Photographer: @Joecudjoe

Photographer: @Joecudjoe

Hello I'm Ori, Nigerian American lifestyle blogger and career consultant encouraging you to live boldly. Be original. 

Ese Ikheloa | Medical School Student

Ese Ikheloa | Medical School Student

Tell us about yourself

Hey there! My name is Ese (pronounced like Essay) and I am 22 years old. I come from a family of six including myself. I have three siblings, two brothers and one sister. I am a Maryland girl through and through. I grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland until the age of 11 years old. The summer before I began middle school, I moved to Olney, Maryland where I still reside. I decided to stay in Maryland for college and attended the University of Maryland, College Park where I recently graduated from and pursued my interests in both the sciences and the arts. College was a phenomenal ride and I met some amazing people who I feel will affect my life forever.



Congratulations on graduating! Tell us about your degrees, your future plans and all the organization you were involved in during your undergraduate years. 

Thank you! It still feels weird to me that I’m a graduate! While in undergrad, I pursed two separate degrees; a Bachelor of Science degree in General Biology and a Bachelor of Art degree in Studio Art. Growing up, I always found science intriguing and had a love for art. It was not until high school that I became truly serious about art and with encouragement from my parents and teachers, I decided that I wanted to continue art throughout my college career. I am very happy about that decision as I was able to have a very balanced schedule in terms of the type of classes I was taking. In addition to my academics, I was involved in a variety of organizations while on campus. Throughout the four years, I served as treasurer for Christians on Campus, a growth group leader and student coordinator for Maryland Christian Fellowship, secretary of the Black Honors Caucus, webmaster and co-president of the Charles R. Drew Pre-Medical/Pre-Health society, and programming chair of Student Community for Outreach. Retention and Excellence, a HighRiser, a Portz Scholars Student Coordinator and an honors ambassador. Additionally, I was a member of several different honors societies such as Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honors Society, the W.E.B. DuBois Honors Society, Office of Multi-Ethnic Student Education Honors Society, and the Primannum Honors society. This fall, I will be attending the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore.


How did you manage a double major, in the honors program and still have time to do things you love like photography and art?

Luckily for me, my degrees were both things I loved. As an extension of what we learned in the classroom, we were required to produce art outside of class hours. This requirement ensured that I would be able to do the things I loved, it was work just like studying for my next exam. Additionally, scheduling and discipline are a large part of being able to balance everything. I definitely was not an expert, but the effort counts. Making schedules and lists of what you need to get done are very helpful. Part of getting the job done is knowing what you need to tackle. The worst position to be in is to be surprised by an upcoming deadline or exam.

As a Nigerian you know the pressure our culture places on us to get high level degrees. Did you feel any pressure to pursue a doctorate degree or was it your personal choice to do so?

I personally believe, that most cultures place an emphasis on doing well. I don’t believe it is an emphasis on getting high level degrees, it is an emphasis on education and the pursuit of excellence. In my opinion, excellence is something we should all strive for but excellence for everyone is different. It’s only natural that parents would want the best for their child. I have a different idea than what excellence is than what you might think excellence is. I thank God for my parents as they have always encouraged me to do my best and pursue what I want to do even when it gets tough academically speaking. Medicine is a personal choice of mine and I think it is far too difficult a field to pursue if you do not have your own personal interest in it. I’m extremely glad that I always had my parents support in my pursuit of a medical career.


What advice would you give to students who are pursuing difficult degrees, and feel that failure is not an potion?

Failure should never be an option if you are destined to do something. For me, it is important to put your plans in prayer and ask for guidance and discernment because ultimately God’s plan is the best plan for your life. If you find yourself in a rough spot or facing difficulty, try another approach. I personally feel that people tend to limit themselves just because things get hard.

What makes you original?

Well, there are a lot of ways I could answer that question. I am unique because God made me with his own special vision for my life and because of that my purpose and being is different from every other person on this earth. Of the gifts and abilities I have been given, I would say my compassion for others and creative skills have truly been a large part of my originality. 

Danielle Kubi | Educator

Bernard Agyakwa | Pastor