Journey to America IV
My journey to America IV
Unlike before when the reason for
wanting to go for my MSC was to
show the world that I am a first-class
material in the set of the Einsteins,
this time around, my motive for going
was because I wanted to transition
to the telecoms industry and if I
couldn’t do it via a job, the next option
was via a masters degree.
I was 25 years old at the time and if
I did not get an entry-level job in
Telecoms that year, I would no
longer be eligible for entry-level jobs
which usually had an age requirement
of 26 years old or under.
I had also given myself the aspire
to perspire speech that one didn’t
necessarily need a master's degree
to succeed citing all the examples
I knew so if my MSc plans fell through,
I won’t die.
That made me pursue my telco job
side by side with my school application
as I’d learned not to put all my eggs
in one basket.
My ambition had also diminished in
magnitude and I wasn’t looking to go
to the best schools in the US anymore -
good schools were now okay for me.
This time around, I was strategic with
my choice of schools and programs
to ensure that one way or the other
one would click.
The Bible said, “scatter your bread
across many waters because you don’t
know which would come back to you”.
I applied for an MSc in Electrical
Engineering at two good schools and
one okay school, and an MSc in Telecoms
Engineering (that’s easier to get admitted
into than Elect Engineering) in a good
I knew that if no school admitted me
this time around, then it was not meant
I re-took GRE, wrote better SOPs, got
better lecturers to write my letters of
recommendation and was more involved
in the content they produced and
left the rest to God.
While I waited for admission feedback
from the Schools I applied to and a
job offer from the Telco, I kept busy
by teaching math and further-mathematics
for free at 2 public schools close to
That was definitely one of the most
fulfilling things I’ve ever done
I also taught one student during their
long vacation until the day before
I left for school.
In the first quarter of the following
year, I got a job offer with inhumane
requirements from the Telco.
It wasn’t bad enough they were offering
to pay me less than my previous job
(which wasn’t a dealbreaker for me.
I needed the experience so I could
make do with the pay), they expected
me to sign a 3-year bond stating that if
I was going to leave the company
before the end of the 3 years, I’ll pay
them 3 times my annual salary!
(I was dumbfounded) when I read
I can’t even bind myself to google, the
best place to work on earth, and a
Nigerian Telco is now offering a three
year long marriage? God forbid.
I didn’t even think twice before refusing
My dad was furious and his exact
words to me were “it’s better to be
employed and bonded than unemployed
In my mind, I said not for me!
I cannot live in bondage.
I’ll rather be jobless and free.
Jesus has already died to set me free
Shortly after or before (I can’t really
I got 2 admission offers - one for the
telecoms program, and the other for
the MSc program in a school
I didn’t really like.
I chose the telecoms engineering program
because it was in a good school and in
addition to learning about my course,
I wanted to access resources and job
opportunities that good schools typically
have, and I also wanted to understand
the principles on which good schools
are built and run because I was and
still am very much interested in the
Now that I had gotten admission, it
was time to get school fees and living
I was studying for one government
scholarship at the time with the hope
that I’d do the exam before my
resumption date and get it but the
exam date hadn’t been fixed before
I left the country.
My youngest sister had also gained
admission to study for her undergraduate
program at the same time.
She applied to 9 schools and got
partial scholarships for 8 of them if
She did all the application herself with
me helping out a bit during the holidays
and while in boarding house so she
had worked very hard. But my parents
my dad didn’t want her to go because
she was only 16 years old at the time
so my father tried to bribe me by
offering to fund my masters if I could
convince her not to go. But Jesus
had touched my heart then and I
couldn’t do that to her after she’d
worked so hard so I turned down his offer.
I think that’s the most selfless thing
I’ve ever done.
Since there was no money from
earthly father, I decided to consult
my Heavenly Father, Baba Firecracker.
I attended a sound church at the time
and there was a huge emphasis on
getting a word from God to assure you
that whatever plans he laid in your
heart would be fulfilled by him.
