We all love DrBimpe’s inspiring story at Women’s Sphere. Sit back and get motivated.
I was born in Montreal, to a General Surgeon father and an educator mother. They met in Lagos as students, and had an adventurous spirit, with hopes of studying abroad, and going back home to make Nigeria healthier and more educated, in their respective fields.
A year after my birth and with degrees and certifications in hand, my parents moved back “home.” We lived in Ilorin, Kwara State for 7 years. I had an idyllic childhood with memories of friends and family surrounding us at school, work, and home.
When I was eight my father decided that it was best to move back to Canada. This time, we would be moving to Kapuskasing Ontario, a small town 10 hours north of Toronto.
The town was tiny. It was cold. We were the only Nigerians in town and for at least a 100km radius. Our attempts at blending in as the new kids were thwarted by the fact that nobody looked or sounded like us. For our first Halloween, we wore snowsuits under our costumes because we had never experienced cold like this before. My Mom was a de-facto cultural ambassador, pulled into every career day and ethnic day at school.
My parents made sure we had dinner together as a family every night. It was our chance to vent, commiserate, rally, and plan for the next day.
I loved school. I loved to learn. I loved to push myself. As an extroverted introvert, I excelled at subjects where I could just put pen to paper. I wrote the SAT in the tenth grade because a few other students were writing the exam with hopes of securing hockey scholarships in the United States.
I wrote the SAT and scored very well. This motivated me to write the SAT 2. I registered and used money earned from my job at a local coffee shop to buy a bus ticket. The test was only offered in Toronto. I was the last student allowed into the exam room and as they were out of seats, I had to sit facing the other examinees. Unfazed, I read quickly and answered questions, circling the bubbles as quickly as I could.
I got a large envelope in the mailbox. Could it be? I opened it, with tremulous fingers, and the booklet said, “Welcome to Yale.”
I had a wonderful 4 years there where I met amazing people. I interacted with President’s children, and was taught by Nobel laureates. I studied abroad at Oxford, a wonderful experience that sparked my interest in travel. From there, I pursued a Master’s in Public Health at Columbia University. Living in New York City as a 21-year-old was beyond exciting.
I then went to medical school in Ottawa, residency in Hamilton, fellowship at Harvard and I’m now a Plastic Surgeon who is board certified in Canada and the United States. I am the Chief of the Division of Plastic Surgery at Southlake Regional Health Center. My practice is varied, and I perform breast reconstruction surgery, hand surgery, and cosmetic surgery.
What I know now is that you have to dream big. You have to ignore your own self-doubt. You have to run your own race and chart your own course. It is lonely at the top. Keep your few friends and family close. Keep the faith.