When Vida was a baby, her parents always took her to the library with them for their study sessions. She remembers spending a lot of time at the library during her early years, and this planted the seed that sprouted her love of words, learning, and reading.
These moments defined Vida’s childhood, and ultimately the rest of her life. Watching her parents, both who would later become doctors, persevere taught her the importance of hard work and tenacity above all else. It also taught her that you cannot achieve greatness without the support of your family.
“My parents always encouraged me, but in a way watching them do it and also make time to take care of me and my brother always made the goal of becoming a doctor more achievable,” she says.
When Vida got her acceptance letter from Cornell University, she was surrounded by members of her family, some of whom she hadn’t seen in years. When seeing their tears of joy, her years of hard work finally felt worth it.
“I saw the result, and there was such a fulfilling feeling,” Vida said. “Especially because not only was my immediate family there, but members of my extended family were also there. That’s really special to me because they live in Nigeria and I don’t get to see them very often. The fact that they were there to share that with me—I think I am most grateful that my grandma was able to see that.”
Now Vida is excited to spend the rest of her senior year catching up on sleep, clocking extra Minecraft hours, and, of course, reading.
A Future Doctor
Vida is a self-professed nerd.
“I really like science. I love learning about the hows of the world around us. I always like stopping to ask, ‘Wait, how does this work?’ I was always the kid who asked a lot of questions. That’s how I would describe myself. I am very nerdy.”
It’s Vida’s curiosity that set the trajectory of her life plan. After graduating from Cornell, she plans to enroll in medical school. “Somewhere a bit warmer than Ithaca,” she jokes. She wants to specialize in dermatology.
“I realized I like working with my hands,” she said. “I like technology. I like speaking to patients. I love forming relationships with people. I want to be able to help people. I think this is a way to combine all of those things, specifically through dermatology.”
In preparation for her medical school goals, Vida participates in her school’s HOSA – Future Health Professionals chapter, in which she competes in the Family Medicine Physician event and formerly competed in the Medical Spelling category.
When Vida isn’t involved in extracurricular activities to move toward her goals, she can be found reading comic books, doing the daily Wordle, or completing The New York Times’ mini crossword. No matter what Vida does, she makes sure it stimulates her brain.
A Trip to the Ivy League
Cornell was Vida’s top choice school. After visiting the campus on a school trip, she quickly fell in love with the look and feel of this New York university .
“I went on a school trip back in May, and we went to the Northeast. I was talking to one of my teachers about this—there’s just this architecture that the East Coast has that Texas doesn’t really have because it’s not old enough. You get to see so many historical buildings that are just so cool. The way that the school is just designed—it’s beautiful.”
She’s also excited for the wide diversity that is present on Cornell’s campus. Coming from a predominantly white high school, Vida is excited to join Cornell’s Black Student Union and the Nigerian Student Association.
“I think there are 10-15 black people in my entire graduating class of 736,” she said. “So I’m really looking forward to experiencing that kind of a community as well.”
Staying Two Steps Ahead
Getting into Cornell wasn’t easy. Vida worked hard to be a good student. While her love of learning and her habitual reading has helped, it took more than curiosity and good grades to gain admittance.
While a student at KD, Vida took practice tests, attended test reviews, utilized the online test prep courses, and participated in one-on-one college counseling. During her time as a KD student, Vida was able to improve her SAT score from a 1290 to 1550.
If Vida could speak to her former self, before her Cornell acceptance, she would say: “Make sure to appreciate the process over the result.”
It’s a piece of advice she’s used to hearing in church, and it has continuously grounded her throughout the college admissions process.
For students who struggle with their motivation, Vida offers this piece of advice:
“It might be that little extra effort that pushes you into the tier of the school you want. It may feel unnecessary to put in that extra effort, but even if you do too much, what’s the harm? You’ll still be in a better place than you would have been before.”
Due to her demanding extracurricular schedule, Vida enrolled in online test prep and her lessons were held over Zoom, which wasn’t an issue for her.
“It kept people engaged,” she said. “It can get a little bit difficult when you have kids online. I thought the teachers were so good at keeping up with things. If I had a question I could still ask it and get an explanation. I thought [my experience] was really, really good,” she says.
She found that her extra work served her well as she began to apply to schools. After working on college applications and essays with Vice President of College Counseling Steve Peifer, Vida was able to get accepted with an early decision from Cornell. She believes having all of the scary things done early with guidance drastically decreased her stress levels.
“By the time people were starting their college essays, I was done. I’m already accepted to college, so I don’t have to stress.”
Vida said the trick to writing the perfect college essay is to just be yourself, a tip she got from Steve Peifer, her college counselor.
“Don’t rely on a different essay that you have seen before Don’t be intimidated by that, just write how you write. You have your own unique stories and perspective. How you would relay your story is different from someone else,” she says.
Support Along the Way
Finally, Vida says the most important piece of her academic success was support. On the day she got her acceptance letter, her father cried.
“My parents are extremely supportive,” Vida says. “They’ve always told me how proud they are. It makes everything so much easier. Things have seemed hard, but with them everything seems just a little bit easier because it was never, ‘You can’t do this.’ It was always ‘You can, it’s just going to take a little work.’”
Vida’s faith also played a major role in her journey.
“I am most grateful to God,” she says. “A big part of my journey is believing in His vision. I always go back to Phillipians 4:13, which is ‘I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.’ Having God behind me throughout this whole process gave me a great sense of relief and made me feel much more encouraged.”
In addition to family and faith, Vida found support from her friends, her peers, and KD’s resources.
“I know that obviously I put in a lot of hard work, but all of the support I’ve gotten from my parents, my friends, from other students, from KD—all of that really helped,” she says.
Vida is one of six spectacular Class of 2023 Pinnacle Program students to be accepted to Cornell University.