First Class Graduate: How I Left Nigeria after Wasting Six Years to Pursue My Dream in UK


After spending six years in the University of Calabar studying to earn a degree in Medical Laboratory Science, Vivian Nwagboso was told in her final year that her admission was fake. Broken hearted but undeterred, she left to find her fortune elsewhere. In this email interview with Joseph Ushigiale, Nwagboso narrates how her initial setback became the force that propelled her to make a first class in Biomedical Science from De Montfort University, United Kingdom

You recently graduated with a first class degree in Biomedical Science from De Montfort University, how did you achieve the feat?

I believe in hard work over miracles, I don’t sit, fast and pray over something I can do. No need disturbing God. There’s a need for a brain and a heart. If you cannot put those aspects of you into use, why are you a human? Why are you classified as a Homo sapiens, a higher specie? So to me it’s hard work, telling myself I can do it. Driving myself to the highest possibility that I could, but first I had/have a passion for my discipline which I enjoyed chasing after amidst the emotional upheavals that came with it.

You must come from a very rich family to afford education in a British university considering the high fees and upkeep expenses, why British when you could have studied the same course that is Offered in Nigeria universities?

I do not consider my family as rich, we are just okay. Regards paying the expensive fees and keeping up with a daily living, I just want to say with adulthood comes responsibility. I chose to study in England because of the standard of education which is number one in the world (hahahahaha). I know that studying here means that whatever my degree classification says is what I worked for and no one can take it from me. Also due to the nature of my course, I would be better off learning the future from the present and engaging myself in what would make the future world a better place. There is no need focusing on learning Charles Darwin of 1809 when you can learn Vivian Nwagboso of 2030, for an example.

I noticed that PLACEMENT was boldly written on your certificate, any particular reason for this?

Placement is a huge part of my course which everyone is not opportune to undertake, so I count myself blessed being part of five persons out of 285 who would have wanted the placement to qualify as a scientist within the UK, tell me: why it shouldn’t be written in bold? I tell you, that was one of the highlights of my career.

You were in UNICAL briefly what did you study and why did you relocate to the UK?

In UNICAL, I studied Medical Laboratory Science, which was a huge flop after six years of my life, I never tow a failed path twice. Yes UNICAL disappointed me, but there are other places where I feel my life would work, hence I came to the UK. Do you know when you fail, rise up with a bang.

You described your six years in UNICAL as a flop, what happened, could you volunteer details?

We can agree that the country we come from fails to identify people who have the actual impact to make in different spheres of the country; everything is swept under bribery and corruption which, to me, not everyone can thrive under such abhorrent conditions. So, by flop I meant, when you fail to bribe through a process you fail to achieve an outcome. I failed to adequately bribe to educate myself which everyone deserves fairly, my six years study process became a flop. I only found out in my final year that the admission wasn’t real. To be honest, this is the aspect of my life I do not love to reflect upon, but I confidently tell it because I feel someone else can be inspired to rise up better after they fail.

More so, to consciously reach out to, if possible, a sane government official that can fix things for the present and subsequent generation. Certain things make me wonder on what grounds we elect or appoint government officials? I suppose former Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, appointed since November 2015 is still clueless regarding the decaying education system in Nigeria. I suppose our government officials in general, are happy to lord over a failed system.

Give me a low down on life as a student in the UK, is it that rosy?

UK life is not rosy one bit. People do think when they move elsewhere they are going there to pick money. No! You are going there to find a life for yourself, which entails hard work and more hard work. You need to make up your mind to break through these challenges. You need to understand that this isn’t your country; you need to abide by their rules and watch how they do things. If you’re going to move into a new country holding on to how you do things in your country, you will not go far. You’ll just be living in that country for living sake and scrapping things at the lower sphere of life.

So being a student, I was highly conscious of where I came from and where I want to be. It wasn’t easy combining job with a very demanding course but I had made up my mind, if I perish, I perish. Somehow I needed to balance my time. Put a hold to family life. If I went through life without my own family, I wouldn’t consider myself a failure, but to me, if my career life failed then I’d be depressed for the rest of my life. So as much as it’s not easy finding your feet in the UK, I found my feet and I am always more than happy to help other international students who wish to study here to find their feet if they will listen. Sometimes it’s good to sit back and know what you want your future to be like and create it. Don’t come to the UK if you think money grows on trees.

Now that you’ve graduated, what next?

Well, I got a job before I wrote my finals so I am looking forward to that whilst setting new goals for myself. I just came into this life to succeed, that’s my path. It is me, myself and I (hahahha).

What were your greatest motivating factors that powered you to such success?

Passion, I don’t think about money, I think passion because passion is a driving force that helps you get through it even when things are glaring difficult. You love it and it’s hard to give up on what you love. You will always find a way.

You probably want to advise others who aspire to be like you, what should be their guiding principles?

Well, I’ve touched on this earlier. If you are aspiring, be ready to fail but also be ready to rise up and do it better. Make up your mind to succeed, don’t let life or anyone push you about, your feet must be buried into the ground and people must see your passion through you and what you believe, don’t be afraid of who is for you or against you. With the so many roles I handled across De Montfort University, people thought I did too much, but it’s my too much and not yours. You could be a British and have money handed to you; I am Nigerian and have to work for every penny I spend. I am self-aware and I believe that for one to succeed, they must be self-aware of their own life journey and not let people impose their own life journey on them. There has to be a difference between you and the next person chasing after the same thing. You need to have the mentality that if anyone has to be chosen in what you believe, that one person must be you; it helps you build blocks and prepare ahead. Keep yourself 1,000 steps ahead of others on the same race. And to do this, you need to chase what your heart wants (passion) not money.