Growing up in Nigeria, I witnessed first hand poverty and destitution. I observed what can result when people lack even the basic medical services. At the tender age of two, I declared to my family that I was going to become a physician. I decided that I would use medicine as an avenue to reach those poor communities around the world who are dying due to illnesses that are preventable just by the simplest medical care. I moved to America at the age of eleven to further pursue my academic career and improve my chances on becoming a doctor. My brother and his wife both U.S. citizens took me in. He filed a family sponsored visa for me as the sibling of an adult U.S citizen which is actually a 4th preference place under the priority list. We have been waiting for my priority date to come up and it has been taking several years and since then the visa that I came on expired, leaving me undocumented.
However, I did not let this deter me from what I knew I had to do, and after several years of intensive academic training in high school, I started my college education as a Biology/ Pre-Medicine student at the age of 16 after graduating as class valecdictorian with a 4.2 G.P.A. I received two Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry and Biology/Pre-Medicine with an emphasis in Physiology at age 21. I am now 22 and enrolled in Masters of Science program in Biology while I am preparing for my medical school application this june. It has been incredibly hard to come this far especially as I am unable to qualify for financial aid or scholarships or any other academic resources that I might have been otherwise readily offered. So I have to do everything with the intense pressure of knowing that at any moment it could all be taken away from me.
Public service is very important and I have made an active effort to give back to my community. I have been a volunteer for 3 years in the ER at my county’s largest trauma center with 95% of our patients under the poverty line. I tutor and mentor high school students in our school district which is an urban area with a very high drop out rate. I am health counselor at my university’s health center. I also volunteer in an Adult Residential Facility treating patients with mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and bi-polar. I am very passionate about helping those marginalized by society and completing my medical education would provide a broader avenue for me to do that. I love this country and it is the only country that I have been since my adolescent years and it is my home. I want to give back by doing all I can but my immigration status threatens to completely deter me from these goals. It is going to take many more years before my priority date is even up for review and this is going to do a lot damage to my medical education as I would be unable to apply to any medical schools in this country without valid legal status.
The DREAM ACT gives me hope that there might a better road ahead for millions of students like me who find themselves in similar position.