Becky Segbee experienced serious culture shock when she arrived in the Twin Cities from Liberia about nine years ago. “I always thought America was a land of gold, and people walked on gold,” she told me during my News Cut on Campus stop at Lake Superior College in Duluth on Wednesday.
When the civil war started in Liberia in 1990, her uncle in St. Paul “sent for a whole bunch of his young-generation family to come to the States and I was one of them,” she says.
After finishing high school in the Cities, Segbee set out for a career in the theater at the University of Minnesota Duluth, but found out that being a stage manager wasn’t for her. She describes herself as “super calm, super quiet, and super shy,” three characteristics for which stage managers will never be known. She switched to biology and found that wasn’t for her, either.
“Then I decided to start low and grow little by little,” so she transferred to the smaller college to work on her Associate of Arts degree, before transferring back to UMD for a sociology degree. “I want to, hopefully, work with little kids and it doesn’t have to be in America. I want to travel so much; just go.”
She has at least one stop to make. Liberia. Her parents are still there and she hasn’t seen them for nine years. “It sucks,” she says. “I really miss my mom and dad, but it’s OK because I have a whole community around me.”
She says she wishes LSC was a four-year school because she knows more of her professors than she did at UMD where, she contends, professors are “always busy. They’re cranky, little people, so I’d just say, ‘OK, I won’t bug you, I’ll just pretend I know this.’”
Like many students, she’s surviving on loans and financial aid. “I am so grateful that America has such thing called financial aid, and taking out loans and stuff. I don’t know how I would pay back when I’m done with school, but I know there’s going to be a way. I’m just so grateful that the school and the government helps in that way.”