Studying film production for every woman and every African to keep on dreaming

In the little rural town in Lagos, Nigeria where I grew up, children had to create their own entertainment. After school, they would gather together to play sing-a-long games and create frenzied contests. I was the child who preferred to sit alone in a corner, engrossed in a storybook. The fables about Mr. Tortoise and his near fatal fall from heaven or how he challenged the hare to a marathon; these were the tales that whetted my imagination. I would make up my own stories: about an old woman’s lonely tooth, or Okon’s bicycle tires that quarreled and refused to move in the same direction.

I was drawn to the western sitcom reruns on our tiny black and white TV. I was intrigued by the unusual people I saw, and the strange things they talked about. To me, they belonged in a far, far away reality, one that felt utterly inaccessible. And then one day, a new program came on: Tales by Moonlight. It dramatized my favorite folktales; this time, however, the people looked and spoke like me. Suddenly, the stories that were confined to the pages of my book came magically alive. I knew, instinctively, that this was what I would do for the rest of my life.

Holding tightly to this dream, I worked hard enough to eventually receive a full scholarship to an American university. It was one of the happiest days of my life. It was proof that there was nothing I couldn’t achieve. Being a female child from a community like mine, however, meant that such a golden opportunity came with hefty expectations. My father said to me, “Now it is time to do something useful with your life, and forget all that childish daydreaming”.

I soon realized that every international student in my school was reading about Medicine or Engineering. Careers in the Arts were considered irresponsible. But, against the wishes of my family, I became the first international student I knew to choose a major in film. Staying true to this dream has been intensely challenging. There have been times—when looking for another couch to spend the night on or struggling to raise the money to survive—I have wondered if it was worth it. Were the naysayers right, after all?

The answer to that question came about a month ago when I received admission into the best film program in the country. I am in complete disbelief that a little girl from an unknown town in Africa gets the chance to study in the same institution that produced filmmaking giants like Stephen Spielberg and George Lucas. It is more than a dream come true; it is a story for every woman, every African: truly, if you can dream it, you can achieve it. Receiving this scholarship will bring me closer to fulfilling this dream, this unfolding tale that has the potential to ignite a fire in the heart of every dreamer; it is a fire that no obstacle or adversity can quench.

We are proud to announce Tracy Egbas is one of the current JustJobs Scholarship finalists. Vote for her essay (Facebook ‘Like’ and other social media sharing options in left column), click the ‘heart’ just above comments section below, and/or leave comments of support to help us with the selection process

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  • Gwendolyn C Denwiddie

    There is no one more deserving of this scholarship! Tracy not only wants to be a filmmaker, but I have seen her sacrifice to actually make her dreams a reality. Too many time, creatives only daydream and not take action. If you want someone who walk the walk, talks the talk, and films the film, Tracy is your girl.

  • Sarah Kayode

    Wow…reading this just amaze me of what a brave and passionate human Tracy is. I have been her roommate and we have been great friends for years, and I can honestly say that Tracy is a relentless hard-worker. This scholarship will help her greatly toward achieving her dream and I am also sure it will have a ripple effect into other people’s lives- especially kids or people that have dreams and do not think they can achieve them, or kids that grew up in poverty and help them realize they can re-define their lives. #Team Tracy

  • Elianna

    Wow, I am so excited for you Tracy. You are an encourager and an inspirer. Seeing you run after your dreams makes me even more determined to run after mine. Your future is so bright. Keep being your talented, dedicated, and amazing self.

  • Ngozi Genny Nwosisi

    Oh my goodness Tracy, I have known you since we were in high school and your passion to achieve was so evident even then! So lucky I get to see you thrive and continue to succeed in your chosen field of arts. I am excited and would be privileged to see where you take this, with the aid of this scholarship!

  • Judith Egbas

    Tracy Egbas is literally the next phenomenon in the film industry that the world will always admire, study, learn from and reference while describing the best things that happened to our generation. I love her attention to detail, her strife to understand the uniqueness of each individual’s story, and the ways it complements and contrasts with our connectedness as humans, and her empathy and respect for each person’s journey. She will present the story of your life as though she has been staring into the depths of your soul from your first breath. And most importantly, she will demonstrate, as I know is her ultimate mission, through vivid colors, subtle plot twists and witty language, that we all are the same person after all. Knowing her, watching her grow, and learning from her deep wisdom and intuition has been the greatest honor of my life.

  • Chioma Lynn Atuegbu

    I never met anyone so incredibly phenomenal. Tracy’s passion and dedication towards the arts knows no bounds. She makes the word drive somewhat obsolete. Tracy’s relentless quest to share to the world the African story from a new dimension surpasses any obstacles to come. She has proved worthy and deserving of this amazing opportunity. I believe she is the certified candidate for this scholarship. She is a great example to every young female film maker who dreams that some day they would be heard. This is definitely the beginning of something beautiful and I’m glad to be a part of it. Team Tracy

  • Jessie Lee Perez

    Tracy, you’ve got great talent!

  • Joy

    Tracy has worked had for this. She is dedicated. Her winning this scholarship would mean a lot to her and the community that supports and looks up to her. So please give us all a big win. Thank you!

  • Candace Notestine

    Tracy is an incredible human being who deserves every opportunity possible… she’s going to do amazing things and change the world

  • Orange Skittles

    I can’t wait for your success!!! I believe in you!

  • Christina Shih

    During the months I’ve known her in Nashville, she has always been very upbeat and wanting to be productively learning especially in the field of film. Despite her trials, she learns to triumph through all discouragements, hard work, and tears. Her gentle, kind, witty, and smart mind makes her the right fit for receiving such scholarship as she progresses to prove to the world she will one day touch humanity with her heart in media. She’s got such a great sense of humor and can effectively communicate her ideas across in a clever way. So it is of no surprise to me that Tracy will exceed all your expectations in the field of film and onward to make the world a better place. Tracy’s perseverance and audacity will not flinch in the face of adversity, fear, or opposition. She will rise higher like the eagles and soar. She will help others to one day soar in freedom through her films, especially for other Africans like her too. 🙂 Bless you Tracy! i knew you could do it, you went after your dreams! 🙂 <3

  • Nini Ikhena

    Your story is so inspiring Tracy, you truly deserve this! Wishing you all the best <3

  • Anjola

    Tracy is an absolutely phenomenal woman with the power to dream and the drive to achieve! It’s been amazing to see you keep up the fight and go against the tides of life to pursue your dreams!! You are certainly an inspiration to me! You deserve a chance to spread this light and this willpower to the world through whatever media form you choose 🙂 Looking forward to catching you on the big screen!

  • Theresa Johns

    Great job Tracy! Best of luck ☺️

  • Casey Rhines

    I had chills the whole time! I hope you win this scholarship and achieve all your dreams!

  • Njoku Ugochukwu

    This is awesome! Rooting for you 🙂

  • Amy Ratliff Frazier

    I am so excited to see the incredible things lurking in Tracy’s imagination realized on screen! The Fraziers believe in you Tracy!

  • Chinanu Chidi

    You deserve it Tracy!