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I am from Nigeria and Barbados originally, but grew up in the UK. My journey getting to this point has been a tumultuous one. 

From a young age, I realised that society is very unforgiving for my people, particularly to black women. Getting to this point, has meant I’ve had to work 10 times harder than my counterparts; whether this be through facing micro-aggressions or ‘competing’ on a seemingly level playing field with others who have advantages that make it impossible. 

I say ‘competing’ because I strongly believe that the only person you can ever truly compete with is yourself. For me, it is important to focus on the achievements that I have accomplished in the past and allow it to motivate me in continuing to be better. This is something that my parents have always taught me, and it is so important today.

I have many role models but, closer to home, they are my parents. My dad is the first black male in my family to hold a PhD and my mum is the first black female in my family to be a senior architect. They are examples to me of perseverance and hard work allowing great achievements. 

My dad emigrated from Nigeria to pursue his education, first in France, then in the UK, learning multiple languages to be where he is today. My mum was the only female, as well as the only black female, in her design technology class at 6th form after seeking permission to be able to study that subject and pursue architecture. 

Someone once said to me that black people are still achieving so many firsts, specifically black women. It is so true, I can see it from my parents and many other successful black people, that despite the oppression we have faced for centuries, we will continue to rise above it and excel in our fields. That is what motivates me to keep going despite adversity and setbacks.

If I was starting university again, I would tell myself that “you are not doing this alone” and to “focus on yourself and be authentically yourself”. There is nothing worse than having to change who you are to fit in. As sad as it is to admit, at times throughout university, I have done exactly that because I thought it would make me better or I would be able to achieve more.

Recently, I was having a discussion with a breathing space group organised through the university (which I would highly recommended) about being your authentic self. University is an opportunity to do just that – to focus on yourself, focus on your degree and everything else will fall into place. 

As I reflect on my time at St George’s, I am grateful for the many things university has allowed me to learn about myself and the experiences I have gained. They have shaped me into the person that I am becoming.  


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