Sometimes dreams make you cross oceans. - an interview with Oddie Moghalu
She left her parents in Nigeria to pursue her education. I told you this summer I would introduce you to some fellow Lark & Bloom readers who dominate at pursuing their dreams. Oddie is a lady who lives life like a boss and won't let an ocean keep her from her dreams. She knows her destiny is in Something Bigger and today she is sharing her story with us. Ladies & Gents...meet Oddie.
Liz: Oddie, you were born in Africa. Tell us a bit about how you came to the United States.
Oddie: I was born in Nigeria, Western Africa and lived there till i was 16 before moving to London to continue my education. From London I moved to Leeds where I started out my degree in Medical Engineering at the University of Leeds. I chose medical engineering because I had this interest in medicine but I also like mathematics and physics and wanted to study something that incorporated both.
While I was at the University of Leeds, I felt very distant from the career path I had in mind. The education system in England is so different from that of the United States.
The system is more rigid and did not give me room to explore a degree in engineering while also preparing for a career in medicine and this really frustrated me. I started feeling very depressed about school and started hating to even be in class. Anyone that knows me knows I love school. Yes, I am being 100% serious. I love school. Looking back at the situation I was dealing with at that time, I believe the frustration I felt with my classes was God's way of showing me what he really wants me to get into.
So one morning I woke up, called my parents and told them that I wanted to transfer to United States to complete my degree. They thought this was a phase but also encouraged me to do what I thought was best for me. I bought new SAT books and started preparing to retake the SAT while keeping up with my classes. I travelled 6hrs (to and fro) to take my SAT because the closest place I could take the exam with the short time I had was in Oxford. This all happened so fast and as God would have it, July of 2009, I was on a flight to the US to continue my degree at Baylor University.
Liz: What made you decide you wanted to study medicine?
Oddie: Growing up, I remember wanting to be two things, a model and a medical doctor. I laugh at this because I am 5'3' tall so modeling was definitely not in God's plan for me. To be honest, I was not sure I wanted to study medicine, which was why I refused to go the direct route into medicine after my A levels. However, I immersed myself in the medical field, I shadowed doctors, I volunteered with medical organizations and as I did this, I saw how much it affected me.
Volunteering and shadowing brought me joy; I was excited to be in that position of helping people and serving people and also enjoyed the responsibility that came with it. I love science, especially when it has to deal with exploring the human body. I could not see myself spending the rest of my life as an engineer so while at Baylor, even though I continued with my engineering degree, I also declared a pre-med concentration.
Liz: Obviously, medical school is incredibly difficult. What keeps you motivated?
Oddie: My parents are my number one motivation. This might sound very cliché but when I feel like studying is too much work, I think of the sacrifices that my parents have made to be able to get me to where I am. My parents still live in Nigeria but they have been able to help me pay for school and basically make sure that I do not lack anything.
The other motivation I have is myself. In a society where people feel entitled and demand the easy way out,I find pride when I work for something. I prayed that if God's will for me was to be a doctor that He would make it possible for me to get into medical school.
Granted I studied and worked hard to get here but I believe that the strength I got to get through all the obstacles were not mere coincedences, but were God's way of directing me to the career He has called me to. I keep myself motivated by reminding myself that medicine as a career goes beyond treating patients and working crazy hours but using my career as a platform to show the world the love of Christ.
Liz: What was the biggest risk you have had to take to pursue your dream of being a doctor?
Oddie: I would say travelling 6 hours to and from Oxford in the middle of my final exams of freshman year. My SAT was scheduled for the weekend before I took my thermodynamics final exam. Thermo as we fondly call it had a bad reputation for being the one class that made people repeat the school year because it was a cumulative final exam where 80% of your grade depended on that exam. My classmates thought this was unnecessary but to me, this was one decision that determined where my career was eventually going to go. As God would have it, I pushed through and ended up doing well on both exams.
Liz: We talk a lot on here about the dreams we carry in our hearts. You have obviously had some pretty big obstacles to overcome. What have you learned about pursuing the things you feel called to in the midst of adversity?
Oddie: One thing I have learned is that there is something in us that moves us and that thing might be the passion that God has woven in our heart and it is different from what He's woven in others. Passion as I like to define it is that unique gifting, wiring, aptitude and opportunity that makes us come alive and fulfills our entire God given potential.
It means that we understand that God uniquely gifts us. For me, it is a medical degree and serving people as a doctor and the passion to accomplish that has driven me to face the obstacles that come my way. For you it might be taking on a new job or even leaving that 9-5 job you have and pursuing that music career - whatever it is, find it.
Find what makes you tick. Find what makes you happy and even when you don't feel like doing it, you still do it because you find joy in it.