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Langston University is a Platform for Growth for Panamian Student

Langston University is where Silvia Walker is going to college. So what is she studying? She tells us. My major is Ag-Business right now and I was introduced to it and it is a brilliant idea for the simple reason that my parents are from Panama, Central America and my father was a farmer and very involved in taking care of nature and natural products so I grew up basically in natural products,” she says.

“So I have always been interested in and had an appreciation for nature and taking care of the environment and so in that sense this course is applicable to what I want to do with that training.”

Silvia says the idea to attend the university came from a close associate to her. She says although it has been a long time since being in a university setting, she strives to establish good relationships with other students and faculty at Langston. “Wherever I go I work very hard in establishing healthy relationships with people. So I have established some healthy relationships at Langston and I seek out those who have traveled that path before, who assist me in areas where I need strengthening and that has worked very well for me,” she says.

“Being a foreign student of a foreign language and a senior citizen, I have been out of school for a very long time and the university setting is very I could say practically new to me so I had to do some major adjustments, but I sought out a lot of assistance and as a result I am on a pretty stable course right now.”

There are other international students attending Langston, but Silvia says she hasn't met any other students that come from Panama. One thing she says she is thankful for is being able to come to the university without going through any hardships to do so. “I have not met any other Panamanian at Langston. I have met some one from Honduras; I’ve met someone from Dominican Republic. I intermingle with the housekeepers and some of them are from Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Colombia so on and so forth,” she says.

“I’ve eaten some of their delicious meals and I feel very fortunate to have come to America and to Langston in a way that wasn’t as tragic as they came to America and some people get to schools and maybe Langston in ways that they don’t think it is the happiest way in the world to have gotten there, but I still think that sometimes we have to be taken by the belly of the whale, you know, for our new journey in life,” she says. Then eventually we find out that in the long run it will pay off. I am very confident that is it going to pay off.”

Seeing herself as an older student attending Langston, Silvia says being around younger college students has personally helped her to grow and learn new things. “Being around the young people so much sometimes make me forget that I am up in age and unless I look in the mirror and look at my grey hair I sometimes am just not reminded of it and I participate in the school activities that young people are participating in,” she says.

“I perform. I participate in planning for extra curriculum activity. Young people tutor me. I tutor them and so in terms of that human need and human relationship, the only difference I see is that my experiences are a little bit more in-depth, but there are some young people that who are young in age but, as far as their experience and value of life and other things that they have internalize are new to me,” she says.

“So I am learning from them also. So in terms of my personal experience at Langston I would say that it is a platform for growth.”

This is Silvia's senior year. She plans to graduate in May 2008. After that she would like to become a teacher. “Basically I am going to use my training mostly and I am mostly interested in teaching right now. I think that I is the area where I am in doubt and I think it is the area where I will be able to take leadership and touch many lives,” she says. So I want to follow that path.