By Alexander Plate
MaryJay Olalekan, a senior global and international studies major, is excited to step into the next phase of her life and attend law school.
Olalekan is a Brooklyn native, the daughter of Nigerian immigrants. She came to Oswego in 2016 with the intention of getting as far away from New York City as her parents and her finances would allow. Since then, she has grown to become an important part of the campus community, active in a litany of organizations on campus.
She has been a member of a number of ALANA organizations, a group of student organizations funded by Student Association that represent African, Latino, Asian and Native American people, organizing events and advocating for students of color. She has also served as an SA senator for a number of years, leading multiple committees and as a director in a previous SA president’s cabinet.
Olalekan said that her years at Oswego have been foundational and life-changing for her, from the professors she has met to the friends she has made.
“A lot of what Oswego has provided me has been incredible,” she said. “The memories, things like OzFest, other musical performances, speeches, presentations, art galleries, the annual ALANA fashion show, they’ll all remain with me for life.”
Some parts of Oswego are not necessarily remembered with fondness.
“The snow is a memory, the weather will stick with me for a long time,” she said. “The worst I recall of the weather was when I lost my wig in the wind on my way to class. The wind snatched my wig.”
Going forward, she says there is a mixture of positive emotions and some nervousness. She says that life is about to hit her, and she wants to be sure she is ready for it when it does, in May.
Olalekan is planning on attending law school after she graduates, to become an entertainment lawyer.
“I have a huge interest in entertainment, and it’s a blossoming industry with a lot of potential in this new media environment,” she said.
Olalekan said that she would like to continue her work representing the underrepresented, and she believes she can take her skills to Hollywood and elevate new voices there.
For law school, her search is limited to the New York and Washington D.C. areas, because of finances.
“I would love to go to Los Angeles, where there’s so much more media work being done, but that side of the country is far too expensive,” Olalekan said.
For the future, no matter what happens, she has a confidence that she can get through it, after proving that she can make her way through college and take all she can get out of it.
“It’s all life, everyone goes through it and now it’s my turn,” she said.