Whenever I speak about my BA experience, I always start with: I did not, absolutely did not, want to go there… But, I did because I had no other choice. What I didn’t know at the time was that BA would come to be the place where I was allowed to be myself, to grow, discover and explore, to strengthen my strengths and better my weaknesses. BA gave me the tools to better myself in every way and without me even realizing it, it shaped me into the woman I am today.
I started Freshman year as someone very insecure. I had moved to the US when I was younger and switched schools a few times so this was a process I was familiar with. I was going to have to put on a brave face once again, make friends once again and get used to a whole new system once again. However, BA made all of this so much easier. The events organized left us with no choice but to create friends and connect with others, the support given by the faculty and their willingness to help whenever and however, made getting used to the school so natural that after a while it felt like I was meant to be there. I belonged to a community of people that genuinely rooted for me, helped me open doors, gave me all of their patience and dedication and were present at the moment every step of the way.
During the four years at BA, I made friends that turned into sisters. The same girls that sat with me in the class were the same girls cheering me on when I decided, after one year of college, to move to London, UK, and finish my degree there. They were the same girls supporting me when I decided to move back to Portugal and get a Master’s degree in Marketing. And finally, they were the same girls giving me interview tips and celebrating my new job at FC Porto’s Marketing department even before I finished my Master’s. When we graduated, we were the smallest class BA had had in many years, but in many ways, we were proud of that. We had all accomplished so much and created such bonds that to this day, we still share experiences and are each other’s biggest supporters.
It’s hard to explain the influence that BA had on my life, but years after having left the school, I still find myself using the very same tools and skills BA taught me to overcome obstacles and accomplish every single thing I set out to do. A year after graduating I found myself saying to my sister the same thing my mom had said to me years before, “You’re going to BA and you’re going to thank me later.” Sure enough, she went to BA and on her graduation day, she thanked me. To both of us, BA wasn’t a 4-year experience- it’s become a lifetime experience and home will always be where the Hive is.