School: Florida A&M University

Year: Spring 2013 – Present

(Olivier is pictured above in the top right) Being raised in Haiti was a magnificent and humble experience. Growing up, I was exposed to little motivation. My mother did not finish high school because she needed to take care of my grandmother. My dad had a job right after high school, but unfortunately got released before I was born. This was everyone’s life in a small Caribbean country like Haiti. As a kid, there are not that many people you can look up to. Thinking back over my child hood, I don’t think I ever had a role model. All I remember is that I wanted to be the difference.

But being different is hard if one doesn’t know where to start.

At SSF, you are surrounded by people from different backgrounds. Our Director of Student Affairs, Barby, does a great job of creating the right chemistry among residents. I was able to learn a lot from them. They motivate me, and they are the reasons why I do so well in college. I have had many struggles during the past four years. The most memorable one was when I was being charged out-of-state tuition, even though I graduated from a high school in Florida. It was so expensive I thought I would have to stop school and go back to Miami. This was the first time I cried in college. I talked to my older housemates (Tarre and Jason), whom I barely knew at the time. That night, they stayed up with me and they help me find the right person to talk to. The next day, my tuition went from $30,000 to only $2,500. I am thankful to them for helping me that night. I am sure if it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be here to write this letter.


    Education for life is learning from my mistake. It is about getting the right tools that will help me build that beautiful sculpture which is my life. One of the most famous Haitian’s proverb goes as follows: “Remember the rain that make your corn grow”. I like to think of the term “Education for Life” as that rain. This rain will make me have a great harvest. So, every time I get lost and I forget who I am, I will go back to what I have learned from my moment at SSF. I will remember the struggle and the happy moments. Those moments were what shaped me and they were what has educated my life.

I want to be for others the motivation that I needed when I was young. Thinking back over my life and seeing how excited I was when I got into college is a constant reminder how hope can change someone’s perspective on life. After I graduate, of course I would love to be the greatest Electrical Engineer ever, even better than Nicolas Tesla. If this is the only thing I accomplish, I will feel that my life is a failure. I want to change people’s lives. I want to give back to my country and to those that have taken time to give me a hand out. As of right now, I don’t know what it is that I will do to help change people’s lives, but I know I won’t stop until I find it.

Sponsorship opportunities are available for you to be a part of Olivier’s, and many others, Education for Life journey.

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One thought on ““As of right now, I don’t know what it is that I will do to help change people’s lives, but I know I won’t stop until I find it.” – Olivier Barbier

  1. Amber

    You inspire, Olivier! Your story has a purpose and your mission in this world of changing people’s lives is going to be bright! Use your story to light the way and you will experience tremendous success! Your entire #SSFfamily is behind you! #SSFLove


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