Educational pursuit is a requirement for about 70% of children of African descent. Unfurtunately, not all of them have the opportunity or means to acquire a qualitative education. There are also those who have the means and opportunity but end up throwing it to the winds. For the Ebiai family, sending their second son to college in the United States was not an option. Their first son; Mute was already striving to add accolades to his feather just as he inspires his younger ones. Ruona proceeded to the US and in his own words; “I found schooling here a breeze till I got to third grade…” At 19, he has broken a family record becoming the youngest college graduate with a zeal to conquer the academic world. I caught up with him at a reception in his honor and the following conversation ensued.
I was born in Lagos, Nigeria. My father Solo is Urhobo from Aragba-orogun in Delta state and My mother Bukky is Yoruba from Ibadan in Oyo state. I have an older brother named Okiemute. Our family house is in Surulere, Lagos.
My father is a geologist with Brittania-U LTD and my mother is a superhero, business woman and an event planning expert.
-When did you arrive the USA
I first got here to start school in august 2011.
-What school did you start off with and name your current school
I attended Fountain primary school, Whitesands secondary school (both in Lagos) and I just graduated from the university of Texas at Arlington.
-What is your major
I studied biochemistry.
-How old are you now?
I am 19 years old. I’ll be 20 in July.
-How significant is your age at your educational level
It hasn’t stopped me or hindered me in anyway. I believe if one can go to school they should, regardless of age.
-Describe your experience with your schoolmates.
It was quite pleasant. The first time I meet anyone and tell them my age, they are shocked that I’m so young but they soon forget. Apparently I have an “old soul”. My fraternity brothers and friends made it a wonderful experience.
Ruona with brother, Mute
-What plans do you have for the future
I plan to go to medical school. I apply this summer.
-What is your professional calling?
God-willing, I would very much like to be a surgeon. I don’t think I would be completely sure of a specialty until I’m in medical school though.
-What are your hobbies?
I love to dance, have fun with friends and family and play basketball and video games. Sleeping and eating are also at the top of that list.
– Describe what its like schooling in the USA as compared to Nigeria
Not everyone may agree with me but I believe schooling here is less intensive but still as difficult as it is in Nigeria. The knowledge is more paced out rather than handed out all at once. There are also more opportunities for learning on your own and outside the classroom here through things like research and independent study.
-Advice for foreign students in Nigerian schools
For anyone in a foreign place, I would say the first thing you need to do is adapt to the new culture as it makes things way easier. Try things and see what you like and don’t like. Enjoy yourself and be open to making friends, but never forget the reason you’re there in the first place and always remember the people supporting you.
Ruona Ebiai, Senior Biochemistry major. TRIO Veterans Upward Bound Science Tutor. Zeta Chi chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. The University of Texas at Arlington
by Tosan Aduayi for Trendy Africa Magazine +1 903 309 1172, +234 805 805 6869