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Go, Let Your Light Shine

The direction you choose to face determines whether you’re standing at the end or the beginning of a road.” Richelle E. Goodrich.

Dear friends,

Writing this gives me nostalgic feelings. It is that part of the year when we say congratulations and goodbyes to each other. It is that part of the year that we give out hugs and kisses and flowers and wishes for a greater journey ahead. We can’t help it, this is life, but we can cherish the memories I-House had given to us. The end of something, they say, is the beginning of another. So remembering where it all began is important. Remembering also, how it ended is more important. We started our I-House journey, unsure of what to take out of it. We concluded this academic year with enriching experiences that positively impacted our lives. I’ll like to recap what I’ve learned living in I-House.

First, I liked the numerous leadership seminars held at I-House and the knowledgeable guest speakers. I also liked the interactive sessions organized. I had the opportunity to learn from resource persons and scholars as well. I-House offered us what no other place in Berkeley can. I’m proud to say that our dear home is a melting pot for cultures. Accordingly, unique perspectives from different residents added much color to our lives. In such a diverse environment, it was easy to learn new things about other cultures.

It is a beautiful thing to hear different languages, ideas, and perspectives other than my own. I have learned to collaborate by committing to work with people and sharing knowledge and lessons from experience and expertise. More importantly, I have become aware of who I am, what I can achieve, and the impact I can have on others.

Working with the Resident Council has taught me a lot too. I have gained leadership skills that can help me and others. I hope to use these skills in further education, and beyond. I will exemplify leadership by stepping up for someone or myself, encouraging people to be their best selves, and even simply doing something productive like taking out the trash. I hope you would too.

I am grateful to the I-House Berkeley staff, the Mastercard Foundation, the Center for African Studies, the Folklore/Anthropology Faculty, and every resident and friend who made this first academic year exciting.

I must make mention of my gratitude to Joe Lurie, who has become not just a mentor but a friend. Special thanks to the staff at the I-House Office of Communication, where I served as a Social Media Ambassador.

Oke holding his Social Media Ambassador Award certificate with Laurie Ferris

This journey with you all has positively impacted my sense of community, way of perceiving the world, and relationship with other residents.

Dear friends, take this piece of advice with you wherever you go: Never forget how I-House changed you. Continue to be the ambassador of peace and love. Continue to let your light shine wherever you go and remember to keep in touch. Remember and keep the memories of I-House with you. Remember we carry not just our dreams, but other people’s as well. Remember your loved ones, because we all begin and end with the family. Don’t forget that there are friends and even strangers who look up to us because we have become a beacon of love, hope, and inspiration for them. May beautiful flowers grow and blossom wherever your feet touch.

For our graduating residents, I’ll miss you. It is your time, go change the world! For our returning and future residents, see you in a bit! And to everyone who made this journey worthwhile, I’m because you are – we’re because you are!

See you at the top! Go Bears!

Oke Iroegbu
Social Media Ambassador
Spring 2023