For Nigerian student Olawale Abdulmajeed, becoming a doctor has always been his dream. Though his family wants him to succeed, he knows that it needs to be his own inspiration that drives him forward.
➡️ This article is part of 'The Escape Diaries', a series about the personal experiences of African students who fled the war in Ukraine. Find out more about how the war changed their lives and what the future holds for them. Click here for an overview.
When Olawale Abdulmajeed decided to go to the Ukraine to continue his medical studies, he did this for different reasons: sponsored by his sister, a nurse in the United Kingdom, and supported by his parents, he always knew that with the job of a doctor also comes a certain prestige.
The way to get there however has proven difficult for the young Nigerian. After he found that his university was not accredited, he had to look for a new way forward. Olawale worked hard in different private hospitals, using his skills and knowledge to gain experience in the field, while at the same time looking for a solution that would allow him to pick up his studies again. Then the option of going to the Ukraine popped up. Olawale had applied many times before, and gotten the approval, but until 2021, he did not consider it. But in may 2021, he packed his bags and followed his friends whom he already knew in the Ukraine, ready to get his fate back on track.
In his mind however already circulated the idea of being someone completely different as well: an actor, staring in big movies. A dream that he wanted to peruse in the Ukraine as well. But unlike becoming a doctor, this was nothing his family way very supportive of. And so Olawale reflected about which role his family's expectations play for his future:
"Growing up as the youngest child in an African home is filled with so many expectations, especially from parents, elder siblings and the extended family as a whole.
It was in this setting that I grew up and all the while I believe my personality was formed over the years by this situation.
It was actually my own decision and goal to become a medical doctor. I can't say it was placed upon my shoulder by family pressures. I remember seeing a lot of movies and heard stories about doctors, and we also had the world famous Massey Hospital just a few blocks from where we lived when I was growing up.
I can understand why they expect me to get good results after investing so much in making my dream a reality.
Of course, many Nigerian families place importance on educational values and my family is no different. So, I can understand why they expect me to get good results after investing so much in making my dream a reality.
I'd say for me personally too, the expectation to actually pull through with the medical degree is also paramount to the things I need to get done in my life. There's always this belief with such careers that it comes with respect and dignity in society, which in the long run is true, fortunately!
So all in all, as far as the expectations go, it all just proves a point that in all the decisions we take as humans in life, taking family into consideration is necessary whether for better or worse. It's important!"