Continued from Part 2
The weeks following my first visa denial are almost a complete blur. I just immersed myself back into what was my daily activities, thinking very minimally about the ordeal I experienced. A part of me was significantly consoled by my JAMB score that year; that in itself is a story on its own. I had done better than the previous year and had a fighting chance at being admitted into two very good universities in Nigeria. I had also made some friends at Ibadan, and the thought of living with them on campus wasn’t a bad idea.
Days became weeks; weeks became months, and an evening changed my life. I was called by my dad into the living room, and he told me a new I-20 had arrived for me. It was for a Bachelors Degree in Nursing, and even more exciting, it was with a FULL SCHOLARSHIP. My whole family was over the moon with excitement. I was not even expecting anything close to a full scholarship. My heart was instantly filled with gratitude; for a moment, the events in my life over the past few months made sense.
Everyone was sure that my next time in the embassy was definitely going to get me a visa; it was pretty much thought to be a formality. My flight was booked, my appointment was fixed, I emptied my room into boxes, and told my friends and loved ones ‘good bye’. I was supposed to have my interview in Abuja and fly out to school from there a few days later. It was at this time, my travel to the US became real to me. I started imagining what I would be like, and excitement started creeping up inside me.
The morning of my second interview was unusually cold. As I and my dad approached the embassy, memories of my first visa denial became stronger and vivid; I became very nervous. I wasn’t sure of what to expect this time. I believed showing up with a full scholarship will make a stronger case for me. We went through the security rigmarole and I was in that mini-hall again.
The humiliation was similar to the last time. Some stories were funny and embarrassing, and oh the denials, each one sent a knife through my chest. My nerves were shooting fireworks. I noticed people had come up with tricks to get their preferred consular officer. People noted the consular officer that denied visa more and had emergency bathroom calls when that officer called for the next applicant.
It was finally my turn. This time, it was a man. He was tall and young; he made more eye contacts than my previous interview. The questions started seemingly light and trivial. Questions were about my school’s location, why I chose the school, who was paying for my fees, what other schools I applied to, etc. Then all of a sudden, he blurted that my visa was DENIED – again. I was devastated
Unlike the last interview, where I was able to sense where it went wrong, this time I was completely blind-sighted. I left the interview in tears; my dad was also really angry. At this point, I was emotionally drained. I was tired of my hopes getting dashed. My flight to the US was cancelled, and I went back home with all my packed bags. There are no words to describe how I felt rolling the boxes I had packed for school, back to my room at home.
I got home on a Tuesday night. I spent the next two days not being sure of how to feel. I remember trying not to think and hearing so many encouraging words from my family members (God bless them). Then on Thursday afternoon, barely 48 hours after my previous interview, I got a call from my dad to pack a few things, that we were heading back to the embassy the next day.
I was tired of the rejections and denials. Going back to the embassy was on the faith of my dad. I could write a whole book about the great parents that God blessed me with – I digress. As we got to the embassy, I felt physically sick. It was happening all over again. The security boring dance, and the walk into the mini-hall. This time I and my dad went for our interviews together.
As our turn approached, my abdomen felt like tight knots. I and my dad were interviewed together and before I knew what was happening, my visa was approved. I didn’t even know how to be excited; it was not real to me. My dad was ecstatic; that long walk to the gate never felt shorter. As soon as I stepped outside the gate, I vomited; that was when I actually felt relieved. The hours and days following that day are like they never happened. Life as I knew it, changed the moment I stepped out of the embassy.
It’s been 8 years that I started this journey to get a higher education. I am currently in the final year of my second degree – a PhD. I want climb a mountain and scream “God is faithful and true”.
If you are wondering the whole point of this long epistle of my life, it’s really just to encourage YOU. If I hadn’t been denied visa the first time, I may have missed the school that offered me a full scholarship. I don’t know how strongly I believed in miracles until I was denied a visa and got the same visa within the same week. I don’t consider myself the smartest, or the most hardworking; my whole life is a product of God’s unfailing love and grace.
So, it doesn’t matter how long you have tried or how many times you have been rejected. If you keep faith, keep trying, and keep showing up, IT WILL END IN PRAISE.
Catch up from
Make it a Winning-Day