How conquering my fear of new beginnings led me to the start of a fulfilling career 11th January 2016, a day that remains fresh in my memory like it was yesterday. I was all packed and ready to fly 7,000 miles away from the place and people I had called home for my entire life. Tears rolled down my eyes as I boarded that plane headed from Nigeria to the United States of America. In that moment, I doubted that I made the right decision, I was almost convinced that getting my Master’s degree outside of my country was not the best thing to do. I had lived in Nigeria all my life, never veering too far away from family and friends that had been in my life for years. So taking this journey was a completely new territory for me, one that I was unsure if I was equipped to conquer. I asked myself questions like: “Will I be happy,” Will I make new friends,” Will I be successful?” “Will I be a disappointment? “What if I cannot cope? Have I made the right decision I asked myself, this question came with the thought of taking back my word I had given Texas A&M University on being registered as a graduate student in the Dwight Look College of Engineering. I had gotten very comfortable with being around family and leaving Nigeria, the giant of Africa seemed unbearable but deep down I knew that my growth was directly proportional to that feeling of total discomfort. Looking back now, I think I can attribute that thought to the immense fear that had overwhelmed me ;fear of the unknown, fear of not settling well into the new environment I was going into, fear that I was not doing what was best for me.
When I landed in the US, my fears were conquered by the warm welcome I received from fellow students and staff at Texas A &M University. My journey through graduate school was one for the books I must say. I made lifelong friends with people from different parts of the world who had inspired and encouraged me greatly, I had the privilege of being part of the team that represented the College of Engineering in Texas Water Student Design Competition where we won the price for second place. The highlight of my grad school journey was me getting an opportunity of an internship with Arcadis. Those three months were periods of exponential growth and knowledge acquiring that set a good pace for career. You can imagine my excitement when I was given an offer to become a full-time staff of Arcadis, the company of my dreams. As I wrapped up from graduate school, I had the privilege of having a conversation with a thought Leader in Arcadis, Ifetayo Venner. Something she said to me that stuck was the importance of leadership regardless of the stage of my career.
It has been a year since I started working full time with Arcadis and I must say that my trajectory has been nothing short of amazing. I have grown both professionally and personally. I have had moments that I will forever cherish, moments that proffered me with the answers to the questions I asked myself 3 years ago as I boarded that flight to America. Whether through working on diverse projects with highly knowledgeable professionals , representing Arcadis in educating kids on water pollution or running a 5km to raise awareness for breast cancer with my fellow Arcadians , I am extremely ecstatic about continuously improving the quality of life of people one day at a time.
By Oluwabukola Esho
Bukky is a Water Engineer who has been working out of the Houston, Texas office for a little over a year. She works closely with water, wastewater and asset management teams. While in Arcadis, she has organized, and actively participated in office events ranging from international potlucks to volunteering activities. Bukky currently serves as one of the region leads for Arcadis North America Roots of Arcadis (ROA). She is passionate about volunteering for social causes, learning about other cultures and creating recipes.