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African, Nigerian Applicant to Medical School

I’m a 24 year old woman from Nigeria, I have been in the USA for the past 5 years and I am a permanent resident. The strongest part of my application to Medical School is my love for my people back home in Africa. Home is where the heart is and my heart is in Nigeria. I want to spend most of my life with my people, contributing to my community, Ishiagu, as a medical doctor. Medical care, nutrition and sanitation are what they need most, along with medical education. I am convinced that this is the path that I will find most rewarding in life since I have spent most of my life in Ishiagu and I love my people dearly.

One of our foremost problems, in addition to our economic underdevelopment, is that our environment has been ruined by oil spills from vandalized pipelines, something which will continue to wreak devastating consequences on the health of my people for generations to come. In addition to doing everything that I can to protect and clean up our environment, I also want to become a doctor so that I will be able to treat those who are sick. I remain enthusiastic about the future of my people; giving up is not an option.

I have grown up as a witness to a great deal of suffering that resulted from inadequate to non-existent medical care: a world where children were delivered by quack nurses, most of them elderly with no academic qualification whatsoever. I personally knew several mothers and infants who died as a result of negligence, lack of care during and after childbirth. There is no pharmacy; a local ‘chemist’, also with no formal training, sells a very limited selection of medications to sick people. I want very much to be a doctor because I know that so many could still be living if there were adequate medical care and appropriate medication available. And they continue to die. I observed this on my most recent visit when I went home for more than a month for Christmas of 2011, spending all of my time in my local community. I was particularly angered to learn about widespread medication label tampering; a result of price wars and competition that jeopardizes the quality of the medication and the efficacy of the dosage. I joined with those who are attempting to raise consciousness on the issue and to press for regulation of medicine sales. I visited every household of everyone that I used to know and bought little gifts for people when I could. The elderly ones were especially grateful for my visits because most of them stay at home all day and have few visitors. I also made a lot of new friends who most times confides in me and seeks my advice, especially for health issues. The chief highlight for me was our Community General Meeting where we reviewed our progress and give solace to those who had lost someone, helping each other through hard times and rejoicing with those getting married.

My mom and I were discriminated against from the beginning because my mother gave birth to me out of wedlock, and still a teenager, which carries a powerful social stigma in my country. My father abandoned us and we were taken care of by my grandmother who later died of Alzheimer’s disease in 2007 when I was eighteen. I was mocked in school and felt isolated; my classmates made fun of me because I had no father. 

But I am a fighter and this brutality inspired and empowered me to excel academically, always hoping for a better tomorrow while being persistent, patient, accommodating, relentless and committed. I graduated from High School in Nigeria in June 2006, buried my grandmother, and moved to America to join my mom, adapting quickly to the weather, the accent and the educational system. I will graduate in December 2013 with my BS in Biochemistry and I have also made time to volunteer with several projects dedicated to our environment in Louisiana and Texas. I feel strongly that the two ‘C’ grades that I have on my transcript do not accurately reflect my ability to perform academically and I want to explain. My mother is also in school, in addition to working, and I have been the primary care-giver to my three-year-old sister throughout the course of my education and this has taken a toll on my grades. When I start medical school, my mother will be done with school.

I'm currently doing research in a Biochemistry lab and I especially look forward in the future to doing research about Alzheimer's and aging because this disease took my grandma (and a piece of me too).I plan to collaborate with other doctors and NGOs to build our first health clinic in Ishiagu. I want to help nearby communities as well. Collaborating with other medical doctors with different specialties to fight against our high infant and mother mortality rate, I will dedicate my life to providing adequate medical care to my community—with priority attention for pregnant women and children. I will mobilize our youth to help educate our people on everything from diet to sanitation and especially preventable diseases. Specializing in Obstetrics and Gynaecology is my life’s dream, and I want to be the first generation of care givers among my people to introduce anesthesia. My long term goals include earning an MPH Degree as this will continue to advance my effectiveness in serving my community. I thank you for considering my application.

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