personal essay for common application
I am a daughter of a furniture maker and cook with one high School diploma between them. Most of my relatives didn't attend university at all and working minimum wage jobs to survive. The word "college" just wasn't part of our vocabulary. Since my dad devalued education, it was a fight for me to finish high school. He would always say "A woman's education ends in kitchen", it's a saying that have been passed for generations. He wanted me to learn a skill just like my siblings but I wanted something bigger and a high school diploma wasn't going to help. I was considered as the black sheep of the home because I was adamant in what I wanted. I want a change to start from me, and I want a better path for my younger ones.
The reality of limitations to certain areas as a female child bothered me growing up, but I kept telling myself you're different and born here for a reason and that is to make a change, that's why I never wavered from my goals of attending college. Breaking out of the socio-economic challenges has been one of my main motivation for wanting to attend college, along with attaining more knowledge. I want to achieve something greater: I wish not only to be a first generation college student but one with an international accreditation because quality education is one of my top priority.
I come from the eastern region of Nigeria where indigenous education is practiced. Girls are taught domestic skills needed to function in the home. After the stage where you can read and write, you would go and acquire a skill. A place where education is not meant for girls because they believe a woman's education will get in the way of her duties as a wife and a mother. This type of education still exists even in the twenty-first century where formal education is being practiced. My sister was talked into marriage after high school and I was left with the household chores as well as babysitting my younger one. This limited my time to study and in some cases may have to miss school to complete this duties. Nevertheless, caring for my siblings has helped me become a leader, as I need to make decisions that impact their development and well-being.
Around the world there are countless examples of women rising, taking leadership, taking their destiny into their own hands, inspiring all of us. But women and girls are still the majority of victims of socio-economic challenges . They are half of all refugees and the vast majority of victims of rape, gender inequality, human trafficking, early marriage, access to quality education, domestic and gender-based violence. I want a future where there would be no female leaders. There will just be leaders, and we cannot achieve this when half of us are held back.
I lost my dad to a fatal accident the year I took my final exams (WASSCE). Everything from that time seems blacked out- it was just me against the world. The pressure and frustration from my mom increased. She wanted me to get married so I can also help in bringing up my younger ones. I came across scholarship opportunities to study abroad so each year I applied for admission and scholarship to various schools. I got accepted to most of them, but to my dismay, with less scholarship due to both my status as an international student and my inability to provide an SAT/ACT score. I couldn't afford those standardized tests especially when I had application fees to pay. Educational resources and opportunities are limited in my country, and so are scholarships to international students. It's been six years of trying and here I am still trying. And I will keep trying because I am confident in my own ability to forge my own future.