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During her first college tour season on staff, Thelmy reflects on her STLF journey.

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My Story/core-leaders

09
Jan17
Time 17:22

My Story - Ayoola "Ay" Okuribido

Ay's STLF story outlines the importance of first chance leadership opportunity.


My first PIF tour was kind of a last-minute thing, I had originally planned to spend most of spring break in Charlotte with my friends from high school. As the break drew closer, they both got word that they’d been accepted into their internship programs and had to fly out for interviews over the break. I was sad because I was a freshman and this was my first time in America and I was going to be stuck doing nothing for the entire spring break, but then I found this STLF thing on my school’s website and I figured why not? After all it wasn’t like I had anything better to do, it turned out to be the best decision I ever made.

I originally only signed up because I saw all the travel involved, I mean how many international students could say they’d been to 5 states in their freshman year.

It started out kind of awkward cause I didn't know anyone and I kind of gave off a vibe that indicated I didn't want to be there. However, by the time the trip was almost over I found myself spending hours writing “yeah buddies” and kind of sad about not having to sleep on church floors and ride in a bus for several hours with these strangers I met only a few days ago. In fact, when we got back to Mankato I was almost on the verge of tears. When I got back most of my friends complained that I just wouldn't shut up about this STLF thing.

Throughout the rest of the semester I tried to hang out with these new friends as much as I could, by the time summer came around I remember thinking “I’m probably not going to do STLF again, I mean it was nice, but it’s a once in a life time experience.”

I signed up to be bus core and lead the trip the in my sophomore year, I couldn’t believe the amount of time and work I’d given to STLF. I was trying to recreate the magic I experienced on my first tour for all the new people. When my second trip was over it was another roller coaster of emotions, I felt like I was a parent at my child’s graduation. One of the moments that stood out to me post tour was when I was hanging out with one of my participants and she introduced me to her friend and her friend said “oh so you’re AY, I’ve heard so much about you.” I can’t find the words to describe how happy I felt, I had made a good enough impact for her to tell her friends about me.

Now I am chapter core for STLF at my school, which basically means I lead the people who lead the tours. This is my third year, I still can’t believe how much STLF has changed my life for the better, signing up for that trip was a turning point for me. STLF is and will continue to be an integral part of who I am.

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01.17

My Story - Ayoola "Ay" Okuribido

STLF shaped Ay's college experience and prepared him future leadership skills

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