Embarking on the transition to a new school is a major milestone in a young person’s life – even more so when it involves a 3,000-mile relocation to the other side of the world.
This was the case for Edge Hill Medicine student Emmanuel Oleyami, 24, who moved to the UK from Nigeria with his family in 2013 and now lives in Manchester.
Throughout the life changing experience of moving overseas, to adapting to living and learning in a new country, Emmanuel always remained committed to fulfilling his childhood dream of one day becoming a doctor.
“It’s been a self-directed goal for as long as I can remember, it’s always been the one thing that I’ve wanted to do.
“In 2018 my sister developed a skin condition, which remains without a cure or any known cause, and that was a key factor in what drove me to want to study medicine. My parents and family have always encouraged me and built me up to believe that I was good enough to achieve anything I wanted”
Emmanuel and his siblings were the first generation in their family to enter the English school system and with no established connections to the UK’s medical sector, he was determined to defy the doubters to earn his spot at Medical School.
“During the whole process I kept hearing how difficult it is for candidates who don’t have a family member or connections to the medical profession. I think this was one of the factors that encouraged me to strive even harder to get into Medical School, to show that while I might not come from a conventional medical background, I can still achieve my dreams and goals.
“The sector still faces a challenge to bridge the gap and break down some of the societal barriers that exist and it’s very important to me that everyone has access to equal experiences and chances to achieve their goals in life.”
Emmanuel’s desire to encourage other young people to pursue their dreams influenced his decision to take a gap year before embarking on his Medicine degree to volunteer as a youth mentor for education-based charity City Year UK.
The charity is based on inclusivity and is open to young people aged 18-25 who each volunteer a year of their time to be a role model and support struggling pupils to succeed.
“We visited schools to speak to students, some who were from disadvantaged backgrounds, to help them stay on track. It was a tough year money-wise but it was an invaluable experience and I really treasured that time in my life.
“I wanted to help students who had come from similar backgrounds to myself and I hoped that I might be able to relate to them and assist them in their studies and behaviour. It was a very good experience for me.”
In his spare time as a student Emmanuel continues to inspire the next generation as a peer mentor for the volunteer programme ASDAN.
“I feel that mentoring helps to develop my own skills as an individual and a student too. My advice to others would be to never give up and don’t listen to other people’s opinions on whether or not you can achieve your goals, believe in yourself and try your hardest.”