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Column: Illustrious Imani

Future-focused students face forward with fervor

There’s not much I wasn’t prepared for growing up. I was the oldest sister. I knew how to deal with anything life could throw at me. I was a problem solver, and I always had all the answers for my sisters, my mother, my teachers. I always felt like the most capable one in the room until the most recent months. Beginning during the middle of my junior year, I felt my grasp on life and its problems start to loosen. As SATs came in hot and people were going on college tours, I felt like I was in the center of a tornado. There were so many new things each day I had to do or have done, none of which I knew or that my parents knew.


My parents both went to college in Kenya before they came to the United States, and much of the college process was alien to them. My cousins are all younger than me or in another country, so I had no one else to turn to. I was lucky to have a few knowledgeable friends who were able to help. I don’t think I would’ve gotten through my first wave of applications without Varun. I know I wouldn’t have been able to fight the anxiety of waiting for answers without Sonya. The worst thing about this moment was that I felt too embarrassed to ask for any additional help. I thought I would seem dumb or weak if I admitted I didn’t know. Now, almost halfway through my senior year, I can say not only am I extremely proud of myself for taking initiative and trying to learn more about this myself, but I don’t feel like I’m drowning anymore. I’ve caught the wave and I’m swimming above water. I learned all about the deadlines I had to meet and websites I had to sign up for, and now I’ve applied for eight colleges and met the early application deadline. I feel a bit more secure and ready for these next few years of my life, and although I feel more confident in my academics and my ability to help myself succeed, I am glad for a moment I was given a reality check and I learned not everything is easy to handle and not everything is a problem you have to solve, especially alone. I’m working on planning my future but still keeping an open mind for the possible bumps and changes along the way. I still don’t know exactly what I want to do or where I want to live, but something I am sure about is how I want college to make me feel.

I hope to feel at home and safe in my new home, and I hope I can be confident to make such a decision for my life without the comfort of my home I grew up in. With the thousands of possibilities for my future and the constant threat of change, I am growing into a person who is able to roll with the punches and build from the failures. In the future when I have my own children and I am ready to guide them, I’ll remember my own mistakes and difficulties I had and I will try to let them grow the way I have. Although I do wish I had at least one person to lean on during the process, I am so proud of myself for digging up out of the hole that I was in. We can only wait to see if my efforts were worth it. These next few weeks will make or break my future, and even though I’m unsure as to what the answer will be, I am ready to take whatever outcome that I get and use it to build my future and keep pushing forward.

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About the Contributor
Imani Ongalo
Imani Ongalo, Executive Editor
My name is Imani Ongalo. I am a senior at North and a returning fourth year editor to The Knight Times. This year I am executive editor of the newspaper. Aside from journalism at North, I am also, vice president of Rho Kappa, an Honors Swat Tutor, part of FBLA, Link Crew, Tennis, E-Club, Sign Language Club, Black Union, and Art Club. I am excited to experience my final year as part of the staff here at North. Journalism at North  is one of the activities I've been doing since freshman year, and I am excited to return.

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