“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

“Do it for them,” I whispered, sitting down to take the GMAT. Knowing only 4% of black test takers score over 700, tears pierced the corners of my eyes. Exhaustion creeped up my spine. I reminded myself I wasn’t taking this exam for me; I was taking it to change their world.

“Do it for them,” I thought, walking into an interview at my dream firm. With only five black partners among the 10,000 employees, I did the math. Half a percent. The partners who look like me don’t even represent a whole percent.

“Do it for them,” I murmured, as my hand shot up in Aldrich. Making eye contact with the 11 other black students in my section. They understood. I argued the importance of c-suite diversity in the companies we discuss daily.

“Do it for them,” I sighed, with the feeling of millions of black girls and boys on my shoulders. It’s heavy and I’m not the only one who feels that way. I don’t want them to worry. Worry they are the only ones who look like them at the firms they’ve tirelessly worked to get into. Worry they have to code switch because their manager has no interest in their culture or what they’ve been through. I don’t want them to worry like I did.

“There’s a place for us at the top,” I tell myself daily. There’s a place at the top for all black boys and girls and it’s my intention to show them it’s possible.

— Zoe Otedola