My YYAS 2020 Online Experience - Oluwadamilola Taiwo-Olowa

When I got the email that I had been accepted into YYAS, I was ecstatic. I remember nervously scrolling slowly down the webpage as my heartbeat steadily and the euphoric feeling I got when I saw the word “Congratulations”
 
In that moment I was happy, confused, shocked, it was like I was feeling everything at once. But as I continued reading the rest of the letter the feeling of happiness diminished when I saw that the session would be online this year and then I was brought back to reality, the Coronavirus was happening and we all had to be home for a while. I was a little disappointed and went through a phase where I thought that they would change their minds and Covid-19 would just go away. But after I gave myself time to “heal”, I realized that the YYAS officials could have canceled the whole event but they didn’t, they made the very best out of a confusing and scary situation- YYAS 2020 Online. This is one of the many things I learnt from YYAS, to be brave and willing enough to create solutions.
 
To say that I immensely enjoyed myself at the YYAS 2020 session would be an understatement.
 
I didn’t think it was possible to feel so connected to people you have never met in person but I did. I loved the way the chatbox kept lighting up and the way the Q and A box was always overflowing with questions, everyone was eager to learn more and I’d never felt so surrounded my individuals so passionate about learning. The first seminar discussion I had was eye-opening I learnt about oral history and we debated on the question “ those history repeat itself” and believe me whatever you’re thinking right now can be countered strongly by anyone in that class. A big part of why I enjoyed the seminar discussions so much was because of the lecturers, they did their best to make sure everyone was involved. I really appreciate that.
 
The resources provided by YYAS for the college application process were extensive. I personally want to study in the US, so all the information about the SAT exam and how to answer the questions were really useful. And my favorite part of the session( let’s be honest everything was my favorite) was having admission officers from over ten colleges all over the world give us information about the application processes to their colleges. They also answered as many questions as they could during the Q&A session on topics like the financial aid process. All the information I got from the university info session is really helping me, as I’m currently applying to some colleges in the US.
 
I expected to be amazed by the YYAS program but it beat my expectations. During a period where I was stuck at home, it gave me joy, hope, comfort, laughter and a community full of people passionate about creating sustainable change in Africa. YYAS has awakened something inside of me by making me realize there is so much more I can be doing, so much more that I am capable of and this has encouraged me to continue to develop and apply skills to offer solutions to the problems around me. 
 
Written by Oluwadamilola Taiwo-Olowa, YYAS 2020 Online