In today’s true talk post, I want to share with you friends my personal experience. I came to Germany as an Aupair/nanny but later on changed my visa to a student visa. In the first semester of school, I met a couple of Cameroonians who had been studying for a couple of semesters. As we sat at the university canteen for lunch, I wanted to gather some tips from those who had been there for quite some time. In the course of our conversation, someone told me;
“It will take 6 years to have a degree here”. With brows raised, I asked,
“Why?”. They said,
“Because that’s the average time for us Africans, we have to work hard, take care of family back home etc”.
“I will not exceed the number of years required”, I replied. They laughed and one said “Who do you think you are?” another added
“Do you think you are special?’.
The birth of determination and hard work
I was challenged and I loooooove challenges. They are my best motivators. They make me work even harder, build my skill set even further. I remember growing up, my dad offered a chicken each to any child in the neighborhood who was among the first ten in class. We reared poultry in thousands so that was no big deal for him. So at the end of each school term, kids in all classes who fulfilled the criteria brought their report cards and showed my dad. And he kept his word. Each child who was among the first 10 in class, got a chicken for me. But not me.
I was not among the first 10 for 5 years. That’s from class 2 to class 6. Why? You guess right! I was not among the first 10 in class. But here is the thing, at that very young age, I made up my mind to do all it takes to be among the first 10. That was my primary goal, and then to get my own chicken. I was determined. I worked my way up diligently from number 37 in class 2 to number 7 in class 7 and at last, I got my own chicken. One whole chicken, all for me. Thank God I was big enough to make some Poulet DG (chicken ragout) and wiped the pot with my fingers.
I pushed further
Back to my university days, as I left the canteen that day, I wanted to be the African student who completed her degree not in time and with the best grades. I wanted to stand out of the crowd. I didn’t want to be counted in the masses. I had a vision and I was willing to work even harder to prove these Cameroonian students wrong. To cut a long story short, I made it with excellent grades in the set timeframe, I was honored as one of the top 20 African students in Hamburg at the German town hall by the mayor in 2008. I went on to complete my masters degree in health (specializing in nutrition) with honors and started a Ph.D. program in 2013 ( and I am still at it though on family planning break) :).
In 2014, I was awarded the African Woman of the year award in the category research and development in Hamburg. I have been a keynote speaker in 4 health conferences since then. In 2016, I was featured in the Huffington Post and there’s more to come this year.
Did everything move smoothly for me? Not at all. Were there times I wanted to give up? Yes, more than I can count!
Listen, your current situation does not determine your future destination. Just because people have not succeeded doesn’t mean you cannot succeed. Your success lies in your hands. The way you make your bed, so shall you lie on it. You can be all you want to be if you choose to see it, believe it, and work for it! No one can stop you but you. Storms may come, there will be many MANY challenges, PEOPLE will try to talk you out of your dreams because of their own failure but hold on my friend, focus, persevere, believe, challenge yourself, take calculated risks, be fearless and work hard and by the Grace of God, YOU WILL MAKE IT!
What are you challenged with this year? What are your dreams? Are you taking steps towards achieving them? How can I help you reach your goal today? I would love to hear from you in the comment area below.
Hearts & Hugs