager,
he would tell me I was the most engaging
of all the fresh graduates he interviewed.
Desperate times call for desperate measures
After my interview with him, I met with
the director of the software testing team
and extroverted Toyeen came up again
and was asking him questions after he’d
asked me his.
I had him laughing in no time.
After the interview, he told me everyone
who’d interviewed me loved me and he
was offering me the job.
He said he needed letters of recommendation
from my references before making me an
offer but he knew they’d write only good
People of God it was like I had died and
went to Heaven.
I couldn’t believe it.
That was the first time someone would offer
me a job immediately after an interview.
I comported myself, and calmly thanked
him for the offer and told him I would
send the details of my references.
I still couldn’t believe I had been offered
a job all through the ride to the airport
I was just grinning from ear to ear throughout
That day was exactly 2 weeks to my graduation.
I got to the Madison airport and was picked
up by the pickup services my cousin had
I arrived at the hotel where my parents
were also staying and saw them in a corner
with my aunty.
I was walking towards them when my aunty
saw me and nudged them and pointed
at me. With so much happiness in my voice,
I walked up to them and said “Mummy, Daddy,
Omo yin ti ri ise oh”. (Your daughter has found a job).