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Christina Prah | Ghana & South Korea | Goal-Getter

Born and raised in Sekondi - Takoradi, Ghana.

Currently studying Nuclear Power Plant Engineering at KEPCO International Nuclear Graduate School (KINGS), South Korea.

After BECE, I gained admission to Wesley Girls' High School, Cape Coast, to study General Science. On arrival, I was hit with the news of a "justify your inclusion" exam to join the science program. Though I was admitted because of my good grades, fear gripped my confidence with the thought of competing with the best students across Ghana to get into a science program. Unfortunately, I could not attain the pass mark to qualify to study science. I was then posted to a Home Economics class which I thrived gracefully and was even appointed form leader. Even as the months went by, I was still convinced I could get a chance to join the science program. With consistency, I kept convincing my academic headmaster that my grades were not a true reflection of my ability and that I needed a chance. In the 1st year 3rd term, I was asked to join one of the most competitive science classes one day during a food and nutrition class. Guess the first class that welcomed me: physics - specifically Projectiles. I was so lost. My inability to understand many buildups of already treated topics crippled me into depression. I always had terrible grades, and everyone, including my teachers, looked down on me. At a point, I felt I made a wrong choice-forcing myself into the course that once rejected me. The lack of confidence and disappointment on the side of my assistant headmaster, who defended my adventure, had an aggressive impact on my learning ability. Although subsequently, I developed a learning disability, dyslexia, I had to deal with it alone, which I never recovered until Graduate School. I was put under the pressure of memorizing a few topics for many hours. Maybe the mode of assessment was the problem. This made me aim at just passing and not necessarily excellence. While growing up, I always dreamt of being a medical doctor. But things didn't go as envisioned.

Fast forward after high school, I managed to pass WASSCE and enrolled in a Biology Sciences program. I was admired for my analytical skills and participation in class, but my grades were nothing to write home about. I completed with a 2nd class Lower-division which meant I could barely get to do a fully funded scholarship master's program.

But there was a zeal within me that always pushed me to try all possible avenues to prove myself once again.

I kept applying to so many Biology related programs and was rejected over 200 times. I read about skills, platforms, and professional associations that will give me competitive advantages beyond my grades to get into a scholarship scheme.

I learned the essence of gaining relevant work experiences through internships, volunteering, building substantial social capital, engaging in intellectually stimulating discussions, and writing across all fields within and outside my scope. In my period of active application, I combined all these skills in my bid to convince academic institutions for recruitment.

While scouting for opportunities, I came across Ghana's intention to explore nuclear energy. Looking around, I knew there were few experts in that area. Quickly, I applied to the Ghana Nuclear Graduate School (UG) in my bid to qualify for the Marie Curie Scholarship to study abroad. While going through this arrangement, I came across another scholarship recruitment for Nuclear Power Plant Engineering, which I felt unqualified. But I applied anyway Surprisingly, I was accepted into the program even though I had no background in Engineering or Nuclear Science.

What were the biggest initial hurdles, and how did you overcome them?

1. Academic hurdles-

- I told myself learning is my duty, whether or not I understood or I could remember.

- I am not in competition with anyone but myself. My mission is to make my future better than my now and forget about the past.

- I have to be twice as good as them to get half of what they have (Scandal US - series)

- Create a clearly defined future in your mind and focus on achieving it. No matter how slow the pace, keep moving

2. Personality uncertainties

- Don't strive to be accepted by the people around you when you have failed to accept yourself for who you are.

What books are you currently reading?

-"Who Says you Can't - By King Adamtey

-"Neuroplasticity - the brain that changes itself"

-"Dear Madam President"

What would you say was the single most influential factor in your success?

God and my determination to be relevant in my society.

What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started?

Grades do not determine a person's destination but the opportunities you cease, especially in your time of obstacles. One's academic performance is not a complete representation of their intellectual capacity. If I had known that, I would not have been overly stressed about lost grades.

What advice would you give to upcoming youth or talents locally and internationally?

Be a goal-getter, own your decisions, and take responsibility for the outcomes. That is your fulfillment.

Find alternatives that give you competitive advantages by overshadowing your weakness and grasp that opportunity with your last breath. Make good use of social media by connecting with people that will help you regardless.


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