I had never taken it seriously but this
time around I needed a guarantee
that going for my masters was the
right move for me for two reasons
which are; 1. I would be 26 years old
at the time school resumed having
already lost 2 years. I would be 28
years old and above the entry level
age limit so I couldn’t return to
Nigeria and join the unemployment
pool of fresh graduates.
This meant I needed to get a very
good job after graduation which
would make me an experienced hire
whenever I chose to return to Nigeria.
2 - I didn’t want to go to the US and
miss my future husband if he was
Please don’t judge me.
I WAS in the group of women that
wanted to marry just because they
were getting older not necessarily
because they understood the
purpose of marriage.
Anyway, I prayed and the Holy Spirit
led me to Isaiah 66:9 LB - “shall I bring
you to the point of birth and not
deliver says the Lord your God?
For me that meant God was telling me
that if he’d brought me to the point of
birth with admission and I-20 (the
document you needed to apply for
student VISA with), surely he’d ensure
I got the VISA and the funds to go
That’s actually the only time I’ve
gotten a specific word for my plans.
I guess God knew I needed it desperately
because they were some struggling times
at school and it was only that word
that kept me going.
Now that I had Baba Firecracker’s assurance
that I was going to school and if I
didn’t make it to school it’d have
been my fault, I was going to do my
Shout out to the people of that Nairaland
thread about going for post-graduate
studies in the US.
The thread was 385 pages long and
I consumed everything.
People were gracious enough to post
the transcripts of their visa interviews
there and the result of the interview-
whether they were granted the VISAs
It was by that thread that I truly
understood brain drain was real and
people were doing everything in their
power to relocate to America.
Some people would go to another
state say Abuja to re-apply for VISAs
if they were denied at the Lagos office.
Proof of funds are part of the documents
one is required to show the consulate
officer during the VISA interview and
some people didn’t have sponsors.
Their plan was to get to America and
hustle so they would find people who
could deposit the required funds
temporarily into their account and
when they were through with their
interview, they’d return the money.
Anyway, I read every single page
diligently and practiced rehearsing
my answer to my youngest sister who
was annoyed that I made her listen
to my responses to visa interview
questions over and over again until
I answered confidently.
Because I had gotten the assurance
from Baba firecracker that America
sure fun mi, I didn’t bother asking my
parents for their bank statements to
serve as proof of funds.
I decided I’ll boldly say my father
(but it was my Heavenly Father I meant)
if I was asked for who would sponsor
I still can’t believe I went for USA
visa interview without financial documents.
I didn’t tell anybody I was going for visa
interview and just went.
Mehn my experience at the visa office
deserves a post of its own but let
I wore a very nice formal dress for
my visa interview cuz the Nairaland
folks said to dress nice.
When my name was called, I walked
up to the consulate officer and answered
all his boys 9/10 questions confidently.
The guy was thorough I have to give
Then came the moment of reckoning.
He asked who would sponsor my
education and I confidently said my father.
Then he asked for my proof of funds
and I told him I didn’t have it.
I couldn’t believe that my over-confidence
was going to cost me an MSc degree in
the US after everything I had been through.
To be continued...
He gave me a tag and asked me to
return a few days later with my
Of course it meant I had to ask my
dad for his bank statements which
thankfully, he gave me and I took
to back to the visa office.
This time around I had to wait until
like 3pm for my name to be called.
I sat at the very front row close to
the consulate officers and I was
able to hear everyone’s visa interview.
From the ridiculous to the funny,
people wanted to go to the US for
reasons I’d never heard before.
I owe y’all a post on that experience.
Finally it was my turn and the same
consulate officer asked if I came with
the proof of funds and I said yes and
gave it to him.
He already had my passport and he said
congratulations ma’am pickup your
passport at the pickup office you
indicated in your application.
People of God, I almost burst into
Galala dance but I said lemme respect
myself before they changed their mind.
I only told my parents and didn’t start
telling anyone until I picked up my
passport, saw it was stamped with
the student visa and was safely back
home. I was so so happy that 2 years
after my initial application, I was finally
on my way to America!
America! The land of opportunity!
America! The land of the free!