Journey of Courage:

A Young Lady's Quest for Empowerment, Purpose, and Impact

Peace Duru: In the quiet corridors of ambition, amidst the echoes of dreams whispered against the backdrop of solitude, emerges the resolute spirit of a young trailblazer. She embarked on a courageous odyssey from the heart of Nigeria, leaving behind familiar comforts and familial embrace, venturing into the unknown expanse in pursuit of a grander purpose. With determination as her compass, she navigated through the labyrinth of challenges, a lone voyager seeking to build not just a career but a legacy steeped in social change.

In the hushed chapters of her journey, the weight of solitude became her silent companion, and the distance from home, a testament to her unwavering commitment. Yet, amid the solitude, her resilience thrived, an unyielding flame fueled by the fervent belief in her aspirations.

Peace Duru

Her story isn’t merely one of geographical distance but a saga of fortitude, resilience, and the relentless pursuit of making a difference.

As we unveil the layers of her narrative, we stand witness to a tale woven with the threads of perseverance, determination, and an unquenchable thirst for impact. Join us as we delve into the poignant chronicle of this young visionary who dared to traverse borders, both physical and emotional, to craft a future not just for herself but for the greater good—a testament to the enduring strength of the human spirit.

1. What were the main factors that motivated this young girl to leave Nigeria in pursuit of a better life?

Peace Duru: I would not say I was in pursuit of a “better life”. I wanted something different: opportunities, better quality education etc. I wanted to break free from a certain limitation and I am glad I did.

2. Were there any challenges being far from your family and home country?

Oh! There are a lot of them but at the top of the ladder was loneliness. Since I did not have family members or friends here, it was hard dealing with that. Also, the cultural shock when it comes to the language, food, and certain norms. These challenges were all intertwined.

3. How did you manage to overcome the feelings of isolation and loneliness?

Peace Duru: First, I learned to enjoy my own company. This was a necessary habit I had to learn because even if I did have friends along the way, I could not be with them every single day and I needed to get out of that headspace to effectively achieve my educational goal. So, I learned to keep my own company. Also, I did make good friends along the way..

What role did your determination and resilience play in your ability to persevere through tough times?

Answer: As someone who left Nigeria to come study here, I think that is a proof of my determination and resilience. I always immerse myself in anything I commit myself to, whether goals, friendships and so on. Whenever things get tough along the way, I just remember that I have come too far to just give up and then I look back and remember that I would not have come so far if I had given up. Also, that I have been through similar tough times, and I survived that, so I would get through whatever it is I am faced with in that moment. That always keeps me going.

How did your perception of success and happiness evolve over time?

Answer: You know everywhere there are stories of people achieving huge things and that can be intimidating sometimes, especially for someone who has not really launched a career.

Peace ‘s first time meeting her mentor, Elena Andreou, at USEK University was during Elena’s presentation on the importance of personal branding.

 With time, I learned that success and happiness are achieved with every moment you fight for your dreams either through attending classes, studying, making that application etc. This is because success and happiness vary with everyone. Wherever you are right now is someone’s dream and probably used to be your dream years back. So, I learned to appreciate the little things, the moments. All these things make up success and happiness, not just the achievement of a lifelong goal.

Can you recall any turning points or significant moments that marked your progress and development on this journey?

Peace Duru: I consider myself fortunate to have been accepted by USEK, an amazing university that offers far more than a standard education. Being here, I’ve come to realize how fortunate I am to attend a university that offers numerous additional opportunities for both professional and personal growth compared to many other universities I’ve heard about. Through these opportunities, I had the chance to meet Mrs. Elena Andreou in the summer of 2023 when USEK organized a workshop on Personal Branding and invited Mrs. Andreou to speak to us. During her presentation on branding, she briefly shared her personal story, which greatly inspired me, particularly because of her successful career and beautiful family.That alone was enough to convince me that anything was possible. Fortunately, I won a mentorship card with Mrs. Elena and that proved to be a major turning point for me.

Elena Andreou giving a presentation at the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik (USEK) in Lebanon, following an invitation by the Asher Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (ACIE)

What were some of the most valuable life lessons you learned through your struggles and experiences?

Peace Duru: First, it is a fact that good and honest work pays. Also, it is important to truly live, not just survive; to enjoy the whole process and not wait to get to the so-called peak of success. Lastly, show love more because you never know what someone else may be going through. That gesture could change someone’s life, and if everyone did that, it would make the world a better place and most especially, I learned to love myself every day.  

How did you manage to build a new sense of belonging and create a support network in your new environment?

Answer:  I am not entirely sure how I managed to do that. I guess I could say I believed in myself, that I could do that and that helped me keep an open mind.

Was there any unexpected opportunities that arose as a result of your determination to create a better future for yourself?

Answer: I attended several life-changing workshops, did a lot of volunteering as well. I volunteered the whole summer of 2023 and equally got the chance to tour Lebanon due to the several locations we had to be daily. I participated in some career related competitions and supervised some projects as well.

Can you discuss your personal growth and transformation from the time you left Nigeria to your current stage of life?

My journey from Nigeria to where I stand today has been an intricate tapestry woven with resilience, determination, and unwavering faith. Departing Nigeria was more than a physical transition; it was a plunge into the unknown, a plunge that pushed me to redefine my limits and surpass them.

Initially, the change was daunting. Adapting to a new culture, navigating unfamiliar territories, and forging my path in an alien land demanded courage beyond measure. Challenges emerged at every turn, testing my resolve. But amidst the trials, I found my strength, a strength I never knew existed within me.

A few months later meeting her mentor again at an international conference. 

Each obstacle became a stepping stone, propelling me forward on the path of self-discovery. I learned to embrace discomfort as a catalyst for growth and transformation. The struggles sculpted me, refining my character and fortifying my spirit. I discovered resilience in the face of adversity and learned to view setbacks as opportunities for learning and evolution.

My personal growth didn’t emerge from smooth sailing; it emerged from weathering storms, from refusing to succumb when the odds seemed insurmountable. I cultivated a mindset that champions perseverance, learning to dance in the rain rather than wait for the storm to pass.

Through this journey, I unearthed a profound sense of resilience, adaptability, and an unyielding determination to craft my destiny. I transformed from a seed of uncertainty into a blossoming flower, resilient and thriving despite the challenges.

Nigeria nurtured my roots, but it was the trials and triumphs in this new chapter of life that allowed me to bloom. Today, as I reflect on this odyssey, I stand tall, a testament to the strength found in refusing to give up, no matter how arduous the path.

What empowering advice would you offer to young women striving to navigate their paths to success and fulfillment?

Answer: Go for it now. There can never be a better time than now because there will always be reasons not to. Times change, seasons, you will always find a million excuses not to. So, go for that goal now and hold on to the only constant thing – Your belief in yourself.

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